For those who’re new to rearing chickens, there will usually be a certain amount of confusion regarding the hatching process of an egg. No, you don’t actually need a rooster for the hens to start laying eggs but if you want them to hatch, you do need a rooster for the fertilization process. In short, if you don’t plan on hatching the eggs to add more chicks into your flock, DON’T get a rooster because it wouldn’t lay any eggs for you.
Hatching The Egg
So, how do you tell whether an egg is already fertilized? Unfortunately, you can’t tell for sure without taking a look at the inside, and that means cracking some of your eggs open. To do this, randomly pick out 2 or 3 of your entire collection of eggs and crack them open. If the egg is infertile, you should see a white or greyish dot on the yolk. On the other hand, if it’s a fertile egg, there should be a dark circle surrounding that particular dot. If 2 or 3 of your eggs show similar patterns, that should give you a fairly good idea on whether the majority of your eggs are fertilized or not.
Incubating The Eggs
Once you determined that they are indeed fertilized, you will have to get a hen to incubate it for about 3-4 days. Just place the eggs back into the coop and the hens will usually do that automatically for you. Alternatively, for a more consistent approach, you could invest in an incubating device for this purpose.
You could check the progress of the incubation on the second day or third day by placing the egg right in front of your eyes and shining a torchlight from the opposite end of it in the direction of your eyes. All of this should be done in a dark room to enhance the clarity of the image. You should see a small amount of veins and occasionally, you might even see the chick actually forming inside the egg already.
If you do not see signs of any development within the egg after a week of incubation, you might want to discard the egg because it most likely has not developed properly. And don’t you even consider consuming such eggs! They would have gone bad and will emit an extremely foul smell when cracked open.
How Long Does It Take For A Chicken Egg To Hatch?
It usually takes 21 days from the first day you start incubating it before it will finally hatch. Of course, once in a while, this process may be quickened or delayed by 2-3 days at most so don’t panic if it doesn’t meet the timing perfectly!
Watching a baby chick hatch out from an egg is one of the most wonderful natural phenomenons in the world. You could watch this video if you don’t plan on hatching an egg yourself, but otherwise save the experience for a live version. It’s a lot more awe inspiring!
I’d suggest that you try doing it at least once even if you don’t plan on doing this on a long term basis!