Question on Eating Fertilized Eggs

1ChloeChick

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 15, 2013
16
1
24
We are new to the site. We have 4 four-year old RI Reds laying hens. Four months ago, we got an assorted order of what was to be 8 more laying hens. It turns out, we were also given an Exotic Rooster in the batch. I am trying to decide whether to keep him or not, as we have never had a rooster before, just laying hens. Please someone explain the fertilization process for me. Is there a certain amount of time you must collect your hens' eggs before fertilization occurs so that I can be assured I'm not breaking open a baby chick when I am using my hens' eggs?! Please educate me on the process. Thank You!
 

buttercup95

Songster
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
681
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Northern Cali
Okay so fertilized eggs are fine to eat. The egg has to reach an internal temperature of at least 100 degrees before it starts to develop. So feel free to eat them to your hearts desire.

Edit- when you refrigerate a fertilized eggs it stops any chance of that egg developing even if it was incubated afterwards it would not develop.
 
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katbriar

Songster
7 Years
Dec 15, 2012
403
118
118
Northern New Mexico
Fertilization takes place before the egg is laid. It will not progress into a growing chick if collected and stored on your counter or in your refrigerator.

ETA- the development is in "suspended animation" until the chicken starts sitting on the egg to incubate. She would lay over the course of several days until she had enough. Then she would start sitting on them and they would all "turn on" and start developing at the same time. That's how they end up with chicks hatching within a few days of each other rather than one each day in the order laid and over several weeks.

So as long as she's not on a clutch, fertilized eggs are not developing. And even if she were sitting on them you couldn't see any development until day four or five.

 
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donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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I've had roosters in my laying flock for 20 years. I collect eggs every day or every other day and have never once had a nasty egg. You won't be able to tell the difference at all in the fertile eggs unless you have quite a practiced eye. Just don't let them incubate and you're good to go!

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1ChloeChick

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 15, 2013
16
1
24
You answered just what I was asking! This site is fantastic.
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Mister Chicken Hawk gets to stay with us!
 

newbie32

Songster
6 Years
Aug 16, 2013
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Low Desert, CA
I've had roosters in my laying flock for 20 years. I collect eggs every day or every other day and have never once had a nasty egg. You won't be able to tell the difference at all in the fertile eggs unless you have quite a practiced eye. Just don't let them incubate and you're good to go!

welcome-byc.gif

I read something about a bullseye. What is that about?
 

donrae

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Premium Feather Member
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Jun 18, 2010
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It's how you can tell the egg is fertilized. I don't have it marked, but if you search I think it's the incubating section, they have a nice thread with some good pictures. Basically, on every egg you can see a tiny white spot. When the egg is fertilized, that white spot develops a white ring around it, making a bullseye. Short of incubation, that's the only way to tell if an egg is fertile, and it takes quite the practiced eye to tell! Then again, I always just assume if a rooster is present with less than 20 or so hens, those eggs are all fertile!
 

gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
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My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Okay so fertilized eggs are fine to eat. The egg has to reach an internal temperature of at least 100 degrees before it starts to develop. So feel free to eat them to your hearts desire. Edit- when you refrigerate a fertilized eggs it stops any chance of that egg developing even if it was incubated afterwards it would not develop.
Not to scare anybody away from fertilized eggs, but refrigerated eggs can indeed be incubated and hatched. There are entire threads devoted to "Trader Joe's and Grocery Eggs" in the hatching forum. I am one of the folks who have hatched some. But ALL fertile eggs require a constant 95-101 degrees temperature before they begin to develop, and there is little discernible change for four days or so. Gathering eggs daily or even every two days will prevent their development. With that said, there is absolutely NO difference in taste or nutrition between fertile and non-fertilized eggs.
 

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