It’s best to keep a hen with fertile eggs under her in a separate place, but that’s not always possible. Personally, I like to keep my birds together, so this box is a nice solution. I found this pic somewhere and saved it so I could incorporate the idea in my own coop.
Why is this Box Important?
1. Sometimes other hens can disturb a nest of fertile eggs causing them to break. 2. Other hens may quit laying if they are discouraged to enter the community nest area by a hen with eggs under her. 3. Newly hatched chicks may get injured or even killed by other members of the flock.
I like having the wire top hinged. It’s nice and super easy to move a broody hen from the community nest area and have the option to close the lid as hatch day approaches.
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.