The Fertilization of a Chicken Egg

The Basic Reproduction Process Explained

Silver Laced Polish

As in all animals, the fusion of ovum and a sperm is how fertilization occurs. Then an embryo forms and develops into a new organism. The chicken is no exception; their eggs need to be fertilized in order to develop a chick.

A chicken will begin laying eggs between five and six months of age, until then she is called a pullet. However, climate, seasons, and other various factors do play a significant role in laying cycles.  Certain breed types are also included in the variances of  egg laying, first time or otherwise.  One thing for sure, when a pullet reaches sexual maturity she will lay eggs whether or not there is a rooster present.

Roosters [males] have reproductive organs which produce sperms that are released during mating.  The sperms enter the oviduct of the hen [female] and continues a nearly week long reproductive journey to meet the eggs. The sperms final destination is in the infundibulum. This is where they will wait about a week for the partially formed and unshelled eggs. If there is a yolk, the eggs are fertilized instantly. So, it’s safe to say you can expect fertile eggs seven to ten days after mating.

Note:  It is possible the hen may produce fertile eggs the following week as well.

When hens are in the presence of a rooster there is a way to separate the fertilized eggs from infertile by a technique called candling.  This method uses a bright light source behind the egg to show details through the shell. Fertilized eggs will show a darker yolk on one end, usually when they are one or two days old.  Within two to three days, if incubated, you may actually see indications of a growing embryo.


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Author: amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch

amy elizabeth is a Backyard Chicken-Keeping Advocate & Consultant, Vintage Collector, & Author.

2 thoughts on “The Fertilization of a Chicken Egg”

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful article…so very informative!!! I really did not know how an egg could become fertilized with a shell around it never thinking the egg is fertilized before the shell is actually formed! I must say i was feeling rather dumb about that whole process!

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