Which comes first, the rooster or the egg? :P


7 Years
Dec 19, 2012
This may or may not be a really stupid question, but we haven't had chickens since I was about six years old so bear with me.

I have 16 chicks with 13 on the way. They are *supposed* to be all sexed pullets. Now, say we got one wrong, and it is a cockrel.
I live in a (sort of) town so any rooster is gonna have to go when it starts crowing.

So here is my question:
If I had one turn out to be a rooster, it could feasibly fertilize some of my first eggs before I had to get rid of him, right?
I am not 100% on the timing of pullets starting to lay and cockrels starting to crow.
If that did happen, what would be the likelihood of any of my hens going broody?
I have a very distinct memory of my mother occasionally cracking a fertilized egg onto a hot frying pan. It was pretty gross. So I'm just wondering what the likelihood might be :p
Yes, a cockerel could readily fertilize the first eggs laid by your pullets. Roosters don't 'make' hens go broody. Certain breeds or strains within certain breeds are more likely to go broody than others. Fertilized eggs do not start to develop unless incubated. If eggs are collected daily, it is difficult (not impossible) to tell the difference between fertile and non-fertile eggs.
Gross eggs aren't cause they are fertilized. We always had cage store eggs as kids and still occasionally got a disgusting blood filled one. They definatly had no roosters.

We have had a rooster with ours for about four months till neighbours finally complained and he had to go. Not a single egg that looked anything other than normal.

The only way you would get a disgusting egg due to a rooster is if you left the eggs under a broodie hen for a week or so and then cracked them. But then who would eat those fertilized or not. Lol
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I don't mean gross as in bloody..i mean gross as in my mom had missed collecting an egg until it was halfway through development.
Like you said, Sourland answered your questions but I’ll expand a bit. I think they are good questions.

If anybody tells you they are 100% sure of when your pullets will start to lay or your cockerels start to crow, get a second opinion. I’ve had pullets start to lay at 16 weeks. I’ve had pullets start to lay at 9 months. I haven’t paid as much attention as to when cockerels start to crow but it can really vary too.

Some are harder than others but you should be sure if you have any cockerels before the pullets start too lay. They develop differently. Sometimes I can tell at 5 weeks that, yep, that’s a male. Sometimes it takes a lot longer to be sure. I’ve got a couple right now at 10 weeks that I’m not sure. I think they are cockerels but I’m withholding final judgment for a while longer.

It varies by breed too. Your first sign is usually comb and wattle development, but how heavy the legs are and just general shape and how they carry themselves are pretty good clues. When they get older the cockerels will have pointy saddle and hackle feathers but you should know most of the time before that stage.

If you have any that you are suspicious of, maybe around 6 to 8 weeks of age post some photos and we might be able to help you be sure. What we would need is a photo showing comb and wattle development but also a side view showing legs, posture, and general confirmation. With a little experience you’ll get your confidence way up on this, but if it has been since you were 6, I can understand a little uncertainty.

One last thing. Commercial operations electronically candle their eggs before they send them to the store for you to buy. (Hopefully you won’t be buying eggs much longer. That’s a nice feeling.) This candling enables them to remove any eggs that have blood spots, meat spots, anything like that which could upset a customer when they crack the egg. It’s not that there is anything unsafe about these eggs. They sell them to bakeries or places like that where the egg gets beaten so the customer can’t see that stuff. But there is certainly a Yuk! factor involved when you open one. I collect all my eggs daily so there is no development (even under a broody as long as you collect them daily), but I still crack them in a separate bowl before I add them to a recipe or the frying pan. I think that is a reasonable precaution to take with our eggs.

Welcome to the adventure. I think you’re going to enjoy it.
well ridgerunner some breeds their comb and wattles don't start to grow for a long time like silkies my silkie rooster looked like a hen for a long time and my silkie hen is like 10-11 months and she just started laying and one of my other hens she is a ee and she is older then my silkie hen and she is still not laying so it all depends on the breed and the hen its self ... with some breeds they will start when their like 4 months old and some when their like 10 months old so it all depends and same as roosters i had a rooster that would mate would try to crow and didn't even go near the hens and it was a rooster he had the hackle sickle and the saddle feathers but he passed away and a young rooster was already crowing and mating and he was like 4 months old and the older one was like 6-8 months old

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