Anyone who decides to start their beginners garden may choose to have chickens. By doing so, you have not only a great source of fresh eggs, but also manure for compost or fertilizing your veggie garden.
One question on many new chicken keepers’ minds is does a hen need a rooster to lay eggs? You may also wonder how long does a chicken live?
Here you can find out much of what you need to know about chickens, hens, and roosters so that you can have a coup and supply of eggs for your home.
Do all chickens lay eggs?
All hens lay eggs. A chicken and hen are the same with hens being female chickens who are laying eggs. We call a hen, which has not yet laid any eggs a pullet.
Nevertheless, the egg size, the color of the shell, and the frequency the chicken lays the eggs differ significantly between the breeds.
What Kind of Chickens Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?
All chickens will lay an egg with no intervention of a rooster. While some individuals have roosters, there is little need to do so, unless you want to breed more.
Some commercial enterprises don’t have a rooster for their many thousands of chickens. You can find many types of chicken that are good layers. Here are some examples:
- Hybrid – lays up to 280 eggs per year of medium size and brown
- Leghorn – lays up to 250 eggs per year of medium size and white
- Rhode Island Red – lays up to 250 eggs per year of medium size and brown
- Sussex – lays up to 250 eggs per year of medium size and from creamy white to brown
- Hamburg – lays up to 200 eggs per year of medium size and a glossy white shell
Do Hens Lay Eggs Better with a Rooster?
If you search how do chickens lay eggs without a rooster, you find, you only need a rooster if you wish to hatch baby chicks. Roosters are vital for fertilizing eggs.
If you wish to increase egg production, feeding your chicken, a healthy diet will have more effect on egg production than a rooster. A rooster does nothing to improve egg laying.
How Does a Rooster Fertilize an Egg?
When you begin to look at how do chickens fertilize eggs, you find it’s not the same as animals, and all they do is lay a fertile egg and those that aren’t.
Once a rooster mates with a hen, then the eggs can be fertilized.
The mating ceremony isn’t like sex, as we understand it. Both sexes, the hen and the rooster, have openings called the cloaca, which are used for multiple functions, and laying eggs, and mating being two of them.
A rooster initiates mating by circling the hen. She crouches and flattens her back. The rooster then mounts the chicken so they can touch cloaca’s (cloacal kiss).
Sperm passes from the rooster in a process that takes a few seconds. Roosters can mate the hen on multiple occasions during the day.
Sperm is then held in the oviduct, and as the yolk leaves the ovary, the sperm joins here, to carry out the fertilization.
After a while, the egg white begins to form, and then over a few hours, the shell starts forming. It can take up to 24 hours for the shell to develop before the hen lays the egg.
Sperm can remain viable inside a hen for almost three weeks. In this time, she can lay fertilized eggs for that period with no further mating. Hens can hold sperm from different roosters.
A fertilized egg won’t develop into baby chicks without certain conditions being met, such as the fertile egg sits at temperatures of 99 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24-hours.
For the chick to form, the egg takes 21 days of incubation, and as the hen sits on the eggs, she is what you call a broody hen. Fertilised eggs don’t always hatch, and before they form, there is no difference in taste.
Chickens live for 5 to 10 years, yet they may only lay eggs for around three of these to any degree. You have the choice to have a never-ending supply of both, and all you need is a chicken and rooster.
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