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Home > General > Can You Hatch a Store-Bought Egg? Read Before You Try

Can You Hatch a Store-Bought Egg? Read Before You Try

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You have probably seen viral videos on social media of folks cracking store-bought eggs and finding live chicks. But is this even possible?

Generally, store-bought eggs cannot hatch because they are unfertilized. Most egg farms that supply their produce to local stores raise only female flocks with no roosters. This implies all eggs that end up in the store, whether from quails, ducks, turkeys, or chickens, cannot hatch.

If you want to learn more about why you most likely cannot hatch store-bought eggs, read on!

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Why Won’t Store-Bought Eggs Hatch?

For an egg to be fertilized and capable of hatching, the hen must mate with a rooster. Because roosters are not required for hens to lay eggs, commercial chicken farms typically keep them isolated from the female layer flocks.

Most egg farms won’t even raise roosters because they are likely to be a nuisance. With the absence of roosters, eggs supplied to local stores lack the genetic structure to form embryos or hatch.

The presence of a rooster also means additional costs for a commercial farmer, and, since they won’t contribute towards egg production but be another mouth to feed, they are not used for layer farms. That being said, farms or smallholdings that specialize in fertilized eggs do keep roosters. Fertilized eggs are also sold at a higher price than normal eggs.

brown eggs
Image By: akirEVarga, Pixabay

What Are the Chances of Hatching a Store-Bought Egg?

There have been a few anecdotal claims of store-bought eggs being successfully incubated and hatched. Again, this is quite rare and unlikely but not impossible. While unusual, there is always a slim chance of a rooster straying into the hen wire cages, leading to the production of a fertilized egg.

Odd sexing errors can also happen with flocks at times; however, it is not something that is commonly heard of. There have, however, been instances of misgendered males sent to layer farms that don’t develop properly (they don’t lay eggs, but they don’t mate with females either).

It’s crucial to understand that hens in commercial chicken farms are explicitly raised for laying eggs.

Furthermore, the freshness of an egg plays a crucial role in determining whether it can develop an embryo. Store-bought eggs are typically refrigerated, reducing the odds of even a fertilized egg hatching a chick.

All eggs have a coating on their outer shell called a cuticle. This protects the contents of the egg from bacteria and other pathogens. If an egg is refrigerated, the condensation that occurs once it is removed from the cold environment washes away the cuticle, making it very unlikely that a chick would incubate properly in such an egg (if it were a fertile egg).

The straight answer is that you will likely never crack open a store-bought egg only for a chick to fall out. If an egg is store-bought, there’s almost zero chance of it being fertilized. Even if it is, it was likely not exposed to the right conditions to allow hatching.

kid holding a chicken
Image By: OuçaeRelaxe, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Claims of store-bought eggs hatching are not unheard of. However, they are pretty rare first because egg farms usually supply unfertilized eggs. Second, even a fertile egg won’t hatch independently without incubation. There’s also the fact that these eggs are often refrigerated to keep them fresh.

So, what if you badly want to hatch a chick?

If you have big poultry farming dreams, consider buying your eggs from hatcheries specializing in producing fertile or fertilized eggs. You’ll also need an incubator, plenty of skills to incubate eggs, and significant amounts of patience. Under the right conditions, a fertilized egg can hatch after around 21 days.

Featured Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay

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