Can I raise chickens for both eggs and chicks?

crazeeyamy

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
4
0
7
California
I want to start my own homestead, but I have never raised chickens before. I want to raise chickens for eggs, but can I also raise my own chicks? How will I know which eggs are sitting on fertilized eggs, or on unfertilized ones? Any advice you can give me on this would be awesome, thank you!
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
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Out to pasture
If you don't have a rooster none of the eggs will be fertile. If you do get a rooster - he can handle about 10 hens. If he has much less he will overbreed them. You can break an egg open and check for a white bullseye on the yolk - that would indicate it's fertile so you would know your rooster is doing his job.
 

Frankie Ruiz

Chirping
6 Years
Oct 19, 2013
478
14
93
Long Island, New York
you can definitely raise chickens for both eggs and chicks, you will need a rooster to fertilize the eggs. a good ratio for egg fertility is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. some people take it to even 12+ hens per rooster but i keep it at 10 to ensure fertility. if you have more then 10 hens it becomes harder for the rooster to mate all of them resulting in some unfertilized eggs. if you keep the ratio 1:10, you should not have a problem with eggs being not fertilized. second, it is very rare for hens under a year old (technically called pullets) to go broody. broody is when the hen wants to sit on eggs to hatch them. some breeds go broody alot more often then others, and some breeds dont got broody at all. choosing your breeds is something you will want to research deeply. i suggest just going with an incubator to hatch your eggs. you can get them for as little as $50. when selecting breeds, i suggest going with dual purpose breeds such as the buff orpington. they will go broody but also lay about 4-5 eggs per week and become a pretty nice size to butcher. hope this helped you. if you have any questions let me know.
 

crazeeyamy

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
4
0
7
California
Thanks so much. I'm confused about how to know if my eggs are unfertilized as well, I want to raise my chickens for eggs, and I don't know how to tell which eggs are edible.
 

Frankie Ruiz

Chirping
6 Years
Oct 19, 2013
478
14
93
Long Island, New York
all eggs are edible. in fact, some people swear by eating only fertilized eggs! they say when the eggs are fertilized it adds 2 extra amino acids that are good for you, the amino acid thing maybe a myth im not sure, but all eggs are edible.
 

Frankie Ruiz

Chirping
6 Years
Oct 19, 2013
478
14
93
Long Island, New York
and you might be able to candle the eggs with a small flashlight and see if it has an air sack. if it has an airsack at the big end i think it is, then it is fertilized. but the best way to check is just cracking it open and looking for the bulls eye
 

bugflipper

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
228
22
113
It's a rarity for an egg not to be fertilized if you have a rooster and use the ratio of hens listed above. You can assume all eggs are fertilized. When you incubate them you shine a bright flashlight through the egg in a dark room after a week. You will be able to see the chick in the egg. If no chick then you throw it away. Most of the brown egg layer breeds will hatch their own chicks. Most of the white egg layer breeds will not.
 

subhanalah

Crowing
5 Years
and you might be able to candle the eggs with a small flashlight and see if it has an air sack. if it has an airsack at the big end i think it is, then it is fertilized. but the best way to check is just cracking it open and looking for the bulls eye
the only way to tell if an egg is fertile without cracking it open is by incubating it for about 5 days and candling it to see if there are any veins showing development.
 

TwoCrows

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Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
Mar 21, 2011
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Welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community! Not all eggs are fertile. But if a roo has been mating with your hens for several weeks, generally the hens are laying mostly fertile eggs. Since there is no way of knowing which eggs are fertile, it is best to set several eggs as some of them may not develop. So if you set 10 eggs, you should have 7 or 8 fertile eggs in that batch.

You will want to start with some reading in our learning center here on BYC. Lots of great tips and hints on raising a new brood of babies and all other aspects of keeping poultry...

https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

If you would like some info on hatching eggs, here is a nice article on setting and incubating eggs...

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-incubate-hatch-eggs-just-21-days-from-egg-to-chicken

Good luck with all your new adventures! If you have any other questions, that is what we are here for. Welcome to our flock!
 

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