One of the best parts of having your own backyard chickens is fresh eggs, but another is hatching eggs! It’s such an amazing experience hatching eggs for the first time- or the 30th who am I kidding. But how do you know if your backyard flock’s eggs are fertile? We’re going to answer all your questions.
There is a lot of information on the web about “raising chickens“, a quick search brings up 30,000,000 results. In this sheer volume, it can be overwhelming trying to find exactly what you are looking for. The same is true when it comes to knowing if you have fertilized chicken eggs.
Raising Chickens For Hatching Eggs
One of the greatest joys of a chicken keeper is holding a tiny ball of downy feathers in your hands. Whether you’ve just bought started chickens from the local feed store, had them arrive at your door, but the greatest treasure is getting to watch new life burst from the hatching eggs you carefully tended.
Raising chickens for hatching eggs is super easy!
- Check and make sure that raising chickens is legal in your area.
- Ensure you have room for more chickens (check out our article on keeping chickens to familiarize yourself with their needs)
- Start with healthy chickens, depending on how many hens you plan on hatching eggs from you’ll need one rooster for every ten hens. Your chickens should be from good breeding stock without deformities, and the rooster’s comb should look like a standard comb for his breed.
- You can breed your chickens all year round, but chickens breed in the spring tend to be stronger and begin laying in the autumn.
- If you are breeding a second or third generation of chickens lookout for inbreeding issues. Try tagging your birds so you know which ones are related to the rooster. A good way to prevent these issues is by getting a new rooster every year.
- Get an incubator and learn how to hatch chicken eggs.
Hatching Eggs: How To Tell If A Chicken Egg Is Fertile
Checking your eggs to see if they are fertile is a really easy process. Crack a hatching egg into a bowl, unfertile eggs will have a single dot while fertilized eggs will have a “bullseye” shape or a small white circle with another circle inside of it.
How Long Are Chicken Eggs Fertile?
Maybe you’re like us and have multiple roosters in your flock, and want to have hatching eggs from a certain breed. The average length of fertility from a single mating is 10-14 days, to ensure that you have pure bread, or the mix you want your hens will need to be away from all the other roosters for a minimum of 10 days. After that, you can begin saving your hatching eggs.
If you want to be 100% sure of the right breeding remove your hens to a pen away from all of your roosters. After ten days begin checking the eggs for fertility. When you’ve found infertile eggs, put your rooster in the pen with the hens and begin collecting hatching eggs.
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