How long are fertile eggs laid after hens leave rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PouleChick, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

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    Hi me again! :frow Sorry for the hundred and one newbie questions. I'm so excited I can't tell you - we got our 2 silkies weekend before last to be hatching mamas for us to build my own interesting, varied flock. From what I'd read on here I wasn't expecting eggs for a couple of weeks if not 3 after the stress of moving. I have been giving them vitamin water and 20% protein food as well (he was giving them grains mixed with a few pellets so not sure if the protein would have been so high - he told me he was getting 2 eggs a week only so I'm thinking not!). Anyway already on Tuesday (so 9 days after getting them) Hermione laid an egg :wee:wee:weethen again today - so if she carries on every 2nd day I'll be thrilled and that will be much more than 2/ week!

    Anyway my question is - how long after being with a rooster (which these girls were) will the eggs be fertile? I read a passing comment by someone on here about it (being far longer than I thought) which got the cogs turning (free chicks with my hens - kind of like buying a pregnant ewe or heifer LOL) but haven't found anymore info when I searched.

    • How long will the eggs be fertile?
    • If I can try to see if one of them go broody how do I go about keeping the eggs / checking them for fertility etc? Should I crack one of the 2 I have open and see?
    • Should I leave them in the nest?
    • Is it a pipe dream or mean to even try when they are in a new environment?
    Thanks wise chicken people, look forward to your answers! :D
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    The rooster deposits his sperm at the entrance to the hen's vent, and the little fellows wiggle their way up the oviduct for up to two weeks following that little encounter.
     
  3. alexa009

    alexa009 Crossing the Road

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    Usually your eggs are still fertilized after 3 weeks of leaving the hen.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    Maybe you are asking two different questions. Let's clarify.

    One rooster mating will produce sperm capable of fertilizing eggs in that hen for up to two weeks following that mating.

    The fertilized eggs, once laid, will remain viable for as long as a month in some extreme cases. However, for optimum viability, fertilized eggs should be incubated within a couple weeks after being laid.
     
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  5. itsalwayssomething

    itsalwayssomething In the Brooder

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    I was told the same. Don’t go past two weeks before incubating eggs, and the big guys little swimmers will produce fertile eggs for two weeks on average some last less, some last longer...
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    So, you've had your girls on an enhanced diet for 9 days now? Have you checked any of those eggs for fertility? (you can do so when you crack them into the frying pan) do a google search for "blastodisc or blastoderm in a chicken egg". Compare the photos you see with your eggs. You may need to roll the yolk over to find the blastoderm. If you want to hatch those eggs, collect for up to a week, then set them in an incubator. Please read all of "hatching eggs 101" in the learning center before ever plugging an incubator in. It will tell you how to calibrate a thermometer and hygrometer (totally necessary). How to candle an egg. How to store eggs prior to incubation. And answer a hundred other questions that you never even thought to ask about the intricacies of slow cooking an egg to turn it into a chick.
     
    DaviJones likes this.
  7. You can go to the Incubation and Hatching forum here on the site to find a link to photos of fertile vs infertile eggs.

    You can't just leave eggs in the nest for your girls to hatch. Hens have to have the hormonal urge to do so, called being broody. It takes a special set of hormonal instincts to keep a hen on a nest for 21 days almost non-stop. You can't make that happen. It just does. If you want chicks, you'll need an incubator.

    Go for it. I am still really sad that I lost my cockerel to a predator at the beginning of February. I bought some hatching eggs a couple weeks later. On an after thought, I put a few eggs from my own pullets who had been with my cockerel. One of his was the only one that hatched! (I am still getting the hang of this incubation and hatching thing. I am just really glad I have offspring of such a great guy.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  8. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

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    Great this is what I needed to know (I'm good with the human stuff being a midwife - chickens not so much yet :lau) So I have about a week left of eggs potentially coming out fertile :celebrate
    Great so in all I have about another 3 weeks if I add that to the laying fertilised times. I don't want to use an incubator - that is what my silkies (1-2 year old previously been mummies) have been bought for! We get far too many power cuts here to risk an incubator! Should I put the potential eggs in the fridge? I read this can help keep them longer before incubating?
    No I haven't checked them - I'm so excited to have my first 2 eggs I haven't touched them - hubby tried to add one to the scrambled eggs last night and I told him off :lau. Great tip on turning the yolk too - I'm going to go and open one now.
    I think that is my next step!
    I know I'm just having a big random hope that them being silkies and it being spring and with 2 of them there may just be a chance that one of them decides to go broody while the eggs are viable - I know it is an off chance but figure if I can keep some fertile eggs back and it does happen then that would be really cool! If not I can make the chickens some scrambled eggs at the end of 3 weeks :lol: and buy in my fertile eggs when they do go broody as per plan a!

    Sorry to hear you lost your cockerel but lovely story that you managed to save his linage by quick thinking incubating :thumbsup

    Thanks for all your replies!
     
  9. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

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    OK I think they may be fertile need to look at more pictures and maybe some better light but the disk certainly looks like there is a centre to it rather than being of uniform colour :weeNow I need one of my girls to go broody - quickly :lau:lau
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Sometimes a nest of eggs can tip a pre broody hen over into full broody mode. Something to do with the pressure of the eggs against her breast triggering a hormone release is what I read somewhere but don't ask me to find the source. It would be worth either leaving their eggs in the nest and perhaps dating them as they are laid so that you can remove older ones as they get beyond optimal age, if one does decide to set. Alternatively you could put some ordinary eggs in the nest and keep removing the silkie ones and storing them until they are either out of date or a girl goes broody. As regards storing the eggs in the fridge to extend their viability, I can't tell you. I tend to try to mimic the natural environment as much as possible, since nature has a lot more experience at hatching eggs than us humans. To that purpose, I would probably leave the potential hatching eggs in the nest unless you still have serious frosts where the eggs would freeze.
    Yes a broody hen that is totally broody will set on nothing but if you are looking to encourage one to go broody a nest of eggs can I believe help and you are not wasting anything by leaving these eggs in the nest to see if you can tempt them. Even if they do not go broody within the 3 week timescale, those eggs will still be good to scramble for your husband and yourself or yes, you can also feed them back to the hens if you are not comfortable with eating them yourselves.
     
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