I have a small flock of hens and one rooster. The rooster is certainly doing his job, but, to date, I haven't seen any fertile eggs. How long after an egg is laid before it develops a visible embryo? I've been candling the eggs with a flashlight and have not seen anything, so they go in the fridge. Now another backyard flock keeper who is a neighbor tells me they are probably fertile, but when I put them in the fridge it stops the process. We collect at least once a day. The neighbor would like some fertile eggs for her broody hen. Can I just give her some eggs hot off the press, so to speak, and they can be hatched by her hen? Thanks for your input. I'm new to the forum and, as you can tell, new to chickens. We love 'em and spoil them a bit.
Eggs -- Fertile or Non?
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The way to tell if an egg is fertile is to crack the egg open and look for the little white "bullseye" on the yolk. There's some pics in this thread:
A fertile egg basically has a tiny embryo on the yolk, ready for development, which will start when the egg is warmed up to around 95-100* By putting eggs in the fridge you can "kill" the embryo and then the egg will not hatch when you put it under a hen or in an incubator. If you give your neighbour fresh laid eggs and she gives them to her broody immediately they'll have a good chance of hatching, as the older the egg, the lower the chance of it hatching. Some people recommend you keep a hatching egg no longer than 10 days before incubating it at a temperature of 55-60*
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You can't candle an egg to tell if its fertile, only what Sumi said. Now, if you put them under the broody hen then candled after day 3 you'd see some veining if its fertile
Thanks much, that information is just what I needed! Great link to the pics, too. Now I have an idea what I might be looking for, and, in fact, have probably eaten a few fertile eggs... or thought they looked funny and pitched them (don't recall pitching any eggs, tho). Gave my neighbor four still-warm eggs this morning. She will let me know if her broody takes to them, and what the results, if any, might be. This backyard chicken keeping is a hoot!