As a chicken owner, you will need to make a decision about how many birds you want to keep in your flock and what type of birds will best suit your needs. Some chicken owners choose to own exclusively hens but others think a rooster is a beneficial addition to the flock.
Hens and Eggs
Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether or not they are being kept in the company of a rooster. Your laying hen's body is naturally intended to produce an egg once every 24 to 27 hours and it will form the egg regardless of whether the egg is actively fertilized during its formation.
Eggs form inside your hen's body when her ovary releases the egg yolk into the oviduct. If a rooster has access to your hen and chooses to mate with her, the egg will be fertilized when it is traveling through the oviduct. The egg also will develop the egg white and eggshell form while the egg is traveling through the oviduct.
The Fertilized Egg
Your hen's eggs will be edible regardless of whether it has been fertilized. The only reason you would need a rooster is if you want your eggs to be able to hatch into chicks. A broody hen can sit on fertilized eggs until they hatch or the eggs can be placed in an incubator and cared for artificially until they hatch.
Making the Decision to Get a Rooster
Roosters have a reputation for being aggressive and noisy. These behaviors can make them a bit of a challenge for new chicken owners or those who live in a residential area where a rooster's antics can cause problems with the neighbors. Before you make the decision whether or not to get a rooster, you should consider whether a rooster fits into your flock.
- Enchanted Learning: Egg and Embryo Development
- Backyard Chickens: The Frequent Asked Questions of Raising Chickens
- The State of Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Incubation - Chickens and Other Species
- Old Farmers Almanac: Gestation and Mating Tables
- The Chicken Vet: Chicks
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.