What is the Gestation Period for Chickens?
As a General Guide, the gestation period for chickens is 20-21 days. This is the period of time it takes for a fertilized egg to hatch a chick after being incubated in the nest or from an incubator. Depending on Breed some hens can lay 5-7 days per week. A male Rooster is needed for producing fertile eggs. The Hen will Feed and Guard the chicks as they mature.
What is the Gestation Period for a Chicken? Given that the gestation period of a chicken differs from the rest of the animals, we are going to discuss today how long a chicken takes to hatch its eggs, how you can know when a chicken’s egg is fertile, and how to be candle fertile chicken eggs before incubation.
But before we get into that, let’s first have a look at what gestation is. What is the Chickens Gestation Period?
Fertile chicken eggs often hatch at the end of their incubation period, which always lasts for about 21 days.
What is Chicken Gestation?
The gestation word is coined from the Latin phrase “gestare” which means “to carry or to bear”. As such, the gestation period can be defined as the duration of fertile development from the time of conception, to the birth or the total pregnancy period.
In the case of humans (women), the complete gestation period is often calculated at about 37 weeks (259 days) to 42 weeks (293 days), or typically 9 months.
How Long Does it take a Chicken Egg to Hatch?
If you’re about to start poultry, there are some things you need to know about chickens. And one of such vital information is on knowing how long it takes for them to hatch their egg so that you won’t start acting paranoid if it takes longer or shorter. Fertile chicken eggs often hatch at the end of their incubation period, which always lasts for about 21 days.
And given that chicks only start growing when incubation begins, all chicks hatch within a day or two of each other, even though they might have been laid over a period of two weeks or so.
As such, the notion that you need a rooster in order to get eggs is nothing but a misconception. This is because you only need a rooster if you want fertilized chicken eggs, that’s all.
How to Know When a chicken Egg is Fertile
The only way to find out if an egg is fertile is if you break it open. Thus, out of a number of eggs that were laid at the same time, you can randomly choose two of them, and carefully break it open.
When you open them, observe the yolk, as that will give you a clue if the fertility is almost near.
Whatever you find in that egg is probably the same thing as the rest of the eggs. So, how do you know if an egg is fertile or not?
If an egg is infertile, you’ll notice a small white/grey dot somewhere on the yolk, but if it is fertile, there will be a darkish circle around the dot, which to a greater extent often looks like a bull’s eye.
Candling Fertile Chicken Eggs During Incubation
Once fertilized chicken eggs have been placed in an incubator, or under a brooding hen for at least a period of about three or four days, you are at liberty to candle the eggs to see if they’ve started developing.
In order to do this, you can make use of the cardboard roll that you find at the center of every toilet tissue.
Once you have the cylindrical cardboard in hand, just place the egg on one end of it, and then using a powerful light source(torch), shine the light in, through the other end of the cardboard.
And of course, you should do this in a dark room, or in your closet in order to have a better view when the light is shone.
If the eggs are developing, you will at this point notice some veining, and if you candle the eggs in their development stage later on, you’ll be able to see the baby chicken forming inside the egg.
However, if it gets to the seventh day and you still can’t find any signs of chick development, it’d be wise to discard such an egg especially if you are using an incubator.
You need to do this because eggs that don’t develop within the seven days can burst on their own if you leave them inside the incubator. And I don’t have to tell remind you of what kind of mess that would cause, let alone the obnoxious odor it will produce.
Verdict – What is the Gestation Period for Chickens
A lot of people who raise chickens often use a rooster so that they can get fertilized chicken eggs to hatch. However, after making use of a rooster, you can be rest assured that once you’re done receiving your first batch of hatch eggs, you’re going to be thoroughly hooked.
So, if you’re asked how long it takes for fertilized chicken eggs to hatch? The answer to that is 21 days, even though you have to bear in mind that this can differ, depending on a number of circumstances.
But overall, a greater percentage of fertile chicken eggs, hatched out by a hen always take 21 days before those adorable little chicks are welcomed into this world.
Nevertheless, other than this natural method, if you’re using an incubator to hatch your fertilized chicken eggs, they can sometimes hatch between a day, two, or even take a few days, but never up to 21 days.
A lot of things could affect this delay such as the temperature and humidity, which have been known to play a huge role in the egg hatching process.
For instance, if the temperature is higher than what it used to be, natural eggs could hatch on the nineteenth or twentieth day. And if the temperature reduces more than how it used to be, it could cause further delay to the hatching of the chicken’s eggs, as some could take up to 23, 24, or in some cases 25 days, opposed to the usual 21 days.
Another thing you have to understand is that while fertilized chicken eggs traditionally take exactly 21 days for it to hatch, a good number of duck eggs, except the Muscovy duck’s eggs, take 28 days to hatch if the temperature is low. And when the temperature is normal or high, the Muscovy duck’s eggs take up to 35 days for it to hatch.
Gestation Table for Farm Animals
|Farm Animals||Days of Gestation||Lifespan - Years|
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In a nutshell, if you’re about to go into poultry, I’d advise that you hatch out fertilized chicken eggs because they are often very rewarding. It could be so rewarding that the number of chickens in your poultry could grow in numbers, beyond your expectations.
What are the Stages of Embryo Development in the Chicken Gestation Cycle?
The stages are;
- The first stage is when the cells of the embryo divide to form two cells.
- The second stage is when the cells divide to form four cells.
- The third stage is when the cells divide to form eight cells.
- The fourth stage is when the cells begin to differentiate and take on specific functions.
- The fifth stage is when the embryo grows and develops into a fetus.
The final stage is when the fetus matures and prepares for birth. Chickens typically take 21 days to hatch, though this can vary depending on the breed of chicken. Commercial chicken hatcheries typically use artificial incubation methods to speed up the process and increase hatch rates.
Final Thoughts – What Is the Gestation Period for Chickens?
Chickens have a gestation period of 21 days. This means that from the time a chicken lays an egg, it will take 21 days for that egg to hatch.
During this time, the chicken will turn the egg several times each day to ensure that the embryo inside is properly rotated and that the yolk does not stick to the shell. At around day 18, the chicken will start to make a small hole in the egg called an internal pip.
This hole will allow the chick to breathe and begin absorbing nutrients from the egg yolk. On day 21, the chick will use its internal pip to make a larger hole in the eggshell and emerge.
Once it has hatched, the chick will be covered in downy feathers and able to walk and feed itself. However, it will take several weeks for the chick to fully develop its adult plumage.