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How long are hens typically fertile after rooster is removed?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by AinaWGSD, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    So, we lost our rooster Saturday (well, technically we culled him, but it wasn't a choice we wanted to make) and would like to incubate some eggs. We had been planning on incubating later in the spring, but weren't really storing fertile eggs for hatching yet. What I would like to know is how long after the rooster is gone can we reasonably expect that the eggs are still fertile?

    All of Saturday's eggs and both of the eggs laid today I have saved and marked for incubating. That leaves me with 8 eggs of known age and 21 eggs that may be up to two weeks old. I know that the older eggs are less ideal for incubating, but am wondering how long I can collect fresh eggs before it is a futile effort. We are thinking about setting tomorrow, but if the girls are still likely to be fertile for a few more days we can always push the set date back a little farther.
     
  2. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    As you are aware, fertility does start to drop off. I do know of someone reliable reporting a hen producing an offspring by an unwanted rooster at 5 weeks after separation from that rooster. I suspect hens are like more animals and more than 1 sperm is required in the fertilization process, though only 1 sperm actually does the fertilizing.

    I would think you could collect for a number of days. Of course that makes your 21 day eggs that much older. Can you do a staggered hatch to make use of all the eggs? And keep adding eggs to the incubator as the hen(s) produce the eggs?

    I have done a staggered hatch in one incubator with remarkable success. Following the dry hatch method. Perhaps you can borrow an incubator , and move eggs over every few days for lockdown.

    GL
     
  3. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    I know, I was just wondering when that drop usually starts. After all, there's no guarantee that any of those eggs are fertile, we'd never even seen him mount any of the hens (although all the eggs we've cracked for eating lately seem to have had a bulls-eye and he was certainly courting the ladies). A staggered hatch to catch all of the potentially fertile eggs does sound appealing, but I'd like to avoid it since this will be my first time incubating and I'm already feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared.
     
  4. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    and just to let you know, there's an elderly man i know whom i have hatched eggs for and he always brings them to me too old in my opinion. he says they are about a month old when he brings them! lol. but i always have good hatch rates with his eggs. so who knows?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012

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