Learning hen biology

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by CBWfowl, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. CBWfowl

    CBWfowl New Egg

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Minneapolis
    I have 3 female pullets that have been laying eggs for about 2 months now. I want to breed them with a cock from another chicken keeper nearby. The plan is to bring the cock to my hens for a few days of being male and female chickens in a run/free range environment. My question is: Do hens store sperm for any period of time (assuming fertilization) or do they start laying fertile eggs within their next laying cycle?

    Local ordinances prevent owning a rooster so we know we have 3 pullets, and want to get them back to infertile egg production (for human consumption) soon after they meet their first male.

    Any info would be appreciated while I'm still in the planning stages of this project.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hens will storm sperm, usually from about 9 days to 3 weeks after a successful mating. It really varies. The usual time you can expect a hen to be fertile after a successful mating is 2 weeks, but there is no real quarantee.

    It takes about 25 hours for an egg to go through a hen's internal egg laying factory from the time it starts until the time it is laid. The egg can be fertilized only in the first 15 minutes of this journey. If a hen is mated on Monday, Monday's egg is not going to be fertile. If a hen is mated on a Monday, Tuesday's egg might be fertile, depending on what time of day the egg started its journey and what time the hen was mated. Often they are not fertile since many hens lay fairly early in the day. Wednesday's egg if almost certainly fertile. However, this is after a successful mating. A rooster does not instantaneously mate with every hen in the flock the instant he joins the flock. It takes time. He does not necessarily mate every hen every day. That is why they can store the sperm.

    The mind is a powerful thing. The only difference in a fertile egg and non-fertile egg is in your mind as long as it is not kept at incubation temperatures, which means storing it below the mid-70's Fahrenheit. They won't hatch if kept in the upper 70's but they can develop a little. The eggs taste the same, store the same, have the same nutritional value, have the same texture and consistency whether they are fertile or not fertile. There is no difference in safety from a toxicity standpoint. Unless you look real close aned know exactly what you are looking at, they don't look any different either. This link shows you what to look for.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008&p=6

    I'm not going to criticize you for not wanting to eat fertile eggs. That is your business and your decision. For me, it is a non-issue until the egg has started incubation.

    Good luck! Hope this answers your questions.
     
  3. CBWfowl

    CBWfowl New Egg

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Minneapolis
    Yes that info is extremely helpful in the planning stages. Personally an egg is an egg to me. (assuming little or no embryo development has taken place) One of the biggest issues I have to deal with is urban legend that has gotten around to the rest of my household. (about craking open a partialy developed embryo, from some grocery store purchased eggs) Members of the household have proclaimed that they will not eat any of our hens eggs after the "borrowed" rooster arrives.

    I will make the household aware of the lack of development if temps are kept at refridgerator temperatures.

    Thanks again for the fertilization info.
     

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