Fertility/Egg Shape/Bielefelders

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by lastco, May 23, 2017.

  1. lastco

    lastco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will apologize in advance for the long post!

    I've acquired hatching eggs locally to get a couple of new breeds, and I suspect one of these breeders has some fertility issues. I've hatched other eggs from them with no problem, so this seems to be specific to only one of the breeds they raise (Bielefelders).

    I got 19 eggs the first time (I paid for 18 and they gave me one extra). Upon candling (I usually just wait until day 18), I had 9 that were clear. Of the 10 viable eggs, 8 hatched. That's 9/19 infertile.

    I let the breeder know. They were really great about it and gave me 18 replacement eggs. I was thrilled. Most people that sell hatching eggs can't guarantee fertility or anything else, and they shouldn't have to. We can't always control nature, as often as we try. They went above and beyond, and I certainly appreciate it.

    Upon candling the second batch, I had to pull 9 clears out of the incubator, along with 1 early quitter. That's 9/18 infertile. The 8 viable eggs are currently in lockdown.

    I noticed, while candling both batches of these eggs, that the clear eggs were all the same size and shape. They were NOT ABNORMAL, just specific. It was to the point where I would say "clear" before placing them over the light and my husband was nearly convinced that I might be a sorceress of some sort. I've noticed the size/shape connection to clear eggs before, but on a much smaller scale, so it could've easily been a fluke.

    I did crack open the eggs in question and found that they are definitely infertile. My inner scientist is very curious about these things! So, on to my questions:

    -Is egg shape specific to each hen (like a fingerprint)? I know many variables can effect size/shape but, under normal laying conditions and health, is this something you've noticed?

    -If these eggs were found to be from specific hens, is it likely that they just aren't being covered by the rooster? I don't think this particular breeder has an unreasonable number of hens with their rooster, but perhaps he's a bit lazy or has favorites?

    -Has anyone else had these issues with Bielefelders in particular? Are fertility or other hatching issues common with this breed? I know the gene pool is still quite small in the US when compared to other more common breeds. I've really enjoyed their disposition though, so I think they're worth a bit of hassle.


    Thanks!
     
    melle1980 likes this.
  2. wynn4578

    wynn4578 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Egg shape is somewhat like a fingerprint in that a hen USUALLY lays the same shape egg. I don't have beilfeilders but I did have a hen once that never layed fertile eggs. She was covered and I've seen my roo on her several times but for whatever reason her eggs were always infertile. I can't bet on it but it seems to me that the breeder may have the same problem.
     
    lastco likes this.
  3. lastco

    lastco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I find this quite fascinating! I've always had poultry of some sort, but breeding/hatching has taken my curiosity to a whole new level. Hopefully this isn't an issue I encounter in the future, but good to know nonetheless.
     
  4. wynn4578

    wynn4578 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've had chickens for several years as well and my parents always had chickens growing up yet I still see and learn something new all the time.
     
  5. lastco

    lastco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed. There is always something educational happening in my backyard. Ha! I homeschool my kids, so it makes for some exciting science lessons.
     
  6. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a mixed flock of several breeds and I find I can usually identify an egg as coming from a specific hen. Often based on color and size but shape comes into it too. Different breeds of course vary in size, shape, and color but it can vary with member of the same breed. I have two wyandottes of the same age and one lays a much longer pointer egg than the other. I also have three australorps and two lay a pretty consistent shape (but I can tell the pullet by size of the egg) and the remaining one lays a rounder egg. I think it may differ a little sometimes but not as much as color does. There is an old theory that says the more pointed eggs are roos, but I haven't found that true in my case. I can't seem to relate pointed or not to fertility either but then again I've got a very mixed flock. Maybe it is different for purebred/linebred flocks. Or maybe there are just specific hens who are not fertile or not being covered adequately by the rooster. A different rooster might change the situation entirely.
     
    lastco likes this.
  7. lastco

    lastco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Good to know! I haven't found a proven connection to egg shape and sex either. It was something I actually made a point to look for, after reading about it, when I started dabbling in autosexing breeds. When you're camped out at the incubator window, you know exactly what came from which egg! Lol! But, like you said, perhaps this is something that is specific to other breeds. Some of these old theories are based on reality, and some are just crazy.
     
  8. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree. I also have a mixed flock, and can usually determine which hen laid which egg by using shape, size, color, and texture. So, in response to the OP, yes, each hen tends to have a specific shape egg.

    As for the infertile eggs, it sounds like it's an issue with either the hen's fertility or the rooster's failure to adequately cover this particular hen. Roosters do have favorites, and sometimes that accounts for some eggs not being fertilized.
     
    lastco likes this.
  9. lastco

    lastco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish y'all could've seen me trying to research this. The internet had no idea what I was trying to ask. Thank goodness for BYC! All I could find were threads about egg shape/sex of chick theories, abnormal egg shape articles, etc.

    I also learned that the cops figured out how to lift fingerprints from egg shells and feathers. Just sayin'!
     
  10. Lastco, I've had a fertility problem with Biefelders as well. I set 15 eggs last month, picking out the biggest ones (2 of 3 hens), and -0- hatched. Upon cracking, none were fertile. We had not noted the infertility when eating eggs from these hens, but obviously the roo wasn't doing his job, or shooting blanks (these 15 eggs were from two specific hens, so i doubt it's a 'hen problem'). Very discouraging, especially since this roo passed last week from a fight with a fence. I've just received 5 new chicks from another breeder, so we'll see how that goes. I really want this to work, since the Bieles are so much fun to have around.

    Another egg 'situation' I'm having concerns the inner membrane. We've noticed this situation all along, that our Bieles lay eggs with a very thick inner membrane. Thick to the point that it doesn't rupture when you crack the eggs normally, but you must pierce that membrane with a fork or such to even get it into the frying pan. It causes me to wonder even if I can get a good clutch of fertile eggs whether the chicks can get out through that tough membrane.

    Anyone else noticed this with Bielefelders???
     

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