Explained: can chickens lay eggs if there’s no rooster in your coop?

chicken eggs rooster

Do you really need a rooster if you want to build a chicken coop for the eggs?

Are you thinking of buying chickens so they can lay eggs for you? Then you might have wondered whether you need a rooster or not. Find out if you need a rooster in your chicken coop when you just want to harvest eggs.


Female chickens, also known as hens, are the ones laying the eggs. You probably knew this already. But did you know that hens can actually lay eggs without needing a rooster? If there is not a rooster present to fertilize the eggs, a hen will just lay an unfertilized egg. And that means that the egg will be an egg (and just as delicious), the only difference is that it could never actually hatch into a chick.


Let’s get into a little chicken anatomy! Hens are born with two ovaries. One of those will eventually shrink and won’t function anymore. The other is solely responsible for egg production. And a chicken’s ovary works fast. They can produce an egg within 24 to 28 hours. The yolk is first created, in the ovary, and then travels to the oviduct.

If there is a rooster in your chicken coop, this is the part where fertilization takes place. If not, the yolk will travel further down into the magnum. That is where the egg white will form around it. This whole process only takes three hours. After this, the egg travels on and the shell is formed around it and the egg can settle in the uterus. That is where it will stay for eighteen to twenty-four hours. The shell will get harder and eventually, the chicken will push out the egg.


If you have a rooster in your coop, you might want to know what it means when an egg is fertilized. There isn’t really a difference in taste or nutrients. And if you make sure to frequently collect eggs, there won’t really be a chance of you finding a developed chick in your egg. It takes about twenty-one days for a chick to hatch from an egg. So, if you collect your eggs every other day, you should be fine. If you want to make sure that you’re not cracking open an egg with a chick inside of it, you can hold it up against a bright light (this is called candling). That way, you might be able to spot the embryo.

And if you really don’t want to risk eating fertilized eggs, then keep the rooster out of the coop!

Read more: Find out: how do you know if your eggs have gone bad?

Source: The Spruce | Image: Unsplash, Thomas Iversen