how long does it take for a hen's eggs to become fertilized?


10 Years
Jul 23, 2009
North Carolina
I have one rooster with 5 hens. The hens have been with roosters before I separated them...I don't know if that matters. I know its a dumb question but I have never put chickens together to breed on purpose before. I have heard 12 days..but I didn't want to put eggs in the incubator that weren't going to be what I wanted. Thanks:)
Have you seen the rooster breed the hens? Are the hens laying already? Is your roo over 6 months old?

If you answered yes to those questions, you probably only have to wait a few days to get fertile eggs. The just a short 21 days to incubate and get chicks!!

Do you know how to check the eggs for fertility?
3 weeks (21 days) to 4 weeks is when you can be sure that the hen's eggs are fertilized by the current male that she is breeding with. But, I've always had the idea that if a male is repeatedly breeding a female and the male is fairly young but mature, his sperm will "flush out" the weaker sperm of the other male.

I have no proof to support my ideas but all hens that were exposed to another male have not produced chicks from the original male, even while being housed with the previous male.

ETA: If you are asking how long before eggs will be fertile by any given male, you can assume that within 2 days after breeding, her eggs will be fertile if the male is continuously covering her.
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I'm curious- Why would it take so long to get fertile eggs? I mean, since a hen pops out a totally new egg everyday (just about), does it take the sperm 2 or 3 weeks to get to the egg?
She's talking about waiting 3-4 weeks to be sure the hens are clear of any sperm from the other roo the OP says they were with to be sure who the daddy is. I've never had eggs fertile past 3 wks after being pulled from a roo, but fertile right up to the 3 week mark.
averytds got it. Once a female is bred, I assume the eggs are fertile 2 days after the initial breeding. If the female is with other males before your chosen male, waiting 3 weeks before hatching any eggs by her will assure that your chosen male is the father of the chicks that you will hatch.
Ahhhh, I get it now! Another instance of me needing to go back and re-read the original post to fully understand the question before I respond! Thanks for clearing that up 4 me!
I have just experienced this myself, though I don't know that it is common.

I had a BR cockerel penned with NH hens for a project. Resulting chicks are 100% barred.
I moved the BR cockerel out on Jan 29 and put the NH cock in the pen with the NH pullets.
On Jan 31 (2 days after the change) I set eggs from that pen. Feb 21 I hatched one chick that was pure NH.
I set more eggs on Feb 6 (a week after changing cockerels), and I have hatched out 100% pure NH chicks from all 4 pullets. These eggs were laid from day 3 through day day 8 after the arrival of the new cockerel.
Yes, but the hen may already have an egg in the vagina with another egg falling into the infundibulum. It will take the sperm longer to reach it's destination than it will for the egg to continue on it's tract. This will cause the hen to not have a fertile egg until approximately 2 days after the breeding has taken place.

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