|If you want to incubate chicken eggs and hatch your own chicks, then you will need to know whether or not your chicken egg is fertile.
When we first decided to hatch our own eggs, we wanted to make sure that our eggs would be good.
So, how do you know if your egg is fertile?
We got a trio of Jubilee Orpingtons as our first breeding chickens. So, once we figured out how often our chickens would lay, we decided to try it out.
We also ordered an incubator and all the chicken hatching supplies we needed. So then all we needed was fertilized eggs! We were waiting (impatiently) for our first eggs from the Orpingtons and we finally got one.
Then we thought, great, now how do we know if this chicken's eggs are fertile?
You can always just take the chance and plug them into the incubator, wait a few days and then try candling. But, who wants to wait?!
How to tell if a chicken egg is fertile
You will have to sacrifice at least one potentially fertile egg for this experiment. But, the payoff is you will know that your rooster is doing his rooster thing (do rooster lay eggs?) properly and your eggs should produce chicks.
The best way to tell is to crack the egg open and look for a "bullseye". The bullseye is actually called a blastoderm.
Even an unfertilized egg will have a white spot in it (which is actually a blastodisc). In the unfertilized egg, the white area is more of an irregular shaped area whereas in the fertilized egg it is a more circular defined area with a bullseye around it.
When we brought in our first Orpington egg and we eagerly cracked it open into a bowl.
We couldn't see anything at first in the yolk, so we had to carefully turn the yolk over with a spoon. Luckily, we did find a bullseye!
If you look closely at the yolk above (toward the middle right) you can see a light bullseye. (It is difficult to get a good picture).
Next step is incubating and then hatching!
After you know your chicken eggs are fertilize, you can spend the next few days collecting eggs and then set them in an incubator (We recommend the Brinsea Eco 20 or the GQF Digital Sportsman Cabinet Incubator 1502).
Now that you know how to tell if your chicken eggs are fertile, make sure you know how to use your incubator and how to raise baby chicks.
We can't wait to have little fluffy baby chicks running around. Do you check to see if your egg is fertile before starting to set eggs?
For more on Raising Chickens