MadSci Network: Agricultural Sciences

Re: Why do chickens lay unfertilized eggs?

Date: Wed Sep 15 14:18:29 1999
Posted By: Joe Regenstein, Faculty, Food Science
Area of science: Agricultural Sciences
ID: 935693070.Ag

The chicken normally responds to light -- the trigger for egg laying is 
increasing light.  Commercial we fool her by keeping a continuous even 
lighting.  We also take away her eggs so she never has a "clutch" to set 
on. So she keeps trying. Also she is able to store sperm for a relatively 
long time.  Thus, in the wild she would lay 6-10 eggs a year and quit.

On a speculative plane -- I would assume that birds that flock together, so 
males are generally relatively abundant, might find this mechanism 

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