How long fertile?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by emptynester, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. emptynester

    emptynester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2011
    Beaufort, SC
    generally speaking, how long can a hen produce "fertile" eggs after being mated by a rooster? In other words, once a hen and rooster mate, and the rooster is taken away, how long would the hen's eggs be fertile?
  2. floridachickhatcher

    floridachickhatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2011
    i believe its a week
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Some say 2-3 weeks even
  4. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    i've read they can store the semen 3 weeks, up to 4 even
  5. dospuercos

    dospuercos Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Lehi, UT
    I got this off the MS State Dept of Poultry Science Website. Hope it answers your question.

    "How long do hens produce fertile eggs after being separated from the rooster?
    If the rooster in a flock dies or is removed, the hens continue to produce fertile eggs for up to four weeks, depending on bird species. This is because there are "sperm nest" areas located in the oviduct of hens that collect and store semen for later fertilization of eggs. This is a natural survival mechanism for the production of a series of fertile hatching eggs even after the male is not available.
    The period of time that fertile eggs are produced without additional matings can extend to several weeks. If a rooster is removed from the flock and replaced by another, it may require three weeks before it can be assured that all eggs will produce chicks sired by the new rooster. The proportion of chicks sired by the new rooster increases during this period but some chicks sired by the old rooster may hatch. Birds like turkeys and waterfowl have longer periods during which fertile eggs can be produced without matings."

    The link is
    have lots of great info about raising chickens!
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:Excellent link!!!

    I usually wait 3 weeks for a new Roo to fertilize eggs that I want to hatch. Every once in awhile during the 3 weeks I break open some of the eggs to check them to see if they are fertile. After 3 weeks generally all that I open are fertile. I think that if a Roo dies just the opposite is true and the eggs will be fertile for approximately 3 weeks.

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