How Do Farmers Know When There’s a Chicken in the Egg?

How Do Farmers Know When There's a Chicken in the Egg?

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To eat or not to eat your favorite omelet may be out of the question. Right, huh? It is your easiest quick fix. Yet you may have just had it from an egg that surprisingly needed a little bit more time to hatch into a chicken. So how do you really tell if an egg is fertilized or not?

The simplest and oldest way to know when there is a chicken in the egg is to candle the egg.

How do you know if Chicken Eggs are Fertilized?

There are various ways through which you will get to know if the chicken eggs are fertilized. For most of them if not all, you do not even need to crack an egg to confirm.

For an egg to be fertilized, it means a hen and a rooster must have mated before the egg came into play. So it is pretty much a non-issue if your hens are enclosed and you do not have a rooster. It can take a hen between 2 days and 3 weeks after mating with a rooster to lay a fertilized egg. 

Candling the egg is the simplest and oldest way through which you can get to know if your chicken eggs are fertilized. To candle the eggs, you hold them up against a lit candle, a bright light, or a very bright tiny flashlight. You do this so as to see through the shell to the inside of the egg. 

If the egg appears to have dark splotches inside or is entirely opaque, then it is fertilized. Whether you see dark blotches within the egg or not is dependent on its stage of development. A fertilized egg goes through different stages of development until finally a chick is fully formed. In a mixed batch, a fertilized egg appears to be much cloudier than all the other eggs. 

Whereas it is perfectly okay to eat a fertilized egg, you may have just lost on an opportunity to enjoy a chicken over time. As much as a fertilized egg is not a guarantee for hatching into a chick, it has the potential to do so under proper incubation. A fertilized egg can be incubated by a hen or put under an incubator so as to develop into a chick. 

After 3 to 4 days of incubation, a fertilized egg forms a blastoderm. A blastoderm is a white spot on the yolk or a formation of blood spots. When you take a look at the fertilized egg after a few days of incubation, you will see that it has started the formation process. You will see the patterns of the developed red veins spreading throughout the fertilized egg by the fifth day of incubation. 

It is an effective way to check for the formation of the blastodisc in a batch of eggs laid by the same hen. You can check if your eggs are fertilized by looking out for the red veins within the eggs against the light. If you cannot get a certain verdict, take an egg from your batch, crack it and look for the red veins. The presence of the red-like veins is a clear indication that your batch of eggs is fertilized and with proper incubation conditions, they will develop and hatch into chicks. 

A fertilized egg does not necessarily mean there is a chick in the egg. With a rooster for every 10 of your hens, there is a high likelihood that all the laid eggs will be fertilized. A fertilized egg means it has the potential to support an embryo that could grow and develop into a chick given the right conditions. However, it does not mean that there is a chick already in the egg. 

To know if an egg has been fertilized before the chick starts to develop you may need to crack it and check it up. Fertilized eggs are not harmful and do not have blood vessels within them. There is definitely no chick in the formative stages of a fertilized egg. The egg is basically in a state of suspended development. A fertilized egg will remain in the suspended state until the specific temperature conditions necessary for incubation are met. 

For you to know for sure if an egg you served for breakfast is fertilized, you need to take note of keen details on the contents of your egg after breaking it. An egg that is not fertilized has a tiny white spot on the yolk.  It is known as the germinal disc. The germinal disc of a sterile egg is only made up of cells from the hen and it is fully white in color. This is where a chick would start growing if the egg was fertilized.

On the other hand, the germinal disc of a fertilized egg appears different. It looks like it has a slight bull’s-eye or a small white donut. It is a white ring with a clear center. The germinal disc of a fertilized egg is made up of merged cells from the hen and the rooster. These are the cells that will divide and multiply numerously to lead to the development of a chick embryo. 

Like most farmers, to know when there is a chicken in the egg is a delicate balance. It needs to be established with all due diligence. It would only take a fertilized egg just over 24 hours under a hen to start the development process. Knowing that your chicken eggs are fertilized at this point will come in handy for you. 

Knowing your eggs are fertilized is especially helpful when you are seeking to grow the numbers of your chicken. About three days after the eggs have started the development process, you can now keep track of the developing embryo process through candling. You will now be able to see the red blood vessels developing in the egg.

It is absolutely safe to eat a fertile egg laid by a hen and not incubated. As a matter of fact, you may never know the difference unless you pay detailed attention. Since the development process of the fertilized egg requires certain levels of temperature during incubation, the development comes to a halt as soon as you collect your eggs and put them in the refrigerator.