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Something strange in the henhouse

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We have four Rhode Island Red hens, or at least we thought we did. They all look like hens, but I've noticed several eggs that appear to be fertile. Since I don't 'candle' our eggs for obvious reasons, I find the usual 'blood' in the yolk common to a fertile egg when I actually use the egg. We generally get three to four eggs per day. So, today, I witnessed one of the "hens" exhibit mating behavior with another of the hens. Since they look so much alike, I'm not sure I could fix the guilty party unless I had a paintball gun and caught him/her in the act. One of these hens is very friendly and attentive when we're in the pen, the others, not so much.I believe we've got a ringer. I guess I'd better start candling the eggs to see what's going on and if the eggs are viable. One of the hens seems to spend a lot of time in the nest box. We raised these hens from chicks purchased at the feed store. Any suggestions on determining, which, and how to determine if the eggs are fertile and viable?

post #2 of 5
Post pictures and we'll be happy to identify any boys. The alpha hen will mount the other hens to show her dominance. Completely normal behavior. Blood spots are not a sign of fertility. You have to crack the egg to determine of it's fertile or not.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I  can do the picture thing and I will. The blood in the yolk is the key, at least from my experience. I might have a hermaphrodite hen/rooster. Thanks for your reply. Will try to follow up with pix.

post #4 of 5

:welcome

 

blood spots do not indicate fertility. You shouldn't get veins in fertile eggs until about day 3 of incubation, IIRC.  so, fresh eggs with blood spots simply mean you have a hen who has a glitch in her system and sheds a bit of blood during the manufacturing process. At point of lay, you'd easily be able to tell a rooster from a hen by comb size, hackle and saddle feathers and overall size of the bird.

 

You can't see fertility by candling a fresh egg. If you do have fresh eggs, simply not incubating them keeps any development from happening. They're not "viable" until they've been incubated. Folks eat fresh fertile eggs every day.

 

Re-reading, if you're getting 4 eggs a day, you have all hens. You do not have a hermaphrodite chicken, just a glitchy new layer. The blood spots may work themselves out with time, or she may always give you spotted eggs.

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 


Thank you very much for your answer! While I've been around chickens at various times in my life, I have to admit I know little about them. I often just sit there and watch them. Better than TV!

 

Our chickens are kept in a pen with the coop inside. We have lots of predators here, including the family dog.

 

Your post was very helpful.

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