Will a small, early egg produce a miniature chicken?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by talkingriver, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. talkingriver

    talkingriver In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2010
    My Coop
    Hi, All! One of my newer chickens, an Araucana, is still laying tiny eggs after quite a few weeks. The other newbies' eggs have gotten closer to adult size by now, but she is perfectly happy with her little pippins. She's the same age as the other new ones. She herself is not a small chicken -- rather, a bit larger than my Araucanas from last year.

    I'm not concerned about her eggs; she could go on laying munchkins forever for all I mind. It just got me to wondering, though... if I were able to hatch some of these, would the resulting chickens also be miniature?

    Thanks for anyone's thoughts!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’ve hatched those small pullet eggs before. They will hatch and you can raise them. But…….

    I’ve had some really good hatch rates with those small pullet eggs, but the hatch rate is generally a little worse with those small pullet eggs. If I have the same number of pullet eggs and regular sized eggs in the incubator, I’ll have one or two more of the pullet eggs that don’t hatch compared to the regular eggs. You can get good hatch rates but be prepared for maybe a little bit worse than normal. Same thing happens under a broody by the way.

    I hardly ever lose a chick that hatches, whether with a broody or in an incubator/brooder. If I do, it’s usually one from a tiny pullet egg. There are just not enough nutrients in those eggs for them to get big, so those chicks are a little more delicate and harder to raise. Last time I hatched pullet eggs under a broody I told my wife how many had hatched, 7 out of 8. Not a bad hatch rate. She said, “Let’s see how many are alive in a week”. The answer was 5. I don’t know what happened. One of them failed to thrive. That means it never learned to eat and drink although the broody and I both tried to teach it. I don’t know what happened to the other one. I just found it dead one morning. But I have raised several that hatch from the tiny pullet eggs. Most of them do fine.

    I think your question is more on whether they will reach full size potential compared to chicks hatched from regular eggs. That’s hard to answer from my experience. They have the same genetics as chicks from larger eggs, but they get a slower start. My flock is cross-breeds so I can get a lot of variation in adult chicken size even from the same size eggs and the same hatch. Also, practically all chickens I hatch are eaten before they are fully grown. I don’t think they reach the same size potential as the ones hatched form regular eggs, but the ones that make it make perfectly acceptable adults that lay well and act like chickens.

    I’ll continue to hatch the tiny pullet eggs when I feel it is appropriate. I’m playing with genetics and trying to develop a certain project chicken. I can save a season if I can hatch some eggs later in the year.
  3. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Songster

    Aug 10, 2013

    I've heard that an egg from a pullet has a very low expectation to actually hatch, that the egg is to small to fit the growing chick...but then I have read on here where people get successful hatches out of pullet eggs, I decided to go ahead and try and incubate a few eggs from my EE hen that just started laying a month or so before I set them, along with eggs from my other older hens who lay normal size eggs... As far as them being a smaller bird overall, I will let you know in a couple days when mine should start hatching :)
  4. talkingriver

    talkingriver In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2010
    My Coop
    AmericanMom and Ridgerunner, thank you for all the info. It being so late in the year (and I not wanting to raise chickens inside the house all winter), I won't try hatching any of Slipper's eggs. (It's heartbreaking when the little ones don't thrive.) I do appreciate the feedback though, and AmericanMom, do let us know how yours fare. Certainly by the time I'm ready to incubate any eggs (Spring), hers will be of natural size. :)
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I think the genes that control the bird's size are in the DNA of the embryo, not the size of the shell it comes in. Sorry if I used the wrong terms but I aint no genetic scientist.
    I have an old Americauna hen, which I think is similiar to your Aracauna and she has always laid small eggs, just a bit bigger than a banty egg. She's a fairly large bird too, bout the size of a RIR. The birds from those small eggs have grown into both big and small birds depending in ther rooster she mated with.

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