Jan 19, 2013

Facts and Myths about Fertile Eggs

 There are a few common misconceptions about fertile eggs that will be cleared up in this article, but first, it is important to understand the differences between fertile and infertile eggs as well as incubated and un-incubated fertile eggs.
There are a few common misconceptions about fertile eggs that will be cleared up in this article, but first, it is important to understand the differences between fertile and infertile eggs as well as incubated and un-incubated fertile eggs.
INFERTILE EGGS 
A hen must mate with a rooster in order for her egg to contain both the male and female genetic material necessary to create an embryo inside the egg. An infertile egg contains only the hen's genetic material, which means a chick can never hatch from that egg. The hen's genetic material, termed the blastodisc, can be identified on infertile eggs as a light-colored dot with irregular borders. Every egg contains a blastodisc.
FERTILE EGGS
When an egg is fertilized by a rooster, the blastodisc becomes known as the blastoderm, which is the first stage of embryonic development. The blastoderm is identified by its bullseye appearance, having regular, concentric circles. The blastodisc will remain in a state of suspended animation, so to speak, forever unless warmed at particular temperatures for several hours. When a fertile egg is incubated under precise, steady temperatures and humidity levels for 21 days, the blastoderm may develop into a chick.
A fertile egg must be kept at a temperature of at least 85°F for several hours in order for the blastodisc to begin developing into an embryo.
This fertile egg has been kept at the proper incubation temperature for 24 hours.
This fertile egg has been kept at the proper incubation temperature for 24 hours.
This fertile egg has been kept at the proper incubation temperature for 2 days.
This fertile egg has been kept at the proper incubation temperature for 2 days.
This fertile egg has been incubated for 3 days.
This fertile egg has been incubated for 4 days.
This is the result of a fertile egg having been incubated for 21 days.
UN-INCUBATED FERTILE EGG
A fertile egg that is never incubated will never contain an embryo and will never look like anything other than common breakfast food.
A fertile egg that is never incubated will never contain an embryo and will never look like anything other than common breakfast food.
Only fertile eggs that have been incubated under proper conditions can become an embryo. Freshly collected eggs can never contain a chick.
MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT FERTILE EGGS
MYTH: A fertile egg has a baby chick in it.
FACT: Freshly laid eggs can never contain a chick. Only fertile eggs that have been incubated under proper conditions can become an embryo and develop into a chick. To see exactly how an embryo develops, from the inside and out, each of the 21 days until it hatches, visit my blog here.
There is no scientific evidence that fertile eggs are nutritionally superior to infertile ones. Fertile eggs have remnants of the male's sperm and a small layer of cells that could form the embryo. The proportion of these to the total egg is so small that it is impossible to detect chemical differences between fertile and infertile eggs.
All chicks hatch alongside daffodils, don't they?
MYTH: Fertile eggs are more nutritious than infertile eggs.
FACT: There is no scientific evidence that fertile eggs are nutritionally superior to infertile ones. Fertile eggs have remnants of the male's sperm and a small layer of cells that could form the embryo. The proportion of these to the total egg is so small that it is impossible to detect chemical differences between fertile and infertile eggs.1
There is absolutely no flavor difference between fertile and infertile eggs. 
MYTH: Fertile eggs taste different from infertile eggs.
FACT: There is absolutely no flavor difference between fertile and infertile eggs.
There is absolutely no flavor difference between fertile and infertile eggs.
MYTH: A blood spot inside the egg means the egg is fertile.
FACT: A blood spot inside an egg can occur at various points in a hen's reproductive system as a result of a blood vessel rupturing. It can be the result of a genetic predisposition, a vitamin A deficiency, or a random event. There is no correlation between blood spots and fertile eggs. The misconception may have come about due to the appearance of incubated, fertile eggs developing veins at or around day four into incubation. Veining looks nothing like a blood spot, however.
A blood spot inside an egg can occur at various points in a hen's reproductive system as a result of a blood vessel rupturing. It can be the result of a genetic predisposition, a vitamin A deficiency, or a random event. There is no correlation between blood spots and fertile eggs. The misconception may have come about due to the appearance of  incubated, fertile eggs developing veins at or around day four into incubation. Veining looks nothing like a blood spot, however.
The blood in the following photo of an unincubated egg is NOT a developing embryo. The blood has nothing to do with the egg being fertilized or not fertilized, it was caused by a glitch that occurred while the yolk was being released from the hen's ovary and would have occurred whether or not a rooster mated with the hen that laid this egg.
The blood in the following photo of an unincubated egg is NOT a developing embryo. The blood has nothing to do with the egg being fertilized or not fertilized, it was caused by a glitch that occurred while the yolk was being released from the hen's ovary and would have occurred whether or not a rooster mated with the hen that laid this egg.
MYTH: Candling an egg will reveal whether the egg is fertile or not. (Candling is the term used for shining a light through an eggshell to see what’s inside.)
FACT: Only eggs that are incubated and begin developing can be identified as fertile after a minimum of 3 days. The blastoderm and blastodisc cannot be seen through the shell. It is possible for an incubated egg to be fertile and appear infertile when candled if the egg failed to develop. The only way to determine whether an unincubated egg is fertile is to crack it open and identify the blastodisc or blastoderm.
 Only eggs that are incubated and begin developing can be identified as fertile after a minimum of 3 days. The blastoderm and blastodisc cannot be seen through the shell. It is possible for an incubated egg to be fertile and appear infertile when candled if the egg failed to develop. The only way to determine whether an unincubated egg is fertile is to crack it open and identify the blastodisc or blastoderm.
This egg was candled after 4 days of incubation.
This egg was candled after 4 days of incubation.
The Chicken Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
Sources & further reading
1 http://urbanext.illinois.edu/eggs/res04-consumer.html


211 comments :

