Do chickens lay eggs without a rooster? For those who are newcomers to chicken raising, this question seems to be troublesome. We start raising chickens to have fresh eggs each day, so how does that even happen without a rooster in our flocks? If you remove the rooster that takes too much space in your coop, will others hens still produce eggs for you daily?
For this burning hot question, the answer is yes.
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Do chickens lay eggs without a rooster?
Yes, for sure, thanks to their unique reproductive process, hens, at their right stage of maturity, can complete the progress of egg production regardless of a rooster present.
Roosters are symbolic of farm life, but you may be surprised that even many industrial chicken farms that produce thousands of eggs per day don’t keep any roosters in their flocks.
A cockerel is only needed if you want your eggs to hatch into young chicks. Without one, the eggs are infertile.
Even though there are some differences between fertilized and unfertilized eggs, there are not many differences in flavor and nutrients. Unfertilized eggs still have eggs white and eggs yolk that is nutritious and edible for consumption. But those eggs will never transform into baby chicks.
What happens to eggs that being laid in a flock where a rooster present? The eggs can be fertilized! However, if fertilized eggs are collected daily and are kept in a cool place, then the embryo will not mature and they won’t develop into chicks.
Usually, fertilized eggs like this aren’t used for food purposes. Farmers will let them go broody by hens to become baby chicks and expand the chicken flocks rather than eating them.
Read our related article on How to Hatch a Chick Without an Incubator. Hatching eggs without a hen or an incubator can be difficult, but we make it SIMPLE with a step-by-step guide!
When can a hen start laying?
In general, hens become mature enough to lay eggs somewhere around 20 weeks of age. To be specific, this age will vary from breed to breed.
In the first two weeks, farmers should not expect their chickens to produce eggs regularly. The very first eggs that hens produce will probably be tiny small and perhaps have soft shells or odd shapes when compared to their subsequent eggs. Even more, it may have blood covering the eggshell.
These phenomena are normal since your female chickens’ organism is not fully developed and ready to lay eggs. So don’t freak out when you collect a handful of bloody eggs from your backyard friends!
The first few eggs are like trials for your chickens. When they reach 7.5 to 8 months old, the number of eggs produced should regulate.
Read More: When Do Quails Start Laying Eggs Regularly? Here’s when you can expect your quails to produce eggs (and the best environment to give them!)
How often and how long for a normal egg laying?
The answer will vary depending on the breed and the organism’s development of each hen. A healthy female chicken can lay an egg every 24 to 27 hours, regardless of whether or not chickens lay eggs without a rooster around. However, for some breeds, it may take 2 days for a hen to produce an egg.
Some chickens will never produce any egg. This is often due to a lot of reasons, including poor diet. Since hens at this age need a lot of nutrients to produce an egg such as calcium, be sure to feed your chickens with a proper meal packed with nutrients when your flock starts laying eggs.
As the hen starts to age, the frequency of eggs laying will decrease. Normally, the high peak of a chicken laying eggs will fall into their first 3 or 4 years of their lifespan, especially backyard chickens that were not bred for egg production. But again this will vary from an individual hen to different breeds.
Read our related article, How Many Chickens Should I Get for Eggs? If you use a lot of eggs or want to sell them, here’s a chart and guide to help you find the right number of chickens!
Should you keep roosters in your flock?
Even chickens can lay eggs without a rooster in the flock, for some reason farmers still want to have one in their range. If you are interested in that, there are several things you need to consider.
Also, be sure to stop by our article, How Are Chicken Eggs Fertilized by a Rooster, for more on the reproduction and lifecycle of chickens!
Benefits of keeping roosters
While a cockerel is not essential to egg production, but they do offer some valuable things to farmers.
- Significantly, they take the role to fertilize eggs that will naturally hatch baby chicks to expand your feathered flock.
- Roosters will guard the hens against predators and alert if there’s a predator around.
- For the natural order, a cockerel will lead the flock to live peacefully, sometimes by putting up the fight between hens.
- Since roosters stand for beauty, it will bring entertainment and joy to those who watch it.
Read More: Chicken Egg vs Duck Egg Taste. Curious about the differences between duck and chicken eggs? We go over taste, size, and uses in this guide!
Disadvantages of keeping roosters
Well, fellow farmers have observed a handful of reasons why owning a rooster can be challenging.
- Depending on their personality, cockerels can sometimes get aggressive that may hurt even humans.
- They can wear out the hens when the ratio is not balanced.
- The worst thing lies in their crowing which might be so noisy and annoying for your neighborhood, especially in the morning.
For this issue, there are zoning laws that do not allow poultry farmers to have roosters. So, remember to check out the laws in your area before deciding to get one.
Read our related article, Why Do Chickens Lay Eggs Without Fertilization? Explore common reasons and how to prevent unfertilized eggs if you’re looking to raise chicks!
In the end, do chickens lay eggs without a rooster? Obviously yes. But that does not mean that roosters are not important. The decision will depend on your goal of raising a chicken flock. If you just want eggs to eat, then you will not need a rooster, but you may consider it later on if you decide to have your own baby chicks.