Are Eggs Laid off Season Less Fertile than in Season?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by RainForestBird, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. RainForestBird

    RainForestBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2016
    I ordered online and hatched with some success some Dutch Bantam Eggs this past month. They arrived in September and hatched in October. Feeling confident about the seller's eggs, I ordered another ten. But for some reason they don't appear to be fertile, there are one or two that when candled appear to be developing, but otherwise zip. Its now day 20 and not even a pip. I keep hearing weak chirping, but I think it might be my imagination since I just recently hatched some eggs in the same incubator and I am sensitive to every little squeak I hear coming from that direction.

    Are eggs that are laid in Fall less likely to be fertile than eggs laid in the Summer? They must be mating more when the weather is warmer, so it makes sense that the fertility rate goes down with the temperature. The eggs come from Chicago (west) so I am pretty sure they are experiencing significantly colder weather than we are in Southwestern Washington State, even though it is wetter here.

    I'm thinking that it is best for me to stay away from the online auctions until the Spring. It will be hard, since it seems quite addicting.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ve read that when a rooster is molting he is less fertile than other times. I’ve also read that some rooster’s fertility drops in the winter and revives in the spring. This topic came up a few years back and several knowledgeable experienced people that hatch year around responded. Some said yes, fertility drops. Others said they did not see any drop in fertility. I often hatch eggs in February. Sometimes I get good hatches, sometimes not.

    A lot of people think fertility is the only thing that controls whether an egg develops or not. That is not correct. There are different reasons an egg might not even start to develop other than the egg not being fertilized. With a fertilized egg the embryo is alive when the egg is laid. The embryo is pretty tough but if the egg gets too hot or too cold the embryo can die. Changing temperatures cycling from cool to warm to cool can also cause problems. I once brought home some eggs from someone in the area but did not cushion the eggs very well when driving on rough country roads. I only got 1/3 to start to develop even though it was the peak of season and the lady was getting great hatches at the time. I just shook them up too much getting them home.

    I’ve had great hatches with shipped eggs, I’ve had horrible hatches with shipped eggs. The shipper has no control over how the eggs are handled during shipping. They may be left for hours in cold or hot places. They may be handled pretty roughly. I keep seeing where people say to expect a 50% hatch rate with shipped eggs. That may work as an average but my experience (fairly limited with mailed eggs) is that either I get a good hatch rate or I get a bad hatch rate. A lot of it just depends on how the eggs were handled during shipping.

    Shipping during extremely warm or cold weather increases the odds that something bad could happen during shipping, just like mailing chicks during extreme weather. The way this fall has gone I’m not sure that’s much of an excuse for those eggs.

    Since you had good luck with the first eggs from that person it’s probably not how the eggs were packaged but how they were handled during shipping. That’s just pure luck and not in the shipper’s control. Fertility could possibly play a part but it’s much more likely the shipping is the problem.
  3. FarmerTony

    FarmerTony Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2016
    You do realize that the eggs the birds lay will hatch if you buy an incubator? I have started hatching out my own eggs rather than buy the chicks from a hatchery. I may buy a batch of pullets each spring just to keep the genetics fresh, but it will be a small order. Only need about 10 instead of 200. I'm setting up a continuous hatch system. Where I expect I should get 0-3 biddies every day.

    I have a 42 egg incubator with egg turner. Take 3 eggs out each day, replace them with 3 new eggs, leaving 1 empty space as a placemarker. Put the ones you took out into the finisher, which is basically another incubator without the turner. Biddies hatch out continuously. Keep them in the brooder box until they start to get feathers, then put them in the coop.

    I haven't had any issues with batches up to 3 weeks apart accepting each other. In fact they roost together for warmth.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by