Fact or Crap- Fertile Egg Age? Plus extra credit.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BrainyChick, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Bantam

    1 vote(s)
  2. Standard

    0 vote(s)
  3. BOTH!!!!

    1 vote(s)
  1. BrainyChick

    BrainyChick In the Brooder

    I was told last year from a local farmer that most new hens' eggs, if fertilized, won't produce chicks because the hens are too young. My ten lovely ladies are 10.5 months old, and have been laying like crazy for about seven months. There are three rosters among them (who have never fought surprisingly enough), and I wondered if my hens' eggs are "mature" enough to produce chicks for this spring, or if I should save myself the three weeks to only hatch disappointment.

    Extra Credit: I'm looking at different breeds to raise along side my hatchies so I can test the Nature vs. Nurturer theory. Does anyone have any suggestions? I need a cold hardy breed as our winters get rough, but not one that will die in our 95+ degree summers. I have buff orpingtons, brahams, rhode reds, and mixed including some easter eggers. I have tons of coop and pen room if that influences your suggestions. Also- I love bantams!

    THANKS BUNCHES ^_^ [​IMG] -Goldie aka brainychick

  2. Impress

    Impress Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Gray, TN
    I have hatched plenty of pullets eggs, never had problem one with them. They are a little smaller, but that is about it.
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    I have 2 chicks in my brooder as I type this that hatched from pullet eggs (literally the very first eggs the hens had laid -AND- I'd put them in the refrigerator before I set them in my bator). They're perfectly healthy and getting bigger everyday.
    What are you looking for in your new breeds? I noticed you're experimenting (the whole nature vs nurture), so are you looking for one that will go broody? Orpingtons are a good cold hearty breed, they did well during our hot, humid summers as well, as long as they had access to shade. Chentechlers and Buckeyes are great as well. Brahmas are cold hearty, my neighbor has some, and they tolerate the heat just fine too.
    By the way, I'm a total bantam convert. I swore I'd never keep the dainty little critters and was totally LF all the way. A few Silkies later and now all I have are banties :gig
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The reason I refrain from hatching pullet eggs if I have a choice is they tend to be small chicks. Roosters can be too young to be fertile and short winter days can affect rooster fertility.

    What do you mean by nature vs. nurturer?
    How cold? Where are you?
    In addition to the others mentioned Rocks, JGs, Javas, Minorcas, Leghorns and Anconas are all pretty hardy and have fared well in our climate 0 to 100. An amazing little bird that can take temp extremes is the Jaer or Jaerhon.
    Cochins make great broodies.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Everything lines up for you this spring.

    Your pullets have matured and are laying large eggs. The cockerels/roosters become more fertile as the days lengthen. Yes, the males are effected by hours of daylight too. The weather warms, nature springs forth with it's encouragement and the chickens respond just like the rest of the animal kingdom. Breeders often remark that their very best birds are late spring hatched birds. There's a lot to this.

    It's ideal. The chicks are hatched into a warm time of year. Everything is better in spring. [​IMG]

  6. PSJ

    PSJ Songster

    Apr 15, 2011
    Sabine Parish, La
    You should be fine hatching pullet eggs... yes, they are smaller, but that is about it. As for your 3 roosters...are they the same age as your hens? If so, you will probably start having problems out of them soon. Around a year, they hit that "teenage boy" stage and their attitudes completely change.
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    There are a couple other things about pullet eggs that can affect hatch.
    Sometimes the shells are thicker which can cause hatching issues including small air cells and unhatched pips.
    Young birds eggs can have a linoleic acid deficiency. I just read the hatchability analysis from the University of Florida and it said "Lipid transfer from the yolk to the embryo is reduced in the first few eggs produced by young pullets; this appears to result in increased embryonic mortality".

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by