[Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


Pasture
Illinois Livestock Trail

Pasture > General

QUESTION
How does an egg get fertilized? Basically, how do chickens have sex? Why do hens lay eggs that are unfertilized?


ANSWER

Audrey:

An egg (yolk) is fertilized from the sperm of the rooster. After the rooster inseminates the hen, the sperm penetrate the germinal disk on a yolk before it travels down the oviduct and is laid. This process takes about 25 to 26 hours. Once the egg is laid, it can be placed in an incubator and allowed to incubate for 21 days until the chick hatches. Once an immature pullet reaches the age of 17 to 18 weeks, she becomes reproductively active in which she starts to lay eggs. She will lay infertile eggs for about 12 months before she goes into a molt and stops laying hens. The eggs are infertile, but would become fertile if the rooster inseminates her.

Ken Koelkebeck Extension Specialist, Poultry







« Back to Pasture

top