Philosophical question about fertilized eggs...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fairfeatherfriend, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. fairfeatherfriend

    fairfeatherfriend Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2009
    Bothell, WA
    I have two vegetarian (not vegan) daughters who have long enjoyed eating our hens' eggs. However, we recently discovered we have a 20 week old cockeral. Though he is still low in the pecking order, he is starting to mount some of the younger hens regularly, which likely means we should be getting (some) fertilized eggs. My daughters are a bit concerned as vegetarians that this is "like eating meat." Do any of you have some thoughts about this that might be helpful? I'm looking for practical ideas. For example - Is there a point when biologically a fertile egg becomes an embryonic chicken? (I'm not looking for opinions or pros & cons on being vegetarian.) Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  2. OnewChook

    OnewChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you harvest it early enough it will just be a red speck in the Yolk. It wouldnt count as eating meat.
  3. Justahannah

    Justahannah Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2012
    Tacoma, WA
    I could be wrong, but I'm thinking that the transition from simply fertile to embryonic would be at the point where enough development has occurred that the cells have differentiated from stem cells into separate tissue occurs surprisingly fast in an egg IF kept at incubating temperatures. Here's a cool link with pics of the daily progression I think if you gather daily and stick them in the fridge it'll be a non-issue since you'd be halting development at day 1.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  4. OnewChook

    OnewChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Love your Profile picture BTW!! So cute!!
  5. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    If you collect the eggs every day and refrigerate them the process stops. I know the eggs need to remain about 100 degrees or so to develop although have never hatched any myself. Also hens stay fertile from mating for a while but I am not sure where along the chain the egg is fertilized.

    From a technical standpoint, fertile eggs are not considered to be meat. Meat is listed as skeletal flesh and connective tissues and sometimes offal. so if you would like you girls to continue eating eggs show them the definition of meat.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Just to set the right knowledge out there. The blastoderm, the fertile cells, are white and looks liked a bulls eye. A red dot is just a blood spot.
  7. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    thanks so much for the egg developement chart. Now if one does not hatch I can tell at what day or so it stopped. Gloria Jean
  8. fairfeatherfriend

    fairfeatherfriend Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2009
    Bothell, WA
    Thanks, everyone. I now have a better idea of what is going on. Amazing how far removed we've become from our food since the days when almost everyone had access in some way to the farm!
  9. my3under4

    my3under4 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2007
    Outside Austin, Texas
    I've wondered the same thing! Once we had a Rupert, we worried about "eating babies"! But completely technically speaking, and pardon my ignorance, does conception occur before the egg is created ? I know it occurs before the egg is laid, but...
  10. swirler

    swirler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2011
    You've labeled this "philosophical question" rather than "technical question", so: it all depends why you're vegetarian. If you're vegetarian because you don't want to eat meat for health reasons, fertile eggs without noticeable embryonic development are going to be nutritionally identical to unfertilised eggs. If you're vegetarian because you don't like the idea of animals dying in agriculture, eggs, probably aren't a good choice in the first place, because there aren't any sustainable ways of producing eggs that don't involve killing cockerels. If you're a vegetarian because you believe in the sacred soul of all animal creations and believe that that soul is imbued when sperm meets ovum, I can't really help! It's a matter for personal philosophy.

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