The question within itself is fascinating. How basically chicken eggs are fertilized?
There are too many factors that can come to our minds regarding this aspect.

What about the eggs we eat? Are they fertilized too? Are we killing the chicks while we eat them?
Well, don’t worry, we aren’t killing any chicks by eating those eggs.

The eggs are unfertilized ones. That means, Chickens have a biological system that keeps delivering eggs irrespective of the male chicken’s interruption. Yes, Roosters can fertilize the eggs, and that’s when we use the eggs to raise chicks.

Therefore, you cannot raise an egg that you buy from a grocery store.
To know it better let’s understand what’s a fertilized, and an unfertilized chicken egg.

Fertilized Chicken Eggs:

A hen must necessarily mate with a rooster to form a fertilized egg. So, that it can contain both male and female genetic contains to form an egg.

The mating process happens through the luring of a rooster to appeal the hen for mating. Once it’s done the hen uses the sperm to develop the embryo which later owns turns into an egg.

Unfertilized Chicken Eggs:

Unlike the fertilized egg, unfertilized eggs only have the genetic material of the mother or the hen. it’s clear that with one genetic characteristic, an egg cannot hatch into a chick.

You can notice the shape of blastodisc in an infertile egg yolk being very irregular and distorted in size. A fertilized egg has a well-shaped Blastodisc.

Wondering what’s these blastodiscs is about?

You will get to know about it as we understand the process of fertilization below.
Now coming to our point, it isn’t a simple process for an ovum to become a living being, whether it’s chicken or any other animal.
If you are planning to hatch eggs and are curious to see those tiny little birds come alive, or looking to start an egg layering business but have no idea regarding this aspect, You are at the right place.

However, the egg layering part of a hen lies on its breed. So, farmers choose the right breeds that can start laying eggs at an early stage. Once they get matured enough to lay eggs, such breeds can give at least one egg a day.
With this article, I am going to share some of the major aspects of how chicken eggs get fertilized.

The Reproductive parts of the chicken

Just to understand the process of egg fertilization, having a basic idea of the reproductive organs in chickens can be helpful.
The male chicken, i.e, the Rooster has two testes located in the abdomen close to the kidneys. The testis delivers sperms through papilla, which is present in the cloacal chamber. The Cloaca is where the urinary, and the digestive tracts end.

The roosters can constantly generate sperms whenever required for mating.
When it comes to the female chicken, the hen, they have ovaries. it is observed that the function of the right ovary stops functioning once an egg is hatched. Therefore, mostly the egg is formed in the left ovary.

Once the egg is ready to be fertilized, it is dispatched to the infundibulum, which is a funnel-like structure and a junction where sperm meets the ovum. A hen doesn’t have to go through mating now and then, instead, it stores the sperms which can help her fertilize her eggs for a longer period.

The Process towards a fertilized chicken egg

The process is held when the sperm is deposited inside the hen’s cloacal area and then reaches the vagina for resting. The oviduct is 30 inches where the sperm travels and transmits itself into the ready to fertilize an egg. The area where it fusses is the germinal disc. Once the DNA is shared, the egg turns into a zygote. The germinal disc is otherwise known as Blastodisc.

Later with cell division, it goes through the first stage of embryonic development, also called Blastoderm, further going through several stages of fertilization including the building up of the egg layer or the shell.

If the egg is successfully fertilized, you can see the hen already looking for a proper nesting place to lay her eggs. the eggs could be around 3 to 5, mostly.

Raising the eggs

This part of developing eggs is the most crucial one. Because developing the eggs in its best way can yield good quality chicks. Although it also depends upon the breed quality of the mother, which most farmers prefer to opt for good layering chicken, it is still important to allow the egg to grow in its necessary environment.
The best way is to let the mother raise her eggs.

In case you have purchased eggs from the market or a farm to develop, you can use a broody hen. Nowadays, most breeds of hens are broody because of several cross-breeding procedures.
To ensure a good environment for you to lay its eggs, you can arrange a quiet and dark place for nesting. Make sure that it’s isolated and away from other chickens, especially roosters.

Once the hen feels comfortable, it would naturally accept the place as her nesting zone. Wait till the hen decides to brood, as it will only happen when she has ample eggs to sit on.
A well-arranged nesting room and the chicken ready to lay its egg are almost half the job done.
Now, when the hen lays its egg, she will be the sole head of raising it. You can have a choice of raising it through an incubator for purchased eggs if you don’t find a broody hen.

Make sure that the hen receives appropriate amounts of food and water regularly. As the brooding process will consume most of her time in the day, she must get all the necessary food within the nesting area itself.
The hen will start to take care of the eggs ensuring to provide them the required temperature and warmth for good development. This happens in 21 days until the eggs hatch.

The mother is relied on to nurture the chicks after they are hatched. She would be much obliged to provide the chicks with proper food and motherly care.
Hope this has helped you get a broader idea regarding the process involved before, during, and after the fertilization of chicken eggs.

Now, as a conclusion let’s know about some beliefs and misconceptions regarding fertilized chicken eggs. I am sure this will clear up any myths, and bring up the facts.

1. Fertilized eggs can give you more nutrients than Unfertilized ones.

You might have seen people going for fertilized eggs for consumption.
However, it is a personal choice on what to opt for. But it hasn’t been proven that fertile eggs can give extra nutrients in comparison to unfertilized eggs.
The only difference is that the fertile eggs have a mix of the male chicken’s sperm and cells that were about to complete the fertilization process.

2. Fertilized eggs have a chick inside

If you have read the above process involved in fertilization, you can simply ignore this myth.
It takes such effort and time to go through the process where a chick is formed inside the egg. A chick cannot right away develop inside an egg after fertilization. The hen has to brood and gives the eggs the right care till it hatches on the 21st day.

3. The red spot story!

We might have noticed a red blood spot in the yolk several times. Well, there’s a famous misconception that it’s a fertilized egg.
that’s outrightly incorrect to reach such a conclusion. Because there’s no actual relation between these blood spots and fertilized eggs. These spots are a result of the cracking of blood vessels or other tissues in the reproductive system.

4. Lighting an egg will tell you if it’s fertilized or not

I have seen people doing crazy things around an egg just to know if it’s fertile. One of them is candling the egg in the dark to see its inner layer.
Well, that’s a good idea, but it will only help if the egg has gone through incubation. That too at least for three days. otherwise, the effort is of no use.
If the egg has been incubated, you can see the embryo developing by lighting around the egg.

5. You can say if an egg will hatch before incubation

This misconception has been prevailing due to various tricks and ways mentioned online to check if an egg can hatch or not before its even incubated.
That’s not possible Unless you have an intent to crack it open.

6. The white stuff in the yolk is an embryo

It’s not at all true that the white stringy thing that you see in the normal egg is an embryo.
They are called chalazae. They help in holding the yolk together from both ends.
You can probably see them thick in fresh eggs, which is easily misconceived as an embryo.

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About the Author

I have been raising farm animals for the past 15 years. I will be sharing my knowledge and what I have learned all these years.

Farm Animals Guide

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