Implementing a spiking program as part of your regular male management routine is a great way to maintain high levels of fertility throughout the life of the flock. The following article outlines three different types of spiking programs, each designed to meet your specific needs and circumstances. New Male Spiking The New Male Spiking method utilizes young new males, approximately 25-27 weeks old, as the spike male. New spike males can be reared several ways: Reared separately their entire life until reaching a desirable weight at 25-27 weeks. These are the most desirable quality of male for spiking. Rearing separately also improves the primary flock of males because both groups have improved density/feed space during rearing. Reared with primary males then moved to a “spike house” at 20-21 weeks. Males are held there until they are 25-27 weeks old or reach the appropriate weight and sexual maturity. While these males are very effective when dispersed to an older production flock for spiking, this method does not allow for improved density/feed space during rearing. Reared with primary males, then transferred directly to a production facility for spiking at 25-27 weeks. This method does not allow for improved density/feed space during rearing and has the potential to create undesired aggression toward young females in the first few weeks after transfer due to excessive male-to-female ratio. Intra Spiking The Intra Spiking method utilizes older primary males from two or more houses, swapping them from one house to the next. Intra Spiking is also an efficient use of existing males. Intra Spiking is most effective if done before fertility declines (around 40 weeks of age). Males are distributed evenly throughout the house, if male-female mixing is good and when males are still in peak physical condition. Intra Spiking males can either be taken from one house and swapped with males in another house on same the farm, which creates very low biosecurity risk, or swapped with males on a new farm, which increases the biosecurity risk. Compared to New Male Spiking, Intra Spiking has distinct disadvantages as well: Older primary males will not be as active as new spike males More primary males are needed for spiking to see any results. Exchanging 20-30 percent of the males between houses within a farm will create a stimulus of mating activity similar to that of New Male Spiking. It is more important than ever to keep primary males in excellent shape, meaning males are uniform, in good mating condition and at the proper weight. Back Spiking The Back Spiking method removes new spike males from a spent production flock (where they were placed at 25-27 weeks of age) and places them with a second flock. Only the best quality new spike males can be used a second time. By this time, new spike males are typically 35-45 weeks old. Because males must be handpicked from the existing male population, the Back Spiking method is not a popular choice because it can be time consuming and labor intensive. Before choosing which spiking program is right for you, consider factors like availability of males, cost and biosecurity risks. No matter which type of program you implement, spiking is a very effective way to maintain hatchability levels throughout the life of a flock. For more information on Spiking Programs, download the Male Management guide from our library.