There is no doubt that human beings have been enjoying feasting on eggs and chicken since time immemorial. These tiny birds are the most common ones and also offer the best meat and eggs in comparison to the others, so it is no surprise that everyone loves them. However, have you ever sat to think how eggs become chickens? To many people, it’s a mystery that takes place after about twenty one days. However the processes shown below prove that it is not a mystery for an egg to become a chicken.
First things first, just like it takes a woman for a baby to be born, for an egg to become a chicken, the process cannot take place without a hen. It takes about twenty weeks for a hen to start laying eggs and once it does, there is no turning back. Some lay every day, others twice a week while others do not due to narrow pelvis and many other genetic conditions. However, it is important to understand that a chicken must lay an egg with or without mating hence; egg laying does not rely on the rooster. If that happens then it becomes unfertilized and no embryo development takes place since it only possesses the DNA of the hen but lacks that of the rooster. Nonetheless, if mating takes place then that is when we expect a chick to develop. It takes a poultry farmer to know the difference between the two, but you can also notice it. When you place the egg against light, blood spots usually signify the presence of an embryo which tells you that it is fertilized. When mating takes place once, the hen stores up enough sperms to fertilize up to five eggs. That means a single mating process can give a farmer up to five chicks, which is why you will find many of them keep only a single rooster but many hens.
Just like other female creatures, when a hen is born, it usually holds hundreds of tiny ova in its body. These in poultry terms are referred to as undeveloped yolks. When it matures, one of the yolks is then released into the oviduct and it now begins the process of development. As it goes down the canal, it continues to get much bigger and now becomes surrounded with the albumen and a clear membrane. More often than not, people expect that it has a shell in this stage but that is usually the last thing which happens in the process. Nevertheless, if mating between a hen and a rooster take place, the sperm joins the yolk in the egg laying vent before the albumen and the other parts, such as the clear membrane can join it. The function of the latter is to cushion the embryo as it develops while the yolk offers nutrients and nourishment to it. Once all this is done, the shell now develops and covers the contents and its pigmentation takes place just before the egg is released. There are two channels on the exterior opening of the hen also known as cloaca to ensure that the egg and the waste matter of the chicken do not mix. During the release of the egg, one of the channels is blocked temporarily. Once released, the embryo does not turn into a chicken immediately. Instead it takes about twenty one days for it to become fully grown. During this period, if the hen does not lay on it, the farmer can always incubate it. Therefore once a fertilized egg is released, the entire process now relies on the warmth it gets to grow and not on the hen. That is why it is possible for a farmer or anyone who is planning to keep chickens to buy fertilized eggs and make them chickens through the provision of necessary conditions of growth through incubation. Most female chickens usually lay on their eggs afterwards to provide them with the necessary warmth and stable levels of humidity so they can hatch. That is why if a fertilized egg is put in a refrigerator immediately after release, it cannot make a chick. The whole fertilization process takes about twenty five hours to complete and another three weeks to hatch if provided with the right conditions. A single hen can lay more than five eggs at a time which is a benefit to the keeper. It is a short but worth process at the end of the day.