  1. Roxana White1/20/13, 6:05 AM

    Well, you've taught me some things today. Thank you 
    I'm sharing on my fb personal page. I have lots of home school friends who would enjoy it :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank u...
    Very well said. No more fears

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lucy McClure1/20/13, 9:49 AM

    I live in Pittsburgh and never really knew anything about farm animals until I started working in a rural elementary school 6 years ago. Several of my students' families have farms, and many families raise chickens independently. I can't believe I'm admitting to this...but I just assumed that all eggs COULD have been chicks if they hadn't been "picked" (i.e., eaten). I remember the meeting when a parent told me, "we don't have a rooster...", and I had no idea what that had to do with it! n my defense, city-raised folk don't have a lot of chicken/egg conversations :-)

     This was very educational; thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great info for those uninitiated in the world of fertilized eggs! :) I love the colors of your eggs in the baskets!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Raven Locks1/20/13, 1:25 PM

    This is amazing info!  I've always wondered if fertile eggs were more nutritious than infertile eggs.   Anyway, I just found your blog.  I was searching for Blue Ameraucanas and came across your site.  I'm following you now :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Joyce Olson1/20/13, 5:00 PM

    Kathy, this was so interesting and clarified many misconceptions.  Thank you!
    Have a great week:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kathy Piscitelli1/20/13, 5:31 PM

    I learn so much from your blogs...I believed 1/2 of those "myths". Thanks for setting the record straight!

    ReplyDelete
  8. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:46 PM

    My pleasure, Kathy. Thanks for joining me here!

    ReplyDelete
  9. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:46 PM

    Thank you Joyce, I'm happy to hear it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:47 PM

    Thanks for joining me, nice to have you here!

    ReplyDelete
  11. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:48 PM

    Thanks Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  12. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:51 PM

    I'm happy to know that you found it useful, Lucy! Until I started raising chickens myself, I didn't know the difference between a rooster and a hen was gender and that all hens and roosters are chickens. Most of those of us who did not grow up with chickens were never briefed on the lingo!

    ReplyDelete
  13. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:56 PM

    That's great, Roxana, thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very cool! Thank you for busting some myths! 








    Thank you for visiting my blog. ;-)
    Your newest follower,
    Jamie
    http://chatterblossom.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very cool! Thank you for busting some myths!








    Thank you for visiting my blog. ;-)
    Your newest follower,
    Jamie
    http://chatterblossom.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks fir the great info. Been thinking about getting a rooster but didn't think I could eat the eggs! City girl here living in the country. What breed of rooster would you suggest??

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anne Tellefsen1/20/13, 6:31 PM

    I agree with the following comment...I learn so much from your blogs! I look forward to all of your postings!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the info. Been thinking about adding a rooster but was unsure of the eggs. City girl living in the country. What breed of rooster would you suggest?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for these guided photos.  I actually learned quite a bit!  

    ReplyDelete
  20. Understanding this makes me wonder why vegans would not eat a farm raised egg. I had chickens who didn't have a rooster and had eggs out the wazoo. These chickens had names were petted daily fed great diets. So why not. I get my eggs now from a lady down the road, her chickens are loose during the day and security locked in at night .

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nicole Philip1/20/13, 9:06 PM

    Many Thanks! Your timing is perfect, I am just getting eggs again after a winter strike and new roosters, and I haven't witnessed any activity. Now I know there has been!  Wonderful detail, know we know tonight's dinner was fertile :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love the pictures of you cuddling your chickens.  I do the same thing.  They are such loves.  We have one hen I swear thinks she is a lap kitty.

    ReplyDelete
  23. bethany.dopp1/22/13, 8:16 PM

     Thanks so much for this post.  The photos were highly illustrative and helpful!  I've totally heard these myths before.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Can refrigerated eggs be incubated?  

    ReplyDelete
  25. kim harroun1/23/13, 4:33 PM

    I am wondering why my hens have blood spots in their eggs. The spots are actually brownish. Does it have anything to do with the fact that they are outside roosting in frigid temps? I have never had chickens stay out in this type of weather and have never had spots like these before. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks! This cleared up alot of things. 
    I am going to try and incubate my own.

    ReplyDelete
  27. TheChickenChick1/26/13, 1:52 AM

    They can, but hatchability is not going to be as good as with eggs that have not been refrigerated. The ideal temps to store hatching eggs are between 45-65°F.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Karen Cheah1/26/13, 5:33 AM

    Me too!  I was afraid to eat any eggs laid by hens who had a rooster around but now I'll be glad to have any of those fresh eggs.  It was great to find your blog while searching for info about how to control chook parasites (specifically red mites) which kill one of our girls :(

    ReplyDelete
  29. I know that sperm remain viable within the hen for quite some time after a mating, enabling the hen to lay fertile eggs day after day without further matings.  But I wonder just how long after a cock is removed from the hens will their eggs remain fertile?  Two weeks after I moved my cocks to "The Fraternity" (Kappa Omega Kappa) I cracked open an egg and I swear it was fertile.  There was definitely a very visible bullseye there.  Was I just imagining things or did she really lay a fertile egg that long after the boys were removed?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nice information- answered a question I had too.  Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  31. TheChickenChick1/27/13, 9:45 PM

    Great question, Heather! I wrote about it on my article here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/03/chicken-encyclopedia-meets-max.html

    ReplyDelete
  32. Eleise Bott1/29/13, 7:02 PM

    Wow, that is so interesting. Thanks for sharing, I always wondered about the blood in eggs :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you for your info!!! Just started following today and just got my first baby chicks on the 12th of Feb. Lots of great info!!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and
    inspiration, both of which we all need. Brilliant work. Thanks for the
    information shared. 



    road accident claim 

    ReplyDelete
  35. I can't get enough information from you......I learn soooooo much!!!!! thank you for your devotion. 

