Is it OK to Hatch Pullet's Eggs?

by Anthony
(Melbourne, Australia)

My light sussex just started laying eggs they are fertile, (have a rooster). Should I wait till the hen is fully grown before I incubate the eggs? Will it effect the size of the chicks if the hen is not fully grown but is laying eggs or are there any other issues with hatching the small eggs produced by a pullet when she first starts laying?

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Oct 13, 2011
pullet eggs
by: Red

You always want your animals in top breeding condition if you want to produce offspring. Top breeding condition means healthy, not thin and not over weight, and mature.
In mammals a less than optimal female could result in birthing complications, lack of milk production, and deformed offspring, (among other things) and even death of the offspring and/or mother.
In poultry the egg from an immature hen (pullet egg) has a slim chance of hatching into a healthy chick. The chick may die in the embryonic stage, it may not be strong enough to pip (break through the egg membrane and shell), or it may develop deformities while in the shell. If the chick does hatch out it may not be able to effectively absorb the yolk sack (all the nutrients it needs for the first 24-48 hours of life). It may develop splayed legs which are nearly impossible to correct, and it may not be strong enough to ward off bacteria.
This is just a brief overview but you get the idea. I personally wait until my birds are 1 year old before I put their eggs in the incubator.
As a side note: I don't know how experienced you are so I will mention this with the assumption that you are a beginner. Having a rooster with your hens does not mean all the eggs are fertile. Some hens won't mate with some roosters and if your rooster is young he may not know what he is doing yet. I suggest you candle your eggs 7 days into incubation. You can find information on candling eggs on the internet or in books, look for pictures that show you how the interior of the egg will look at certain stages of incubation so you have something to compare your eggs to. Happy Hatching!

Sep 24, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank-you Steven French, appreciate it, so you reckon wait a month and it should be fine? Will do!
Cheers Anthony.

Sep 24, 2011
Wait a while
by: Steven French

A good question, I have always avoided using pullet eggs but I am not sure why. Logic would say that if the egg is smaller the chicken would have to be as well and this may result in some problems. Reckon it would be best to avoid the small eggs. Light Sussex don't have real big eggs anyway. Suggest that you wait a month after they have started laying and the eggs should be OK to set from then on.

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