Chickens are one of the most populated species of bird on earth, and that’s probably because humans find them so useful. They can easily be kept out on a farm or even in a person’s backyard. With the right non-GMO chicken feed, these old hens provide lots of scrumptious eggs and lean meat to keep people healthy and strong. But what’s the journey look like from egg to chicken parm?
What Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg?
This questions has baffled even the most brilliant minds for quite a few years now. Luckily for all those who ponder and search tirelessly for clues, we have the answer: Who cares? Chicken and eggs are delicious! You’re feeling satisfied with our philosophical genius, we understand.
What we do know is that hens start laying eggs around the age of six months. If there aren’t any roosters around to mate with, these eggs won’t produce any chicks, but will become a hefty source of protein for people. The unfertilized eggs are made up of several things, but the most commonly discussed are the yolk and the egg white, also known as the albumen. The laying hens can actually eat the shells of their own eggs to gain more calcium, which goes toward the development of new eggs.
Once a hen lays an egg, she usually produces another in about 24 hours. This goes on at a steady pace for roughly about four years.
An Egg Becomes A Chick
When there is a rooster around, however, a hen can choose to mate with him, and together they create a fertilized egg. Over the course of a few days, the hen will collect her eggs into a nest where she will keep the developing babies warm as they develop for the next 21 days. By day two of the incubation process, a chick has formed blood vessels which allow it to draw in nutrients from the yolk. By 10 days gestation, the young chicken has many essential parts including a beak, eyes, wings, and even starts to grow feathers.
After 20 days in the egg, the baby chick is starting to run out of space. It will peck at the shell until it creates an opening, and then exhausted, it will rest for awhile. Once is has regained some strength and energy, the chick will continue pecking away at the top of the shell until it creates a lid that can be popped off. The process of coming into the world can take anywhere from a few hours to an entire day for these little fuzzballs.
The Cycle Begins Again
At first, the mother hen takes her chicks under her wing—literally. She keeps them close to keep them warm and teaches them how to eat and drink. It only takes a few weeks before the chicks can be independent and fend for themselves. Broilers can hit the dinner table anywhere between the ages of two to six months depending on the breed and the desired weight.
At the age of six months, however, the females become capable of laying eggs and the males become capable of fertilizing them—the process begins anew.