    ReplyDelete
  36. thanks for the article... very interesting. i always say, you learn something new everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Lauren Johnson4/3/13, 11:22 PM

    Is it true that fertilized eggs can remain at room temperature for a long period of time before putting them into an incubator? I was recently given hatching eggs and an incubator for my preschool class but I want to wait 6 days (next Wednesday) so make sure they see the hatching process (vs. doing it towards end of week and missing hatching over the weekend). Thanks for all the information and help!

    ReplyDelete
  38. TheChickenChick4/3/13, 11:36 PM

    I wouldn't say that they can be held for "a long time," but they can wait a period of time after being laid if stored properly. Hatchability begins to decline 7 days after an egg has been laid, so the sooner it is set, the better. The eggs should be stored away from sunlight, between 50-60°F. Ideal humidity is 75%. I hope that helps! Happy hatching!

    ReplyDelete
  39. hey lm trying my hand at chicken farming lets talk I find u to be wise and a great source of proper info ive got 1 rooster and 7 hens and just built my 1st coop I need someone as intelegcical as u r to turn to for info

    ReplyDelete
  40. Randy Francis5/12/13, 10:39 AM

    Thanks Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I follow your blog and learn something new from you every single day whether it's from your text or your pictures.
    Candling 12 Olive Eggers eggs today. Wish me luck!
    ( I love the continuing saga of Rachel and Blaze's ongoing angst. It's like "As The Chicken World Turns")

    ReplyDelete
  42. Whats the best and easiest way to candle an egg?

    ReplyDelete
  43. TheChickenChick5/17/13, 8:58 PM

    I like the OvaScope, but a very bright LED flashlight can work for light colored eggs. http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/09/hatch-along-with-chicken-chick-part-4.html

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm so glad you wrote this post and that I stumbled on your blog trying to get all the chicken knowledge I can. I am brand new to keeping chickens we got our first batch of baby chicks 4 weeks ago, 9 different breeds and a few we think are roosters. We are totally addicted, though the roosters will have to be re-homed once we determine who the roosters are. I was really concerned about cracking a fertile egg open and having a started chick in there.

    ReplyDelete
  45. TheChickenChick5/30/13, 1:08 AM

    Welcome to chicken-keeping, Suzanne!

    ReplyDelete
  46. We suspect that one of our pullets might be a "ROO" and I am heart broken to think I would have to let this chicken go if it was a roo because my husband does not think fertilized eggs are good to eat. Our suspected rooster is the leader of our six chicken flock and they all love her/him... This blog post has made me think that no matter what we can keep our beautiful Austrolorp "Bea" whether she is a roo or a hen...

    ReplyDelete
  47. We suspect that one of our pullets might be a "ROO" and I am heart
    broken to think I would have to let this chicken go if it was a roo
    because my husband does not think fertilized eggs are good to eat. Our suspected rooster is the leader of our six chicken flock and they all love her/him... This blog post has made me think that no matter what we can keep our beautiful Austrolorp "Bea" whether she is a roo or a hen...

    ReplyDelete
  48. Susan aubry6/3/13, 5:32 PM

    Thank you for teaching us Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Amanda Denz6/10/13, 9:19 AM

    This info is so helpful to me. I'm a first time chicken girl and love my birds soanything I can learn is so great

    ReplyDelete
  50. Your information page is great , I have had chickens for years ( in now into quail) and I wasn't sure on a couple of facts your pictures are great and very informative , well done , kind regards Claire

    ReplyDelete
  51. That was so informative. Thank you I really enjoyed that.

    ReplyDelete
  52. TheChickenChick7/8/13, 10:28 PM

    Thanks Annette!

    ReplyDelete
  53. hi im 12 and I find this very educational cuz im really into chickens and have chickens at our school.my fav was about the eggs if there fertile or not cuz my bantam chicken smokey is laying eggs .... but there not fertile eggs yet:(

    ReplyDelete
  54. whoa! that's so cool I will never look at egg yolks the same!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hello there!

    My professor wants us to make a new device for a thesis. My group wants to focus on this topic. Well, not about hatching eggs, but about chicken's egg.

    One of the suggestions he gave us is a device that will determine if the egg will be a hen or a rooster. Is it really possible to determine it? Or is there a device that already do this functionality?

    Is there a device n your mind that can solve some problems that you encounter on chicken's egg that is not yet invented? Non existing but possible to make?

    If yes, email me at cielomedina9@gmail.com and let's see if we can do it.

    Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Andrea C. A. Stroud8/14/13, 4:38 PM

    I truly learn more from you than anything I have ever gotten by Googling something! Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Barbara behrens8/14/13, 4:40 PM

    This is great. I have so many folks ask me these questions, its nice to have someone like you put it in perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  58. TheChickenChick8/14/13, 10:51 PM

    Thanks Andrea. :)

    ReplyDelete
  59. TheChickenChick8/14/13, 10:51 PM

    Thanks Barbara. Visual aids definitely help convey the information. :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. Lori Edmison8/15/13, 6:52 PM

    I also learn something every time I read your articles.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Fantastic thread, congratulations, its a breath of fresh air to read in depth information thats needed to raise my chickens and much more all in one place rather than bits hear and their from different breeders who have different ideas... you are now on my top site so I can refer to your site for further information.. Im not on facebook but if I was I would of followed you. Many thanks

    ReplyDelete
  62. Awesome info here

    ReplyDelete
  63. Sharron Johnson10/2/13, 9:52 PM

    So, I think I'm confused! Since you can't tell if an egg is fertile (without cracking it) until after it has been incubated for at least 3 days, does that mean you just take eggs at random and incubate them to see? And (my ignorance is really showing here!) after they've been incubated for that length of time under that kind of heat, they're not edible are they? I think we've got a roo in our last batch of chicklets, and my husband was wanting to rehome him as he thought we couldn't eat the eggs he "fathered", and I was confused on the issue as well. So this info set us both straight! But it seems the more I learn, the more questions I have. Thank you for being so kind in providing all this information (free of charge even!) and answering our questions. I always try looking through all of your blogs before asking. Thanks again for all you do for us chicken addicts!

