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How to tell if a chicken egg is fertile?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Cane Toad, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Cane Toad

    Cane Toad In the Brooder

    First of all I'm so if I posted this in the wrong section, but I thought that this looked like the appropriate section.

    Anyhow, my mum wants to know how we can tell if our hens eggs are fertile eggs. I tried to explain it to her but she wants an expert telling her.

    We have 3 hens and one rooster, we have only had the hens (1 laying, 2 point of lay) for a few days and there has been a far amount of mating going on. My mum is worried that because of this we could pick up an egg crack it or cook it and a chick falls out. I told her that that is highly unlikely.

    So how can we tell if the eggs a hen is sitting on are fertile.

  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    With that many hens and a roo, pretty much all your eggs are fertile.
    An egg has to be incubated for the embryo to start growing. About a hundred degrees for a few days. A fertile egg sitting outside in hundred degree weather for a day or two won't start growing a chick. I've collected eggs that have been out for a few days during the summer and they're fine.

    What you will get that is different than store eggs are meat spots. They freak folks out and they'll swear it's an embryo, but it's not. It's a part of the hen's ovarian tissue that got pulled along inside the egg. Look at the Behavior and Egg Laying section, lots of pics there of funky eggs. These eggs are fine to eat, you can just pick the spot out with a fork or something. You may also get eggs with a little blood in them, it's also normal and fine to eat.

    Neither of these things are from fertile eggs. They happen in commercial eggs, they're just weeded out before they get in that nice little carton for the store.
  3. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chirping

    Jan 5, 2013
    Fort Collins, CO
    Just gather the eggs every day and you are fine. I wouldn't leave eggs more than two days in the summer, or it's likely an embryo will start to develop.
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Show your mom this: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures

    For the embryo to start developing the eggs needs to be kept at a temperature or ± 99* for a few hours at least. That being said, I've collected eggs from an even warmer coop (in Summer) after about 7-8 hours and they didn't start developing yet, so no worries there.
    Hens store sperm, so after one successful mating a hen can lay fertile eggs for up to 2 weeks. With 3 hens and 1 roo I reckon you have a pretty good chance of getting fertile eggs. Provided the roo does his job properly and the hens allow him to. Once the hen starts incubating the eggs you can candle them after a week and you should be able to see the embryo developing.
    1 person likes this.

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