Is this egg fertile?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jwcarlson, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. jwcarlson

    jwcarlson In the Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2018
    Ok, so I've done some searching and can't seem to turn much up.

    I hatched a couple sets of buff orpington eggs this spring (from a friend who's kept chickens for about 30 years or so), had incubator issues for the first batch, but successfully hatched 10 of 12 in the second set. One from the first set did make it to hatch. Hatched May 3rd and May 10th, so the 10 are 22 weeks old now. The oldest chick was a cockerel as were three of the second batch. They were all VERY obvious, bright red combs very early. The oldest one was crowing (hilariously) at like 5 weeks old. And the roosters fought each other and carried on as I'd expect young male chickens do. So I rehomed all of those cockerels (before they were ten weeks old) and was left with seven chicks all of the same age (now 22 weeks). They all seemed to be developing at the same pace, but a couple were physically a little bit smaller... but what I would think is within reason for development. They've all seemed healthy. We've been getting our first little eggs for the last five days or so, which has been pretty cool.

    A couple of days ago I cracked a couple into a pan and noticed that one blastoderm (blastodisc?) looked huge. Odd, I thought. But didn't really process fully. Then it ate at me a little bit... "That one looked fertile." So the next day I cracked the four I had. One obviously with a tiny, infertile blastoderm...
    egginfertile.jpg
    and the other, again, with a huge one... with bullseye pattern.
    eggfertile.jpg

    Sorry the pictures aren't great, but I think you can get the gist of it?

    So I'm not sure where to put this thread, maybe there's a better subforum.
    I know that chickens can (rarely) reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis. But I've not been able to find out if the blastoderms would look 'fertile'. Since finding this I've been staring at the darn chickens every minute I can trying to out which of these "hens" Occam's razor tells me is really a 'he'. But their feet look the same. I've not seen any mating, obviously... or I'd know who the problem is. The ones with the biggest combs/wattles squat for me looking to be mated. I keep coming back to the least developed one, who still has small, light pink comb/wattles. But it is more stand-off-ish, and will peck the back of my hand if I get too close. If I try to touch its chest, it will sometimes kind of try to kick me. But I picked it up last night and cannot find a pointy feather on it... and otherwise looks similar to the others. The other cockerels looked more like roosters 15 weeks ago when I gave them away than any of these 22 week old ones do...

    eggbuff.jpg

    Am I just crazy? Is an odd blastoderm normal?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  2. beetandsteet

    beetandsteet Songster

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    I've never heard of chickens reproducing asexually, that's pretty interesting!
    I can't see much from your pictures of the eggs...
    All your chickens look like hens. One of the ways you can find out for sure if you're getting fertile eggs is to put them in the incubator for a few days, and then candle them.
    One possibility is that your cockerels were already mating with your pullets before you rehomed them, and the sperm lived inside the hens up until now, although that seems rather unlikely.
     
  3. jwcarlson

    jwcarlson In the Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2018
    I've considered that. The incubator. But I'm not *that* worried about it at the moment. At SOME point I'll have one crowing... or witness mating if there is infact, a rooster amongst my tiny flock.

    Regarding them mating. I don't think the cockerels were even 8 weeks old when I got rid of them. Could they have been mating that early? I thought they sexually matured at roughly the same age as the hens?
     
  4. jwcarlson

    jwcarlson In the Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2018
    This particular study is in quail, but there's some (older) research in chickens. And apparently it's pretty common in turkeys. Reptilian hold over, no doubt, as there are populations of reptiles that exist without males at all.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19276421
     
  5. beetandsteet

    beetandsteet Songster

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    Roosters mature sexually slightly before hens, but 8 weeks old is definitely pushing it.
     

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