I see 100 eyes rolling in thier heads, but... not a clue...


9 Years
Jun 5, 2010
Herkimer County
I'm planning on starting a small flock, about 6 chicks within the next year. Been researching and figuring things out. I plan on using the eggs for my own consumption, and maybe a friend or two depending on production. After talking with a few folks, they asked about getting a Roo and having my own chickens reproduce. I like the idea, but... And this will more than likely sound dumb, but I really don't have a clue...

If I have a Roo for the purpose of reproduction, how do I know which eggs are fertile and which are not. Do I assume they all are from all the layers? Are fertilized eggs the same as unfertilized, such as taste, etc., and be used the same?

I've been looking around here and other places as well and can't seem to find the answers. Any help will be greatly appreciated :) Thanx ahead of time!


Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
May 14, 2008
North Phoenix
My Coop
My Coop
Hi and welcome to BYC.

Fertile and non fertile eggs taste just the same.

If you have one roo for every 10-15 hens, most of the eggs will be fertile unless your roo thinks one or more of the hens are ugly.... and that doesn't happen very often.

After your chicks hatch, you'll end up with about 50% roos so the 9 of 10 roos that you don't keep for breeding will be good for eating.


10 Years
Oct 16, 2009
Just a few comments to add.
Fertile and non-fertile eggs look the same, but, of course only the fertile will hatch.
Occasionally a hen doesn't like a particular rooster.She will avoid his advances at all cost, but, again very rare. Hen and rooster do not have to be the same breed, size, colour etc., but any hatchlings will be mutts rather than true breeds or pedigrees. However, the hens will still lay eggs etc.
If you have a rooster he will tend to stop too much bickering in the hens, so they will peck each other rather less!
Oh and last, but by no means least, the rooster can be a bit rough when mating with the hens. He will tend to run from afar or circle the hen with one leg and wing outstretched. He will then often hang onto her neck feathers (often with loss of a few!) before she submits to his advances!
Enjoy your flock,


In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 23, 2009
Cool, CA (yes it's a town)
You can tell if an egg is fertile by the the little white spot in the yolk. If it looks like a bullseye it's fertile. However, as another BYCer pointed out it's mighty hard to get it back in the shell and hatched.
I've met some people who swear fertile eggs are better, but honestly I cannot taste a difference. I love having our rooster, Col. Sanders. I've kept many of my buddies entertained with a beer and watching the rooster dance.


10 Years
Jul 30, 2009
Charlotte, NC Area
In the old days (before refrigeration), fertilization mattered in eating eggs because a fertile egg will begin to develop at 80 degrees for a day or two and then will die. Then it will spoil. Unfertile eggs will store at un-air-conditioned room temperature for weeks without spoiling. So it used to be preferred to have unfertilized eggs available for eating, and fertile eggs for hatching.

With the advent of refrigeration, if you collect the eggs daily and place them in the refrigerator, they won't begin developing so they won't spoil any faster than unfertile eggs. Even those that do begin to develop (say, an egg the duck "hides" for a few days before you find it) will still store just fine in the fridge and can be eaten--you won't be able to tell a difference in flavor or texture. The only difference will be in the size & stage of development of the "bull's eye" on the yolk--something an untrained eye is unlikely even to notice.

If you just don't like the idea of eating a dot that could be a chicken (I have vegan friends, so I respect this even if I don't adhere to it), then you will have to keep your hens separate in order to obtain unfertilized eggs.


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 18, 2010
Shelby, N.C.
I cracked a store bought egg and fresh laid egg that a hen had pecked just the other day. Was showing my wife the difference between the two. Low and behold the store bought egg was a fertile one. I almost pulled the whole carton out and tried to hatch em. lol.


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Why not try? There's a whole gang o' folks on BYC who have successfully hatched Trader Joe's fertile & refrigerated eggs, and some from Safeway, and other markets!!!

Whoops, didn't mean to hijack the thread. Back to the OP's concerns: the ratio of hens to roosters for adequate fertilization is 10 to 1. Or thereabouts. If you only have 3 or 4 hens, one rooster will probably mount them too often and their backs and necks and maybe their combs will get ratty looking. (But there are "hen aprons" you can buy - or make - to help protect the hens.)

I have hens and a rooster, I don't intend to hatch any eggs; I just like having him as part of my flock. He does the lovely little tasks already mentioned by another poster. Plus, he's handsome and so funny to watch! And I like the sound of a rooster. (But not four or five or more of them.)


Easter Hatch!!
10 Years
Jul 17, 2009
I love that Mahonri (a man) says the roo would reject the ugly hens, but Sadie says the hens would reject an unacceptable roo.



10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
West Central WI
Yes, we all see the world (even the chicken world) from our own points of view.

Do not forget the roos can be mean. Some breeds will have more Human Aggressive Roosters than others, but it is always down to the individual personality and may not be affected by your training of him. If you have small children or fragile elderly, this should definately be considered.

Right now the flock is pastured beneath our bedroom window. I was thankful for this morning's rain, which delayed the early morning chorus for a while.

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