    ReplyDelete
  64. TheChickenChick10/2/13, 11:11 PM

    Yes, eggs are set without knowing whether they are actually fertile.
    No, they are not edible after they are set in the incubator.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Sharron Johnson10/3/13, 2:47 AM

    Thanks Kathy...

    ReplyDelete
  66. how old for a roo to be fertile

    ReplyDelete
  67. Thanks so much for all your info!

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am learning so much from you!! I am new to having chickens. My girl (Pattie) was raised with her 3 buddies who were supposed to also be girls and turned out to be boys! Before I could make another enclosure for Pattie one of the boys mated with her. After about a week or 2 I then realized she had been hiding 2 eggs.(her first eggs actually) I quickly made her her own house and run the next day. I put the eggs in a nesting box and she has layed 6 more eggs. She is not broody but lays on them at night. (The box is the only place thats 'inside'.) My question is should I make another roosting box for her to sleep in and if she is sleeping on the eggs only at night have the eggs started to develop?

    ReplyDelete
  69. TheChickenChick11/8/13, 3:10 PM

    If she doesn't sit on them 99.9% of the day, they're not going to make it.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thanks so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Thanks!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Kristye Betts11/26/13, 6:08 PM

    I just put 4 eggs from my polish hen and my cochin rooster in the incubator. I wasn't sure they were fertile but checked them after 3 days and can see the veins. Thank you for your info Kathy:)

    ReplyDelete
  73. Thank you! I was hoping this would cover the blood spot. I was told the same thing as you said here, I wasn't sure if the other person really knew what they were talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Another good article! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  75. I cant believe your uncanny timing. I read your post for the first time today, then this evening, I had company and was preparing deviled eggs, and the girl that came with my Granddaughter started asking me all kinds of questions about fertile eggs. You cant imagine how SMART I appeared!! Thanks for all your info, I use it regularly!

    ReplyDelete
  76. If eggs do not hatch without an incubator...how did they hatch them in the olden days?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Patti Jo Hamilton11/26/13, 6:43 PM

    Always love to be educated by you! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  78. Luella Eirsdottir11/26/13, 8:08 PM

    I had a friend who was a trucker. He delivered fertile eggs to Draper Valley Farms growers. He always had extra eggs. They were awesome. I have always wondered how that worked...since the eggs came from AR and we live in WA.

    ReplyDelete
  79. TheChickenChick11/26/13, 10:07 PM

    With a mother hen, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  80. TheChickenChick11/26/13, 10:07 PM

    LOL! Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  81. TheChickenChick11/26/13, 10:08 PM

    Outstanding!

    ReplyDelete
  82. TheChickenChick11/27/13, 6:15 PM

    Nope. Haven't heard that one. Silly.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Dirk Bruggeman11/29/13, 10:26 AM

    For how long can a pigeon egg (suppose also chicken-) stay fertile when left cold and not heated for a few days? They will be turned regularly 3 x / day and then allowed to be brooded.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Kathleen Turk11/30/13, 3:53 PM

    This is great information, thank you! I have a background in science, but you forget stuff like this over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  85. TheChickenChick12/1/13, 8:24 PM

    Thanks Kathleen!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Just wondering - I have a very broody hen and my friend is trying to "lend" me her rooster. I am thinking that broody hens are not actually receptive to mating though - just to sitting on eggs
    . Is the correct..

    ReplyDelete
  87. Jennifer Gonzales-Gutshall12/17/13, 1:27 AM

    We are in the process of trying to incubate eggs and get chicks, All of the eggs we have are fertile. So my question is I don't want to add more eggs into the incubator right at this moment in time but if we leave them on the counter how long can you leave them on the counter and you can still put them in the incubator and possibly get chicks. We have 2 chickens laying right now and I would like more than 2 hatched each day if they make it to hatching point.

    ReplyDelete
  88. TheChickenChick12/17/13, 2:00 AM

    The short/very general answer is: the sooner you set them, the more likely they are to hatch. After 7 days, hatchability begins to decline. You do not want to leave them on the counter, however.
    This article will help you with storing them properly until you are ready to set them: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/09/hatch-along-with-chicken-chick-part-3.html

    ReplyDelete
  89. I love your articles. They are so helpful to, me. Do you think ducks eggs would be similar? My female duck started laying at 4 mths and has been in high production since. My hen is 4 mths this month, when do you think she will start laying?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Aly Bessey1/5/14, 9:41 PM

    Great info! Thanks for clearing things up. I have 2 roo's and 19 girls so this really helps when people ask.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Question. What does it mean when you find blood in an egg bought in the store? Not just a tiny drop. ...a decent amount. ... I've had this happen a couple times and was told it was probably fertile. From reading above I see that's not true. But again, not just a dot. ... more. I've always wondered about this. .. its quite gross sometimes

    ReplyDelete
  92. I was just wondering about the blood spot, we have one hen whose eggs will randomly have blood in them. it's not every egg, but it's too the point we can't give her eggs away anymore (they are our only green eggs). And the majority of the times we find an egg with blood in it it's more than just a spot, quite a bit more sometimes. Any suggestions? I forgot I needed to search for what's going on, your post reminded me that I need to figure it out. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Corgiville Farm1/6/14, 1:38 PM

    My broody hen must have made herself available at some point because, I left her with 2 of her own eggs and she hatched our wonderful roo, Nugget. The other chick didn't make it. We had to remove Nugget's father from the flock for attacking me.

