36 eggs only 3 fertile...Sterile Roo?Hens to young?What????


9 Years
May 14, 2010
I have 3 young pullets(5-6 months old)in with a 18 month old roo.The hens started laying about 3 weeks ago.These are their first eggs,well first 36 eggs anyway.I know the hens are young,but shouldn't there be more than 3 eggs fertile if my rooster is doing his job?I have hatched some eggs from this roo,but not alot.Could there be something in my feed that is causing problems?I bought some feed from a guy that runs a chicken house that probably is some type commerical feed.Very clean,great smelling, diffferent sized pellet feed.I just don't know if it is for layers or a grower-type feed or what.I only feed it to the birds I have in my breeder pens.And even then I mix it with scratch grains and plain chicken feed.I just can't think of any reason why these eggs wouldn't be good.I know this roo is not completely sterile,these pullets he is with are his daughters.Could that cause a problem?These birds are kinda special to me because I bought the roo to mix with my hens to make hens like him.I did that this spring.Now I should be able to cross them back and get a even better hen like him.Maybe I'm trying too hard or just plain rushing them too much.I hope someone with more knowledge about such things can help me figure this out.I've had chickens for many years but have never really tried to breed any certian birds to get something.I have just keep them for eggs to eat and give away and to hatch a few yard-mixed chick to replace my old hens each year.Thanks for reading this,sorry it got so long.

Den in Penn

8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
SE Pa.
Odd I would have though he would want to jump on any new hen. Could be the time of year. Possibly just taking a while to get to know each other. Have you watched them to see if they are mating?


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
It's hard to say exactly what is going on. It could be many things.

What breed are they? Some thickly feathered birds haved trouble hitting the target, like Orpington or maybe Cochin. The thick feathers get in the way. You can trim the feathers around their vents if this might be the problem.

Those first pullet eggs are unreliable. I've had really good hatches with pullet eggs but the experts warn against using them. There are a lot of things that have to go right for an egg to hatch and sometimes it takes a pullet a few weeks to get all the kinks out of her system. The egg itself has to be put together right in the proportions. An example. Sometimes pullets lay really thin shelled eggs. Sometimes pullets lay some really thick shelled eggs. Either extreme can cause problems in incubation. The yolk may be out of proportion, either too big or too little. The chalaza may not be attached just right. These things won't cause fertility problems but it is possible something is causing that which will straighten out in time.

Nutrition can cause problems. I don't know what is in that mystery feed and I don't know how much or what kind of scratch you are feeding them. I'd suggest you maybe stick more with the Layer where you know what is in it and maybe supplement that with a few greens or leftover stuff from your kitchen. Many people on this forum will rant about increasing the protein. A little extra protein won't hurt and might help a tiny bit but the things they really need is vitamin and minerals. Those greens and food wastes will provid that.

It could be a low fertility problem with your rooster. Some are just less fertile than others or he might have some type of health problem. He just may not be a vigorous rooster with a strong sex drive. People I trust on this forum have posted that their roosters are less fertile and less active in the winter, but others I trust have said they don't have that problem. No two chickens are identical. They all have differences.

It may be that your pullets are laying but they still have not matured enough to do their part in a mating. It takes two. It's possible your rooster is too much of a gentleman and if the pullets resist does not force them.

I'd suggest thinking about vent trimming, especially if they are a thick feathered breed. Check them out for parasites, mites and lice for sure, and consider worming them. Don't overdo the scratch and give them a bit of greens for vitamins and minerals.

You can check for the bull's eye. This thread has some photos to show what to look for.

Fertile Egg Photos

And read this article about storing eggs for incubation. Your problem may have nothing to do with the chickens but how you store them.

Texas A&M Incubation site

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