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Guides & How-tos in Tech & Agric

No, Hens Don’t Need Males (Roosters) For Egg Laying!

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chicken eggs facts

One of chicken eggs facts you must know is that egg laying can be achieved without a rooster. You are probably one of those who believe that a female chicken (hen) has to mate with a mature male chicken (rooster) before it can lay eggs at all. Well, that’s one of the things you would have to unlearn before you pass the myth to the next generation. Because it’s not true. All things being equal, a mature hen will lay eggs even if not mated with a male. Yes, you might need some more chicken eggs facts but we’ll start with this.

What then is the rooster for?

As we continue with chicken eggs facts, you might want to ask what the rooster is for. The next question then is… are we talking about just eggs or fertilized eggs? Because that’s where the rooster comes in. A rooster is only needed when the hen is required to lay fertilized eggs that can be hatched into chicks. So, at the maturity / egg laying stage of a hen, if mated by a mature male chicken, then the eggs are fertilized and capable of being hatched into chicks 21-23 days after they are laid. Bottom line is, a hen will lay eggs either ways, but the eggs cannot be fertilized and therefore will not hatch into chicks without mating.

Are Table eggs fertilized?

Chicken Eggs Facts continued.

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I think the question should be where are table eggs sourced from? Most commercial farmers producing table eggs do so by keeping egg laying chickens. This is also done exclusively in most cases, without rearing males in the same flock with the females. Hence, one could come to the conclusion that commercial/table eggs are not fertilized. However, in cases where the layers have access to males (roosters), then we cannot rule out the presence of fertilized eggs in table eggs.

What breed of chickens lay eggs?

This is another question I’ve had to answer when considering chicken eggs facts.

Eggs laying is not a factor of breed but of sex, except we are talking about quantity of eggs in a given time. That is, all healthy female chickens are capable of eggs laying, and will do so when mature. Most breeds reach maturity anytime from 16 weeks of age. They will naturally begin to lay eggs without any male or special diet. However, some breeds are known for egg laying because they lay large amounts of eggs per year. That being said, it is important to add that meat type chickens like broilers also lay eggs. Yes, get this chicken eggs facts now!

Factors that may affect egg laying 

Breed

As said earlier, some breeds of chicken are known to be great for eggs. The common examples of such in Nigeria are Isa Brown and the Black Nera. These chickens have the genetic makeup for egg laying and will do so better than poor egg laying breeds even under the same physical conditions

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Feeding/management

The quality and quantity of feed also affects the egg laying property of a hen. If the feed is furnished with all the nutrient requirements for egg laying, the performance of the chicken is affected positively, and vice versa. For quantity, it is important to note that egg laying is a productive function of a chicken. And before an animal will produce, it’s nutrient requirement for body maintenance must have been met. Hence, if a hen is not well-fed, egg production will drop noticeably and may be paused for a long time. Laying birds also subscribe to the give and take law of nature. And in their case, you must be the first to give.

Diseases

Apart from certain diseases (e.g. EDS and New Castle Disease) that directly influence the egg laying in chickens, most diseases will negatively affect the egg laying activity of a hen. It is very natural for a sick animal to not produce optimally. And this is why poultry farmer try as much as possible to act fast when their laying birds are sick.

Age of the chicken

As said earlier, chickens will enter into the egg laying period of their life anytime from 16 weeks of age. Also, they don’t just start and hit their peak, but will usually attain their peak production in about 3 months after the first egg.

egg laying
NOTE: In this sample, the flock was down with a disease sometime around the third month of production and so, they couldn’t reach their peak until later in the 8th month. Farmers don’t want this, as it has a very bad impact on their profit margin.

If a hen lays fertilized eggs for hatching, then the egg will go through this process under the appropriate conditions before chicks emerge.

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So, I hope you now have a better understanding of why chickens will lay eggs and the role of a male in the life of a hen.

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