Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Are Hatched. Or, Maybe You Should

As you may or may not know, we raise our own chickens (for the most part), here on the farm.  These chickens serve multiple purposes from providing us with eggs and meat, to extra income from selling pullets (females) , roosters, and extra eggs.

While we don’t mind having the roosters around, they are either sold or butchered, we would like to expand our egg production, and for this you need pullets.  The problem is, you can’t always determine whether the fertilized egg is a pullet.

Or can you?  What if there was a way to weed out the female fertilized eggs from the male fertilized eggs?

Being able to determine the sex of a chicken BEFORE it hatches can save a lot of time and headache, especially since sexing a chick is not the easiest thing in the world.  Even the experts get is wrong from time to time.  We usually just wait a few weeks until their combs come in and we can sort the males from the females.

So, thanks to an article from Mother Earth News, I am conducting an experiment to determine if I can really tell the sex of a chicken by the shape of the egg.  According to J. Mulder and O. Wollan, written in an article posted by Mother Earth News, “If you want your brood to be mostly female, select and incubate only the most nearly oval eggs. Those with a noticeably pointed end produce cockerels. Many of the chicks-to-be you examine, of course (especially the first time you try this idea), will fall into an indeterminate range, so pick only the most clearly oval shapes if you want to hatch future layers.”

Mulder and Wollan swear by this method, but there are those that disagree with these authors.  “The fact is,” says Veronica Waters (of Wellton, Arizona), “that one hen will lay an egg of almost identical shape every day. This shape also differs from one breed to another. Therefore, the egg’s form cannot indicate the sex of the chick it will produce. If it did, all the layings of a particular fowl—or of a particular breed or strain—would be of one sex. Common sense, or any familiarity with chickens, will tell you that this is not so.”

Will this work?  Really the only way to know for sure is to sex the chicks once they are hatched.  These littles were just hatched (two more are coming).  I haven’t sexed them yet, but I will let you know how this little experiment fares.



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