Can You Eat Fertilized Chicken Eggs?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating fertilized chicken eggs. In fact, there is a minimal chance of getting a rotten egg in your pan if the eggs have not gone through the incubation process. Surprisingly, incubated eggs are a delicacy in some Asian communities like the Philippines and Vietnam.  For instance, the Philippines eat eggs on the 14th day in the incubator as a gourmet dish.

However, since fertilized eggs start developing from day one in the incubator, it is essential to crack it open and scrutinize the content first before cooking. This article aims at shedding more light on fertilized chicken eggs and whether it is safe to include them in your menu.

Is it Safe to Eat Fertilized Eggs?

As mentioned above, fertilized eggs are safe to eat on condition, they have not been sitting in the incubator for several days. There are only two valid reasons why you should steer away from fertilized eggs. First, a fertilized egg not refrigerated for a long time is a no-go zone. Therefore, keep your eggs in the fridge as soon as you collect them, especially in humid seasons.

On the other hand, if a broody hen sits on the eggs for more than a week, the eggs are likely rotten or not viable for consumption. It would be safe if you collect eggs every day to avoid such disappointments. The best time to do it is early in the morning and late afternoons. You can tell if there is a new egg in the nesting boxes by the cackling noise made by laying hens.

The advantage of collecting your eggs this early is that they are clean and healthy. Also, chickens tend to peck and gulp down egg content if left in the coop for long durations. Do not encourage that lousy habit by collecting the eggs daily.

How Do You Know if Egg is Fertilized or Not?

There are several ways you can use to detect whether your eggs are fertilized. For example, break the egg and check for a tiny white spot on the yolk. This portion is referred to as the germinal disc and forms when the female and male chicken cells combine.

In the incubation, the accumulation of cells continues to grow further to form a chick. You can also confirm fertility through the sinking egg test.

Simply put, place eggs in a container of cold water and observe how they react. If the eggs float, they are probably rotten and not safe for consumption. Another option is candling the eggs from the 9th day in the incubator. Here, you use a strong light source to observe if there is an embryo growing in the egg.

In a fertilized egg, you will notice dark spots around the middle portion. In addition, there are visible spider-like lines around the yolk. For an unfertilized egg, you will only manage to see the yellow yolk with no signs of a growing embryo inside.

Are Backyard Chickens Eggs Fertilized?

You can get fertilized eggs from your backyard flock if there is a cock in the vicinity. However, like any other eggs, confirm their fertility through candling, float test, or cracking it up. It is no surprise that eggs from free-range hens taste better compared to those in coops.

After all, there is an abundance of insects, worms, and grass to graze for backyard chickens. Moreover, you may notice more yellow color in the yolk, an indication of a healthy diet.

Remember that although you may get more nutritious eggs from backyard chickens, they are still at risk of transmitting hazardous ailments such as Salmonella. Cleaning the eggs can minimize the menace, but note that washing thoroughly removes the protective layer that blocks bacteria. For this reason, only spot clean or wipe the eggs if there is any noticeable dirt present.

Are Grocery Store Eggs Fertilized?

Most eggs in grocery stores are probably not fertilized, given that they come from commercial farms. If the farm specializes only in egg production, there is no need to keep roosters around. That is because a healthy hen will lay eggs profusely whether there is a cock or not. However, for fertilized eggs, the rooster and hen must copulate before the laying process.

It is worth pointing out that some states forbid roosters in urban and suburban areas. Without a doubt, this increases the number of unfertilized eggs in the market. All said and done; you will only be certain if eggs sold in grocery shops are fertilized by conducting tests mentioned above.

Can You Refrigerate Fertilized Chicken Eggs?

When kept in ideal conditions, fertilized eggs can survive for up to 24 days in a refrigerator. Hatch-ability tends to decline considerably from the 14 days. Hence, aim at storing fertile eggs under a broody hen or in the incubator. Altogether, if you need to keep eggs before the incubation process, consider a cool room with a steady 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit supply.

Placing fertilized eggs directly in the fridge can affect their hatch-ability immensely. Thus, keep them in an egg carton first before refrigeration for a maximum of seven days if you intend to incubate them later.

Are Fertilized Eggs Healthier?

There is no recorded nutritional disparity between infertile and fertile eggs. You may realize that most eggs in the market are harvested from commercial farms and, therefore, infertile. Amazingly enough, some vendors perform egg tests and remove any fertilized eggs from their commerce.

The main reason is purely business-related because fertilized eggs have a shorter lifespan if kept in the wrong conditions.


Before making that omelet, there is no need to fret whether the eggs are fertilized or not. You see, there is no nutritional or taste difference on both eggs. The only egg taste difference you can notice is between free-range and commercial farm chickens, mainly because of diverse diets.

Still, some communities swear on an added nutritional value on incubated eggs. All in all, consider the nasty smell and oozing substance likely to emerge from a rotten incubated egg.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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