Can you eat fertilized chicken eggs?

Have you heard anyone ever talk about whether or not you can eat fertilized chicken eggs?

I hadn’t heard of this until just recently. It never occurred to me that someone wouldn’t want to eat fertilized chicken eggs, or that they had even considered it one way or the other.

Eggs on the counter ready to cook.
Our fertilized eggs collected daily.

Let me start by telling you, yes, you can eat fertilized chicken eggs. They are the same in nutrition and taste as unfertilized eggs.

Is there a chick in that fertilized egg?

While chickens can have eggs without a rooster. You need a rooster in order to have chicks. But having chicks entails more than just a rooster.

A fertilized chicken egg is only a potential for a chick. The embryo won’t even begin to make any changes for about a week after it’s laid and only if certain conditions are perfect.

In order for a chick to form and eventually hatch, an egg must be brooded, either by the hen or in an electric brooder, at a consistent temperature and humidity level with regular movement for about 21 days.

Cracked egg with hash marks inside marking the days to hatching.
Image by Joern Moock from Pixabay

All chicken farmers I know collect their eggs daily. Most wash them and then refrigerate them, if they sell them, which will also stop any development of the embryo.

If you buy eggs from the grocery store however, you can rest assured they are not fertilized. The chickens that lay eggs for the grocery stores never come in contact with roosters.

Most chicken owners in town will not have roosters either. As great as they are for protecting the flock, they are loud and not a great addition to a quiet neighborhood

…at dawn …

…on a weekend.

So, the short answer is yes, you can eat fertilized eggs without worry of harming a chick.

We hope this helps.

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