Prof. Russo

lawrence russo

Hatching
Dec 2, 2015
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7
I'm a biology professor and have often wondered. What initiates egg laying in hens? Don't they have to be fertilized first for viable or unviable eggs to form? The shells must form AFTER fertilization as sperm cannot penetrate.If not, how is it possible for unfertilized hens to lay eggs w/ hard shells?
 

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If you haven't already, check out the articles in the Learning Center...poultry is very interesting:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center
 

Michael OShay

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Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. I'm an Earth Science major, not a biology major, but I have taught high school biology before. X2 on Yorkshire coop's answer to your question. :eek:) Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Cheers.
 

Birdrain92

Crowing
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Jun 7, 2013
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I'm a biology professor and have often wondered. What initiates egg laying in hens? Don't they have to be fertilized first for viable or unviable eggs to form? The shells must form AFTER fertilization as sperm cannot penetrate.If not, how is it possible for unfertilized hens to lay eggs w/ hard shells?
Welcome To BYC! Please make yourself comfortable. Ask any questions you may and we'll do our best to answer them.

I'm a high school senior and hope to go into the veterinarian medicine area. Day light, nutrition, and water effect egg laying. Longer daylight the more a hen will lay. If she doesn't have what she needs for nutrients her ovary will stop making follicles and then you don't get any eggs. Chickens need the protein for the energy to lay and that energy also goes into the egg along with other nutrients. Chickens also need calcium to form a shell on the egg. Without enough calcium the hen will start eating feathers to try and get calcium or her body can take it from her bones or her eggs won't have a shell to them and will only have the shell membrane. Water to keep the hen hydrated and keeps the body lubricated to allow the egg passage without much damage done to the wall of the oviduct or vent. A hen doesn't need to be bred by a rooster to lay an egg. Fertilization happens before the albumen forms around the yolk. If I remember a hen's anatomy from start to finish you have the ovary,the oviduct (which consists of the infundibulum, magnum, isthmus, and uterus/shell gland), and then the vent. The ovary contains all of the ovas/eggs where each cell will develop and a follicle will produce and then burst releasing the yolk. The Infundibulum is like a catcher's glove, catching the yolk and also where fertilization takes place. The yolk goes down the Magnum which is where the albumen is added. Then is the isthmus where the shell membrane is forms. Then it passes to the uterus/shell gland where the shell forms and then it exits the hen through the vent.
 
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