    ReplyDelete
  94. TheChickenChick1/7/14, 12:28 AM

    It means you need to stop buying supermarket eggs. :o

    ReplyDelete
  95. Crystal J Ortmann1/9/14, 11:43 AM

    Thanks. This was helpful. I've been buying eggs from free-running chickens lately and they often have a blood spot which has concerned me.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Darren Chelman1/13/14, 2:02 AM

    How long approx after you remove the Rooster do the eggs remain fertile ??? do the hens continue to lay fertile eggs for a while after ?? hope that makes sense

    ReplyDelete
  97. rehan qureshi1/16/14, 3:42 PM

    thanks good information

    ReplyDelete
  98. TheChickenChick1/16/14, 8:32 PM

    I wrote about this subject in this blog article, Darren: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/03/chicken-encyclopedia-meets-max.html

    ReplyDelete
  99. Thanks for this very helpful info! can I have link for my site?
    http://itikbanyuwangi.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  100. Jessica Francis1/24/14, 12:52 PM

    I think that you have did a wonderful job with all of your chicks and chickens i wanted tolook at your web site because in doing it my project on eggs and in trying to find eggs and an incubator

    ReplyDelete
  101. Wel just wondering if a fertile egg is in the fridge would it still show the bulls eye wen u crk it I no u cant use it cause it has been in the fridge but I was wondering if someone could tell me thanks

    ReplyDelete
  102. I have six PB Sussex hens two roosters I only have one rooster wit them . Would one b enough for them six hens to fertile there eggs roster bout 26 week's and crowing. Would thh eggs b fertile only four of them laying . Can any answer my question thanks

    ReplyDelete
  103. TheChickenChick2/3/14, 8:55 PM

    Yes, you will be able to see the fertile bullseye if the egg is refrigerated.

    ReplyDelete
  104. About 2-3 weeks

    ReplyDelete
  105. I've been setting eggs out on the counter in my kitchen and I do have a rooster with my hens. It gets about 80 degrees everyday, will that at all make the embryo start growing?

    ReplyDelete
  106. One rooster is enough, putting both the roosters in together will most likely lead to fighting and possibly death.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Thanks for the correct info. I grew up in the city but had farm fresh eggs delivered to the house which gave my dad the opportunity to teach me about eggs chicks, etc. Sadly he told me about the spot of blood being a fertilized egg. Thanks for clearing that up. Those were the best eggs. They were brown and sometimes had rough shells. What causes that?

    ReplyDelete
  108. TheChickenChick2/28/14, 10:18 PM

    Check this out, Linda: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/01/how-hen-makes-egg-egg-oddities.html

    ReplyDelete
  109. I couldn't wait any longer, I was hoping to win your incubator giveaway but I didn't so I clicked on the sponsor link on your page and ordered one! I am so excited. It should arrive in a few days. I have a question I hope you can answer, when I collect the eggs do I have to put them into the incubator right away or can I wait a day or 2 till I have enough (7 I think it holds) and if I only have 4 one day can I start those 4 & add 3 more the next day? Thank you for your tips and giveaways :-)

    ReplyDelete
  110. TheChickenChick3/8/14, 9:09 PM

    Very exciting, Delia! You can hold eggs for more than a few days, but the sooner you set them, the better. Two days is MORE than quick enough. I would not start some and add some to the incubator a few days later.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Delia Reese3/9/14, 3:24 PM

    Great! This is going to be a fun learning experience for me and I'm happy to know your site is full of tips & stories of other peoples experiences as well! Thank you for all the time you put in on here, I really do appreciate it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  112. Michael Stine3/9/14, 5:40 PM

    I've had two ducks for about a year now and just today I found an egg. I thought the're supost to lay eggs 14-17 weeks? The female is not supporting her egg, what do I do to save the eggs? How will I know when the drake has fertilized the eggs? I did not want to disterb the eggs but I need to know if there is something living in side?

    ReplyDelete
  113. My new incubator is scheduled to arrive in 3 days. I do have a roo and 11 hens, so my plan is to attempt to incubate my own chicks, again. The first time was a complete failure! I only attempted 3 eggs in a very small inexpensive incubator. And upon further research, realizing only 50-80 percent hatch, this time my plan is to incubate at least 12, even though the new bator with automatic turner will hold "41". I'm still a beginner so I don't dare spend money to purchase fertile eggs until I have a better handle on getting them to hatch. Thanks for your insight and wish me luck.

    I've had chickens now for a lil over a year (even though we had them when I was a kid). My kids (2 grown adult daughters) lovingly refer to me as the "Crazy Chicken Lady". I admit, I'm completely head-over-heels and addicted!

    My question to you...Once I collect the eggs from my girls, how do I hold them for a day at 85 degrees? Or do I need to do that if I collect them right out from under them, while they are still warm, and place them directly into the incubator?

    ReplyDelete
  114. My golden heavy coachin was laying egg without a roaster. Now i have brought roaster for her, Tell me how long it takes to give fertile egg??? plz guide me.. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  115. My golden heavy coachin was laying egg without a roaster. Now i have
    brought roaster for her, Tell me how long it takes to give fertile
    egg??? plz guide me.. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  116. I'm new to this.... how many eggs will a hen average hatching when she decides to brood? Also, does she still lay only 1 egg/day ?

    ReplyDelete
  117. Hi...I have seen a duck in my bushes sitting on eggs for quite some time now. Today she left and hasn't returned to her eggs in over 8 hours. I've looked at them and all but one have veining and an embryo inside. Two were cracked open and no babies to be found. I feel a predator came and ransacked the mom and the nest :( How should I care for them until I can get to the store to purchase and incubator? All stores are closed now being a Sunday evening. Any help would be a blessing to see if I can have these little guys survive. Their mother came from a pond in our neighborhood. I would let these chicks go there when their old enough.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Lorraine Moss4/19/14, 6:55 AM

    my bantam hen has been laying on her eggs for a week more than 21 days,was going to throw the eggs away when I heard chirping from 2 of them,do I leave them under her or try to gently crack them open ?

