Posted by: wendyquest | October 4, 2011

Raising chickens – All About Eggs



All About Eggs…

A female chicken (a hen) can start to lay eggs around 5 or 6 months old.

Females can lay eggs every 1-3 days, depending on the breed. Production decreases as the hen gets older. Her peak years are between 1 and 4. Chickens can live over 8 years.

A female can lay (unfertilized) eggs without a rooster. Fertilized eggs will turn into baby chicks if kept warm.

Different breeds produce different colored eggs. We will explore this further when we analyze each breed.

Inside the hen, a oocyte or yolk is formed during ovulation. The yolk then moves down the oviduct inside the hen, gets covered with the vitelline membrane, get covered with egg-white or albumin, and eventually, just before it is laid, a hard shell of calcite forms around it to protect the egg during laying.

If the egg was fertilized and kept warm, the baby chick inside actually eats the yolk while it grows. The chick incubates inside the egg for 21 days and then it pecks its way out of the shell to hatch.

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