Why Do Chickens Lay UNFERTILIZED Eggs? – Solved

why do chickens lay unfertilized eggs

Why do chickens lay unfertilized eggs? Chickens lay eggs whether or not a rooster has fertilized them.

However, there are a few different reasons why an egg might be unfertilized. We’ll explore the primary reasons for unfertilized eggs and how you can tell whether or not an egg is fertilized.

We’ll also examine some of the benefits of eating unfertilized eggs. So, if you’re curious about what makes an egg an egg, keep reading!

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Why Do Chickens Lay Unfertilized Eggs?

chicken eggs in a group with one open
Chickens may lay unfertilized eggs because there is a lack of available mates to fertilize them, or the mate may not be able to fertilize all of the eggs.

There are a few reasons why chickens lay unfertilized eggs. First, chickens typically only mate with roosters when they are ready to lay eggs. This means that there is often a lack of available mates.

Second, even if a rooster is present, he may be unable to fertilize all of the eggs. This is because chickens typically lay more eggs than a rooster can fertilize.

Finally, a chicken can lay an egg without ever contacting a rooster. This is a result of selective breeding and usually happens once every day or two.

Read More: Can Chickens Swim? If you’re wondering if your chickens would enjoy a nice kiddie pool or pond, this is the guide for you!

What Are Unfertilized Eggs?

Chickens lay both fertilized and unfertilized eggs. The primary difference between the two is that fertilized eggs have the potential to hatch into chicks, while unfertilized eggs do not.

Unfertilized eggs are typically sold for human consumption. However, some chicken keepers allow their hens to hatch their chicks. In this case, the hen will typically lay a clutch of eggs, only some of which will be fertilized.

The rest will be unfertilized. While unfertilized eggs cannot hatch, they are still nutritious and can be eaten the same way as fertilized eggs.

FUN FACT: Fertilized eggs will not develop chicks if they’re not incubated by the mother hen.

Read our related article for more information on this topic: Do Chickens Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?

How to Tell if an Egg is Fertilized

chicken eggs in a nest
Chicken eggs can be either fertilized or not, but essentially they’ll look pretty similar.

The process of fertilization begins when the male chicken mates with the female.

Once the egg has been fertilized, it’s important to note that it must be sat on or incubated by the chicken or put in an incubator in order for the development to continue into a chick. There are a few ways to tell if an egg is fertilized or not.

  • One way is candling the egg. This is done by holding the egg up to bright light.

If the egg is fertilized, you can see veins running through the center of the egg.

  • Another way to tell if an egg is fertilized is to open it and examine the contents. An unfertilized egg will have clear albumen, or egg white, whereas a fertilized egg will have cloudy albumen.

WARNING: Only do this if you are not planning on keeping the egg as a chick because using this method will destroy the development of a baby chick.

  • Finally, look at the chalaza to tell if an egg is fertilized. The chalaza is a spiral band of protein that helps anchor the yolk. The chalaza will be thick and prominent in a fertilized egg, while an unfertilized egg will be thin and barely visible.

You might be able to see the chalaza in the egg because it will look more like a white speckle or white blob. While there are a few ways to tell if an egg is fertilized, candling is the most reliable method.

Read our related article on How to Hatch a Chick Without an Incubator. Hatching eggs DIY-style can be scary at first, but we make it EASY and share videos to help you through the process!

Here’s an educational video on how to tell if eggs are fertilized:

Read More: Black and White Chicken Breeds. These are the prettiest black and white chickens to put in your flock!

Eating Unfertilized Eggs vs Fertilized Eggs

Most of the eggs we eat are unfertilized.

For a chicken to lay a fertilized egg, it must mate with a rooster. However, most commercial chickens are kept without a rooster, so they lay unfertilized eggs.

There are several reasons why unfertilized eggs are preferable to fertilized ones:

  • Unfertilized eggs have a longer shelf life.

Fertilized eggs must be refrigerated as soon as they are laid, or the embryo will begin to develop, and the egg will rot. Unfertilized eggs, on the other hand, can be stored at room temperature for weeks without going bad.

  • Unfertilized eggs are less likely to contain bacteria. When a chicken mates with a rooster, it can pick up harmful bacteria from its digestive tract, contaminating her eggs.
  • Most people find that unfertilized eggs taste better than fertilized ones. The extra nutrients in a fertilized egg can sometimes make the egg whites rubbery and the yolks overly rich.

For these reasons, most commercial egg producers keep their chickens without roosters and focus on producing safe, fresh-tasting, and long-lasting eggs. Read More: Yellow Chicken Breeds. Thinking of adding a little more color to your flock? Here are the most vibrant yellow chicken breeds!

How to Prevent Chickens From Laying Unfertilized Eggs

rooster and chicken
Both fertilized and unfertilized eggs can actually be consumed by humans, but typically the ones we buy in the grocery store are unfertilized.

If you’re looking to expand your flock, you’ll want to prevent as many unfertilized eggs as possible. Here are  4 tips for preventing your chickens from laying unfertilized eggs:

  1. Make sure that your chickens have access to a rooster. For an egg to be fertilized, it must be in contact with a rooster’s sperm. If you don’t have a rooster, your chickens will only be able to lay unfertilized eggs.
  2. Keep your chickens healthy and well-fed. Unhealthy or malnourished chickens are more likely to lay unfertilized eggs. Ensure your chickens have a balanced diet and access to fresh water.
  3. Provide your chickens with a comfortable environment. Chickens that are stressed or uncomfortable are more likely to lay infertile eggs. Keep their coop clean and spacious, and make sure they have plenty of access to fresh air and sunlight.
  4. Avoid using any pesticide or herbicide around your chicken coop. These chemicals can disrupt the reproductive system of your chickens and cause them to lay infertile eggs. Stick to using natural methods for pest control around your coop.

Just like how embryos don’t develop in humans or other animals is exactly what can happen to chicken embryos. Ultimately the best bet to having a fertilized egg is making sure to have a rooster available to fertilize it. 

Read More: How Do Chickens Sleep at Night? If you’ve ever wondered how chickens catch Z’s, this article may surprise you!

Conclusion

The main reason chickens lay unfertilized eggs is that they are not mating. If you have a rooster around, your hens will lay fertilized eggs. Additionally, if you have a hen that has been mated previously and doesn’t mate again within about 24 hours after the last egg, you may start to lay some unfertilized eggs.

First, chickens typically only mate with roosters when they are ready to lay eggs. This means that there is often a lack of available mates.

Second, even if a rooster is present, he may be unable to fertilize all of the eggs. This is because chickens typically lay more eggs than a rooster can fertilize.

Finally, a chicken can lay an egg without ever contacting a rooster. This is a result of selective breeding and usually happens once every day or two.

" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What Are Unfertilized Eggs?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "

Chickens lay both fertilized and unfertilized eggs.

The primary difference between the two is that fertilized eggs have the potential to hatch into chicks, while unfertilized eggs do not.

Unfertilized eggs are typically sold for human consumption. However, some chicken keepers allow their hens to hatch their chicks.

In this case, the hen will typically lay a clutch of eggs, only some of which will be fertilized. The rest will be unfertilized.

While unfertilized eggs cannot hatch, they are still nutritious and can be eaten the same way as fertilized eggs.

" } }] }

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