    ReplyDelete
  119. TheChickenChick4/19/14, 1:22 PM

    Leave them under the hen.

    ReplyDelete
  120. I purchased eggs from e-bay and had chicks develop but died mid to late stage 6 out of 8 eggs. I just got a new fan type incubator and the chicks that did hatch (mostly from my flock) hatched early even though the temp was 99.5. They started hatching late day 19 through early day 21. What am I doing wrong to have chicks hatch early and to have lost the mailed eggs? Any advise for me? The breed of chick I want to try are just to expensive for me to purchase from a GF type Farm as day old chicks & want to try to purchase eggs again if I can figure a way to improve my hatch rate. Humidity day 1-18 was 50-58% day 18-21 was 68-70% couldn't get the reading to come up any more no matter how much water I added. I checked the thermometer and the temp seems accurate. Any words of wisdom would be very much appreciated. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  121. TheChickenChick4/23/14, 10:19 PM

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  122. TheChickenChick4/24/14, 12:12 AM

    My best advice would be to get this book: http://amzn.to/1cgByDK

    ReplyDelete
  123. I hope this is not a dumb question. We just bought an incubator. If we put 10 eggs in and after a few days we see only 5 are fertile can the other 5 still be eaten? Does incubating an egg make it unsafe to eat?

    ReplyDelete
  124. TheChickenChick4/27/14, 3:08 PM

    No, they cannot be eaten- they are unsafe to eat.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Alix Freiberger4/29/14, 9:23 PM

    I bought fertilized eggs three days ago. Unfortunately I didn't realize I needed to turn them 4 times a day. It may still take a day or so until I can put them into the incubator. Should I start with a new batch of fertilized eggs or can I use the ones I have even though they were not turned? I stored them in my root cellar so they were at least kept cool. Thanks a lot for answering my question!

    ReplyDelete
  126. AmeraucanaMama5/1/14, 11:46 PM

    I'm brand new at this. I just bought an 8 month old Ameraucana. The woman I bought her from said she's not laying yet. I've had her quarantined for 4 days so far and she just laid her first egg. Is it possible the egg is fertilized if she wasn't laying yet when she was around the roosters? (I don't know if a rooster will mate with a hen before she starts to lay.) My second question is, if this egg is fertile, does it have to be incubated within a certain amount of hours for the chick to develop? (She won't really keep it warm.)

    ReplyDelete
  127. It is possible. Read this and you'll understand fertility better: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/max-steves-story-tale-of-two-roosters.html

    ReplyDelete
  128. My son's nursery school has three hens. One has gone broody. Can we buy fertilized eggs and place them under neath her? Will that help her? She hasn't left her nest in over two weeks. Please help!!! If so, where can I find one or how many do I need? How soon do I need to do it? i feel like she's miserable, but have no idea. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  129. Holly Haithcock5/6/14, 4:47 PM

    I have one question when my chicken lays a clutch will they all hatch at once or one day as they where first laid?

    ReplyDelete
  130. Yes, you can do that. You could also buy some day old chicks and do the same thing. http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/08/caring-for-broody-hens-facilitating-egg.html
    Or you could break her up:
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/05/broody-breaker-when-hens-mood-to-hatch.html

    ReplyDelete
  131. It depends when she begins sitting on them and the temperatures they each have the benefit of while underneath her.

    ReplyDelete
  132. ok thanks i have one more question i have an egg that the egg shell cracked but the white covering inside the egg shell is still not cracked can that egg hatch or do i just get rid of it?

    ReplyDelete
  133. I'd feed it back to the chickens- it's not worth risking that the egg is contaminated.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Ricicha Hovey Francisco5/11/14, 6:55 AM

    I'm new to chickens and this was very helpful information. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  135. george lint5/19/14, 3:11 PM

    i set up my incubator up and regulated the temp for 8 hours and then put the eggs in but then realized 6 hrs later the thermometer was reading wrong and the real temp was 104 instead of 99.5. do you think the eggs will be ok

    ReplyDelete
  136. I have a question: how does a hen tell if an egg is fertilised or not? Does she know exactly which egg to hatch?

    ReplyDelete
  137. She doesn't know whether eggs are fertile or not.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Oh I see, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  139. I have duck eggs, they're over 30 days now but still moving inside? Why is this?

    ReplyDelete
  140. thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  141. penis baby!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  142. You do not need to worry about holding them at that temperature. As long as you store them in a fairly constant temperature once they are removed. I generally place them in my basement, its stays about 65 degrees. I will leave them down there until I have enough, then I will bring them up for a day to acclimate at outside temperature before placing them under my broody hen. The process is pretty much the same with an incubator.

    Could you please share some of the research links you have about the survival rates being 50-80 %?

    ReplyDelete
  143. I cover that topic in this article, Jodi: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/09/hatch-along-with-chicken-chick-part-3.html

    ReplyDelete
  144. Kimmi Sue Walrath Doerr6/2/14, 10:15 PM

    I really enjoyed your blog on fertilized eggs. Right now we are addicted to hatching and looking for a little red dorking roo. :)

    ReplyDelete
  145. Janice Ripley6/4/14, 5:09 PM

    I have a silkie hen and rooster.I think she laid her first egg . she isn't sitting on it..does that mean its not fertilized?

    ReplyDelete
  146. Hello from Eugene, I got a rooster for my four hens. Its been a week, how long until I could expect fertile eggs? I want chics. Thank you Brent.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  148. Helen Cela6/9/14, 2:51 AM

    if u see change in the egg its growing ,leave it see what happens ,

    ReplyDelete
  149. Helen Cela6/9/14, 2:52 AM

    the hen will know ,either before hatches or after , if she hatches them and she knows something wrong she will eat it ,

    ReplyDelete
  150. Helen Cela6/9/14, 2:58 AM

    have you saw the cockerel do his work ? if its a hen already laying and the cockerel is ok then he will fertlise straight away if hes doing hos job properly

    ReplyDelete
  151. Helen, thanks for the information. You mean, if the egg is 'wrong', the hen will eat the egg?

