How Exactly Do Hens Lay Eggs Without Mating?

Everybody knows that chickens lay eggs. You know that, I know that, absolutely everyone knows that. For most of us, that’s why we got chickens in the first place. And for beginning chicken keepers, one of the biggest fears is accidentally cracking open an egg that’s been fertilized.

broody hen on nest
Broody chicken on nest. Also missing feathers on back from too many roosters.

Usually, seasoned keepers will correct them and remind them that hens will lay eggs even if they haven’t been fertilized by a rooster. It’s true, but do you ever stop to think about that? How exactly do hens lay eggs without mating?

Hens can lay eggs without mating because their ovaries start producing them once they are sexually mature, no mating required. No rooster is required for fertilization in any case, and it won’t affect a hen’s egg production.

Well, that’s good news for people who don’t want noisy, aggressive roosters in their flocks. You can have a flock consisting of nothing but hens, and enjoy an uninterrupted and continual supply of eggs with no worries about fertilization or unexpected additions.

The reproductive life of chickens is fascinating stuff, but beyond that, it’s something you need to know about if you’re going to take good care of them. Keep reading and I’ll tell you absolutely everything you need to know below.

Will Wild Chickens Lay Eggs Without Mating, Too?

Yes, they will. This is worth clearing up, because some folks believe that only domestic chickens are the ones that will lay eggs without having had a mate.

Wild chickens, be they feral or the actual ancestral species of all of our domestic breeds (the red jungle fowl of Asia) will lay unfertilized eggs the same as our birds.

They tend to lay them at a slower rate, but they will still lay them once they’re sexually mature, with or without a mate.

Are Unfertilized Eggs Different from Fertilized Ones?

Yes and no. Outwardly, by appearances in all other standards, unfertilized and fertilized eggs are completely indistinguishable, at least on the outside. They’ll be the same color, size, shape, and texture- assuming all other things concerning the health of the hen are equal at the time of laying.

Internally, though, they’re quite different with the yolk inside the egg quickly developing into a chick embryo, and then maturing into a recognizable chick that is ready for pipping at about 3 weeks’ time.

This development is actually visible if you know how to candle an egg, and is easily done; it is an important part of raising eggs yourself in an incubator.

Will Hens Lay Eggs Constantly?

Yes, they will, assuming they’re young enough and in good health. Most hens lay on a schedule based on how many eggs they are expected to produce a year.

For super-egg producers like Australorps that can crank out in excess of 325 eggs while in their prime, these girls will usually put out about an egg a day or a little less. Call it one every 24 to 28 hours.

Other breeds that are far less productive might only lay an egg every few days, maybe just 3 a week or even less, and a few slowpokes only 1 egg every nine days or so!

However, there are times when a hen will stop laying, either instinctively or as a result of circumstances concerning her environment or health. We’ll talk more about those in the next section…

1 thought on “How Exactly Do Hens Lay Eggs Without Mating?”

  1. How Exactly Do Hens Lay Eggs Without Mating?

    Same way Human Females do. A Human Female will “drop an egg” about every 30 days until the “factory” runs dry. No Male is necessary. You want a baby (chicken or human)…..add a Male to the mix.

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