How young can your hens and roosters be?

Johnhhoward

In the Brooder
Oct 20, 2021
6
34
31
Do chickens need to be over a year old before laying fertile eggs and does a rooster need to be over a certain age to fertilize a hen. I have had 9 eggs incubating for 22 days now and no hatching eggs yet but I am being told to go a couple extra days. I don't know what I am doing , any help guys.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,044
22,696
907
Southeast Louisiana
Do chickens need to be over a year old before laying fertile eggs
Absolutely not.

and does a rooster need to be over a certain age to fertilize a hen.
Absolutely not.

I have had 9 eggs incubating for 22 days now and no hatching eggs yet but I am being told to go a couple extra days. I don't know what I am doing , any help guys.

Don't do anything dramatic. There are several different reasons eggs might hatch a couple of days early or late. Giving them a couple of extra days is probably a very good idea, at least until we can figure out what is happening.

If you can tell us the backstory it might help. How old they are, how long they have been laying before you started incubating the eggs, how long and how did you store the eggs before you started incubating. Is it a broody hen or an incubator? Which incubator? Is it a forced air ((has a fan) or a still air (no fan) incubator. Did you calibrate the thermometer (confirm it is reading correctly)? Have you candled the eggs? When did you start them, on a Tuesday or a Wednesday? Did all nine start incubation at the same time? The more we know about what you did and what has gone on the more likely we can say something that can actually help. You never know what bit of information might be the spark we need.
 

Johnhhoward

In the Brooder
Oct 20, 2021
6
34
31
Thanks for your help and I will give the whole story up till today . I have a dozen young chickens that l bought in February of this year. One is a beautiful white leg, and she was very friendly from the start now since late July they started to lay . The white layed an egg by my feet and it was soft and flexible alot like latex . Since then she always comes as close as possible to me to lay and her eggs are a medium size and white. So I kept her eggs in a nest for four days and once I had 4 white eggs and I picked out 5 eggs from 4 of my bigger birds and one from a hen that lays double yolks. So I put 9 eggs in a incubator , forced air , kept temp around 37.6 c till day 18 lowered temp to 37.2, kept humidity up with wet sponge eggs point down and get turned twice a day, the temperature has been holding accurate with in .2c. Started these eggs on the first day of October so as of today they have been incubating for 28 days. Yesterday we broke open one egg and the baby chick was inside still had yellow yolk and the chicken looked fully formed but the chickens decided I was not to know and they grabbed it and all ate it. I need help bad...
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,044
22,696
907
Southeast Louisiana
So the chickens are 9 months old. That is plenty old enough for them to lay hatchable fertile eggs. You opened one egg and it had a developing chick in it. That proves that egg was fertile, the others probably were too. So the eggs being fertile is not your problem.

Chicken eggs should hatch somewhere around 21 days after start of incubation. It can be a few days early or a few days ate but around 21 days. As you started them on October 1, hat 21 day period was up October 22. When you are counting the days you don't start counting the day they start. it takes 24 hours for them to get one day's worth of incubation so you would ay "1" on October 2. Sometimes they can hatch as much as 3 days late but six days late is too much. Those eggs are not going to hatch.

So what went wrong. My first thought is incubation temperature. Are you sure that thermometer was reading correctly? Often thermometers don't. A very common cause of eggs almost developing but not quite is that the incubation temperature was too low. Is there a way to check the accuracy of that thermometer with a thermometer you trust, perhaps a medical thermometer. Those are usually pretty accurate.

I can't see that you did anything wrong so my first thought is equipment failure. Is there any way you can confirm that the thermometer is reading correctly?
 

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