    ReplyDelete
  152. Hi i have a hin sittin on eggs they r due to hatch in about a week n i checjed them tiday and one of the eggs have cracked n u can see in it im thinking the momma did it what do i do

    ReplyDelete
  153. I have a hin thats been sitting on eggs there due to hatch in a week i checked in the eggs n one is cracked u can see inside it im pretty sure mom did it what do i do

    ReplyDelete
  154. I need to know asap

    ReplyDelete
  155. Janice, a hen only sits on the eggs when she has the number of eggs she wants to incubate. This way the first egg laid hatches at the same time as the last egg laid. Then the hen will settle down with them all at once....IF she has the urge to brood. Broodiness is not a natural instinct in all birds.
    We are still fairly new at this, so someone correct me if I am wrong!!!

    ReplyDelete
  156. Thanks for all the information and the pictures! My oldest daughter has tried to explain how fertilized eggs should look, but I am better at side by side comparison. Love your site...off to read more articles!

    ReplyDelete
  157. Teresa Parks6/26/14, 4:59 PM

    Love your site

    ReplyDelete
  158. This is great, to-the-point information! Someone I sell eggs to has already voiced concern that we have a (4 month old) rooster and that they would be eating an embryo. We collect every morning and we only have 6 hens (only 4 of which are laying). I just need to remember all of this to put minds at ease :) As of now, the laying hens won't let Conrad NEAR them, so we'll see if they ever even give him a chance!

    ReplyDelete
  159. They usually wait until the have a nest fuel before they sit on the eggs and go broody. Some hens never go broody and won't sit on them at all.

    ReplyDelete
  160. You might have to get another rooster for a better fertility rate on your eggs. Rule of thumb is 1 rooster to every 4 hens. They have their favorites and over time you will be able to see which ones he likes by the wear and tear on her feathers.

    ReplyDelete
  161. She will lay a bunch before sitting on them. Usually between 8-12. That is what mine do. Don't touch it, just leave it in the nest and she will keep laying in the same nest until she thinks there is enough for her to sit on.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Duck eggs are delicious. They are richer in flavor and are larger than chicken eggs. Great for baking but they make amazing omlets!!!!I raise both chickens and ducks and I sell both types of eggs and I would say I have the same amount of customers for both!

    ReplyDelete
  163. We wound up with 3 roosters from a bunch of unsexed chicks. They're about 6 months old now. Is it necessary to get rid of 2?

    ReplyDelete
  164. Chickybuddy5007/12/14, 11:28 PM

    Does it take a little longer for new hamshire red chicks to hatch because my chick cracked a little spot but it's been 24 hours since is it just resting or is so etching wrong it made a crack on the 23rd day of incubation now it's 24 days of incubation

    ReplyDelete
  165. You have a wonderful and informative website, kudos to you !
    Curious, have you ever candled an egg after about 7 days into incubation only to find it clear
    ( thinking thus it was not fertile ) then crack it open and find the blastoderm is indeed there?
    Just wondering if 7 days or so into incubation would affect the egg contents to the point where you would not be able to tell if it was indeed actually fertile or not ?
    Thanks for all you provide to poultry enthusiasts !

    ReplyDelete
  166. AmeraucanaMama7/21/14, 9:07 AM

    I don't see a different between aborting a freshly fertilized chicken egg and a freshly fertilized human egg. :(

    ReplyDelete
  167. sorry you felt it necessary to remove my question /comment, something I thought a lot of people would like to know, myself included.
    Perhaps you did not know the answer ...

    ReplyDelete
  168. I've seen a lot of people making forum comments (though not here) that seem to indicate that they think they *have* to break open an egg to check for fertilization - and then somehow put it back into its shell for incubation, rather than candle four days in. ... Would you address this in a post at some point?
    I think the idea may have come from so many explanations of how to tell fertilized and unfertilized eggs apart having only pics of eggs in bowls... Ready for whisking or frying.

    ReplyDelete
  169. H_KDiamond18/10/14, 4:36 PM

    So I recently have just started getting, 1 egg a day for last 3 days. I had a rooster in with all my hens bit only for one day. If an egg is fertilized and it is hot outside will she constantly sit on it or not because it is hot? How long after (if the rooster possibly got with them) could eggs be fertile? I would like babies, but dont want unfertilized eggs out there going bad. Would love too eat them if not.

    ReplyDelete
  170. H_KDiamond18/10/14, 4:46 PM

    Also off that topic.. my rooster is a white silkie, now if she (silver laced wyandotte) happened to get fertilized by him . What in the world would her babies be like? Love your blog btw!

    ReplyDelete
  171. Hens have no idea whether eggs are fertile or not. A hen that is not already broody will not sit on eggs. A hen that IS broody might sit on an empty nest without regard for whether there are any eggs!

    ReplyDelete
  172. H_KDiamond18/11/14, 8:38 AM

    Most the time hens won't sit on them? Either way fert or not. Wow that is crazy, is that why most people use incu's? Thank so much for response. How do you ever have time? :)

    ReplyDelete
  173. We just got the first 4 eggs this week from our Rhode Island (pretty sure it's just 1 chicken, 2 eggs a day). We would like to raise some more layers and I was wondering what we should do if she isn't laying on them and we dont have an incubator? It looks like we may have another more maternal chicken who might have been laying on them (we found it under the deck) but she is a Seabright and super tiny. How long can they just sit before they wont form? The others haven't started laying yet, but I figure it will be soon. We would just like to hatch a bunch of other chickens. I have to say it's really exciting because we have a bunch of different types of roosters. Our whole flock is a modge-podge of breeds- cornish X, domoniques, rhodies, our seabright, brahma, frizzled bantams cochins, and 2 Sumatran roosters who are the bachelor bosom buddies. We think we MAY have a rhode island rooster we thought was a chicken but Im not sure, we have a white frizzle cochin bantam rooster, 2 Sumatran roosters, cornish x roosters... they all get along for the most part which is hilarious. All the roosters get into the mood after feeding time in the morning.
    Our issue is we have no idea who might have bred with the rhodies since theyre bigger- the cornish definitely try on all the girls.

