It’s not as crazy of a question as you may think, I’ve heard it asked a few times. The answer is always the same though...
Can male chickens lay eggs? No, it’s not physically or anatomically possible for a male chicken to lay an egg. Hens (female chickens) lay eggs, and roosters (male chickens) fertilize eggs.
Can a Rooster Lay an Egg?
No, nope, not a chance, no way, absolutely not...I think you get the message.
Yet, every now and then I come across someone who is convinced their rooster laid an egg. They are absolutely sure of it.
But how can this be possible?
Well, the facts are that it’s not possible. And, I’ve always been able to explain what really must have happened.
You see, in each of the cases where I’ve spoken to the owner, they also had hens in their flock.
The reasons why they were convinced their rooster laid the egg were because:
- The rooster was the only chicken near the egg when they found it
- Their hens are pullets, which is the name for young hens that aren’t laying yet
- The egg was much smaller than the eggs their hens lay
There are some simple explanations for each of the reasons above.
First of all, just because you found a rooster near an egg, it doesn’t mean he laid it. It’s not uncommon for hens to lay an egg then abandon it. Just as it’s not uncommon for a rooster to then be found near it.
The second answer is that pullets become point-of-lay hens, then fully mature hens, all within the space of a few days or weeks sometimes.
Your hens have to start laying at some point. The age can vary depending on the breed, their environment, time of year, and more.
If you’re assuming it couldn’t have been your hens because you were told they wouldn’t lay yet, it simply must have been one of them.
The final explanation is that hens that are first laying eggs will often lay small eggs. This can also happen on occasion with mature hens. It’s called a fart egg or a fairy egg.
What Is a Rooster Egg (Fairy Egg)?
To further complicate matters, the term “rooster egg” is used to describe an egg that’s missing the yolk.
This phenomenon is also called a fairy egg, wind egg, or witch egg.
Fairy eggs are typically much smaller than a normal egg. They typically occur when something disturbs a hen’s reproductive cycle. Although a hen can also lay a rooster egg when she first starts laying.
What Is a Fart Egg?
A fart egg is also a tiny egg. The difference between this a rooster egg I explained above is that fart eggs will typically have a yolk.
They also tend to be darker in color as they spend more time in a hen’s shell gland pouch, and as a result, have more pigment.
It’s nothing to be alarmed about if you see a tiny egg in a nesting box from time-to-time. If it’s becoming a common occurrence, however, it’s an issue you will need to investigate.
I’m willing to bet that smaller and unusual sized eggs have been blamed on a rooster on more than one occasion!
How Do Chickens Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?
Yes, they can. You don’t need a rooster in your flock for your hens to lay eggs.
Chickens will naturally start to lay eggs when they’re old enough. They need good nutrition, water, and sunlight to produce eggs, but not a rooster.
It’s actually light that first stimulates a chicken to start producing an egg. It takes around 26 hours from the point of when a chicken first starts creating an egg to when it pops out.
This is why chickens can typically lay around 5 eggs a week. It takes slightly longer than a 24 hour period, so they can’t reliably lay an egg every day.
If you have a rooster in your flock there is a good chance that he will mate with your hens. This results in fertilized eggs, which are fine to eat as you would unfertilized eggs.
Should You Keep a Rooster in Your Flock?
This is a question a lot of backyard flock owners have. As well as; does a flock need a rooster? Are hens happier and safer with a rooster?
It’s up to you if you have a rooster or not. The basic pros and cons are:
Reasons to have a rooster in your flock:
- They help protect your flock from predators and other possible threats
- They bring a natural “balance” to a flock
- They have a lot of personality and are fun to keep (in my opinion)
There are some drawbacks, however:
- They make a lot of noise, often early in the morning
- They can be aggressive and territorial
- They can harm or harass hens
Adding a rooster to your flock is something you should think about seriously. As well as checking it’s legal with your local zoning laws, a lot of areas won’t allow you to keep one due to the noise.
They don’t like to live alone, so separating one isn’t ideal if you make a mistake. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to send one off to slaughter just because you didn’t think it through either.
Related content - How long do roosters live?
In Summary - Can Male Chickens Lay Eggs?
No, male chickens which are called roosters cannot lay eggs.
Much like males in other species, they don’t possess the body parts needed to produce eggs.
If you think your rooster has laid an egg, I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you but you’re mistaken. There will be another explanation, it’s just physically impossible.