1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Fertilization question... which egg will be fertile?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Want Less, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. Want Less

    Want Less Songster

    Mar 24, 2010
    New Bern, NC
    This is a curiosity question more than anything. [​IMG]

    So say a rooster breeds a hen first thing in the morning and for sake of argument, lets say he did fertilize an egg. And the hen lays her egg after lunchtime that same day. Is THAT egg fertile? Or is he fertilizing the next day's egg?

    Or is it possible that he's fertilizing more than one egg?

    Yes, these are the discussions we have over dinner around here...

  2. fshinggrl

    fshinggrl Songster

    May 1, 2009
    the edge of insanity
    From what I have heard it is the SECOND egg after mounting a hen that will be fertile. And I am pretty sure that he fertilizes a whole 'lot' when he does it once.
  3. Azriel

    Azriel Songster

    Jun 19, 2010
    The egg layed on the afternoon of the 1st day of mating would not be fertile, that egg was already formed and ready to be layed. The egg from the next day and for about 2 weeks after would be fertile.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Good question. I'll get a bit detailed.

    It takes an egg about 25 hours from when it starts its journey through the hen's internal egg laying factory until it is laid. That egg can only be fertilized during the first 15 minutes or so of this journey.

    Say the chickens mate on a Monday. Monday's egg will not be fertile. It started its internal journey Sunday.

    Tueday's egg might or might not be fertile. It depends on what time on Monday the mating took place and what time the egg started its journey.

    Wednesday's egg will almost certainly be fertile.

    Notice that I said after a mating, which ties in with what you said. Not all roosters mate with all hens each and every day, so this timetable is only after a mating. But that leads into your next question.

    After a successful mating, you will normally see the hen do the fluffy shake. That is not the hen being disdainful of the rooster's efforts and telling him, "That was nothing, Big Boy". That is her positioning his deposit into the correct storage place. A hen does remain fertile after a mating. it can be for as little as maybe 9 days or as much as maybe three and a half weeks, but two weeks is a pretty good number to use.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by