    ReplyDelete
  174. I have no interest in having baby chicks. I bought my chicks to make eggs for the family. The co-op I received my chicks from, unfortunately, were not as good at sexing their chicks as they seemed to think and I managed to have 2 roosters, which my daughter adores...


    The hens just started laying and I have noticed Johnny (the alpha rooster if there is such a thing), has been really getting down with the ladies and I am concerned that we will get incubated chicks. We try to collect twice a day (usually around 8am and again around 5pm). We do not refrigerate our eggs.


    Are we going to have to worry about cracking open an egg to a partially developed chick?

    ReplyDelete
  175. Chickens only lay one egg per day except in very rare circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Well we must be rare! Dominique is laying 2 a day and then one of our cornish is laying, also. The cornish has a lighter brown egg than the Dominique. :) How many eggs will she need before she sits on them all? She doesnt sit on them all day.

    ReplyDelete
  177. Teresa Scamardo8/28/14, 10:30 AM

    Great blog...always knew this, but easier to explain to others!

    ReplyDelete
  178. Thank you for the education , Kathy! When I was in my 20's, a neighbor gave us some eggs from her free range chickens. I cracked one into a skillet and out dropped a half-formed alien. It took 6 years before I would eat or cook eggs again! No roosters for this girl!

    ReplyDelete
  179. Hello, I am doing some research into the anti-angiogenesis properties of a certain chemical, and in order to test this, I need to be able to to see the embryo and the veins coming off of the embryo, exactly like how you have in it the photo showing incubation after 4 days. I cannot seem to get to the point of incubating the chicken fetus WITHOUT shell, could you please enlighten me on you got that picture? I need to be able to grow the chicken fetus outside of a shell for a period of 4-14 days, and be able to count the blood vessels coming off of it. A reply would be GREATLY appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  180. Is that the link you meant to include? The article about your 2 roosters didn't say anything about how many days fertilization is good for or anything

    ReplyDelete
  181. I found the article about roster fertility in his absence linked on a later comment, thank you for it. It was just what I needed to know. You may want to edit this link though. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  182. Interesting question. I'm not sure what the answer is, but my sense is that there can only be one.

    ReplyDelete
  183. We have just given our rooster away at 20 weeks. He may have bred with the 3 hens we also have. One day after the rooster went one of the hens laid an egg (quite small egg) is it safe to eat this egg or should we wait a month or so?

    ReplyDelete
  184. Gregory Alan Lott9/29/14, 6:05 AM

    Thank you for the good info & pic's

    ReplyDelete
  185. quick question, i have hen sitting on 6 eggs. she is now on day 19. this morning i checked her and one egg was not under her and it had gone cold. i put it under just incase it could revive itself. it is possible for a fertile egg that has gone cold overnight (because it hadnt been sat on) to revive itself or not?

    ReplyDelete
  186. It's impossible to know whether it will hatch, Abby. You could candle it if you'd like.

    ReplyDelete
  187. I put some fertilised eggs under my broody hen 3 days ago. Can I put some more under her today?

    ReplyDelete
  188. Alex Mitchell10/21/14, 6:25 PM

    Hello! I was wondering how long it takes for the cycle of possibly fertile eggs laid by a hen to stop after a rooster is removed. I have a hen who got clucky about a week or two after the rooster was gone, I would mind more babies, but is it possible that the eggs shes on are fertile on the firat place after such a long gap between the rooster leaving and her laying them?

    ReplyDelete
  189. Once I recieve fertilized eggs whats the first thing is should do before puting them in the incubator? I heard someone say to to let it sit or acclimate them,what is ot that they are refering to and exactly what should I do?

    ReplyDelete
  190. Instructions can be found here, David: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/09/hatch-along-with-chicken-chick-part-3.html

    ReplyDelete
  191. some of
    my hens eggs haven't hatched and she has
    gotten off the eggs today to take care of the 7 that have hatched. leaving 11eggs in her nest. what should I do.

    ReplyDelete
  192. Jen Lancaster12/8/14, 10:48 AM

    Do double yolkers ever hatch?

    ReplyDelete
  193. i just started eating egg and i am now started to feel guilty.Please can you tell me whether
    a unfertilized egg can ever become a chicken under the incubator, have you ever tried it.I dont want to eat something which has life in it.I ate with idea that there is no life in the egg Until i read this:


    http://www.jainworld.com/jainbooks/images/20/Facts_about_Eggs.htm
    In case if there is a life in it then i don't want to want it.I am confused please help

    ReplyDelete
  194. David Trueblood1/16/15, 6:33 AM

    Thanks for the post!
    Great info and well written as always! Very informative for better
    understanding my own chickens!I heard that it's really easy if I'm
    using incubator like this one here
    http://incubatorsatilir.meximas.com/index.htm but I'm wondering Is
    there any better ways?

    ReplyDelete
  195. oops sorry I meant to say hi I am Matthew I have 6 chickens that have been laying eggs for some time. my 3 sisters, my parents and I are planning on getting more chickens this Easter but we are thinking of getting fertilized eggs from someplace and putting them in the chickens nesting boxes but they wouldn't be their own eggs but possibly close to the same color of their normal eggs. do you know if they would be able to tell a difference?
    thanks for your time
    -matthew

    ReplyDelete