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MM 47

Egg Hatching Myths

by | Mar 23, 2021 | Meyer Moment

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about egg hatching myths. As many chicken breeds as there are in the world, there are just as many theories about hatching eggs. Hatching techniques can vary between incubator types and any experienced hatcher will tell you that every hatch experience is unique. For that, the promise of more eggs, and more females are usually the goal of any hatch. But with all of the information out there, it can be hard to determine what is actually true or just a myth.

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Hey everyone! Welcome back to The Coop with Meyer Hatchery – where we talk all things poultry in hopes of inspiring crazy chicken keepers and educating future flock owners. Each week we like to take a Meyer Moment to cover relevant happenings. 

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about egg hatching myths. As many chicken breeds as there are in the world, there are just as many theories about hatching eggs. Hatching techniques can vary between incubator types and any experienced hatcher will tell you that every hatch experience is unique. For that, the promise of more eggs, and more females are usually the goal of any hatch. But with all of the information out there, it can be hard to determine what is actually true or just a myth.

A popular theory is that the shape of the egg affects the gender of the hatching chick. Some say that pointy eggs will hatch males and rounded eggs will hatch females. Unfortunately, there is no scientific basis for this theory. Each hen will usually lay eggs of roughly the same shape, and some hens do carry more female embryos, which may be where the theory comes from. 

Having a breeder flock requires a delicate ratio of hens and roosters, but how can you really know if an egg is fertilized before spending time incubating it? The short answer is, you can’t. The only surefire way to know if an egg is fertilized is to crack it open and check for a small, whitish “bullseye” area within the yolk, versus just a small, plain milky spot in unfertilized eggs. Of course, cracking open an egg makes it impossible to incubate. So the truth is, the only way to know an egg is fertilized is to begin incubation and check for development around 7-14 days. 

It’s nearing hatch day, and you are certain you saw an egg shake or you heard a small peep from within the egg. Can it be? Yes!  Around days 18-21, the chicks are running out of room and they are active! The chicks within the eggs are communicating with each other and the first chick hatching will clumsily knock around the other eggs, signaling to the others that their birthday is near! In the natural brooding process of a mother hen, she will gently purr and cluck to her chicks still within their egg, giving them their first instruction on how to communicate. 

Chicks need some space within their egg to grow and breathe, so that is why it is true that you shouldn’t try to hatch small pullet eggs. Pullet eggs are the eggs laid by hens at the very beginning of their laying cycle. As the egg size increases within a few weeks, the chick that grows within the egg has a better chance of fully developing and hatching successfully. 

While each hatch is unique, how a chick escapes from its egg is not! No matter what, the chick will make a hole in the egg, called pipping, and continue to crack the egg in a counterclockwise direction. The chick has a tiny, thorn-like projection at the very tip of its beak that helps them crack the egg. This is called an egg tooth and falls off very shortly after hatching.

We hope you enjoyed this Meyer Moment about egg hatching myths and that this info is helpful as you enjoy your own hatching experience.                     

Enjoy the rest of your week and as always, thank you for listening to The Coop!

Hosts & Guests

Kendra + Jeff
From Meyer Hatchery

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