Unlike most birds, why can chickens continuously produce infertile eggs?


So, I guess(?), duck and quail eggs are available (but people actively breed both and would have eggs….) but I know that turkeys and geese have a breeding season. Also, wild birds only lay fertile eggs in season to reproduce.

In: 8

Birds and snakes do the same, their estrous cycles are just much longer than a chicken, duck, or quail so it’s not useful to farm them for their eggs.

Because when chickens were domesticated they had continuous food, rather than having to wait for blooming seasons to eat and repopulate, so they just keep popping out eggs

It’s their chicken period. Humans do it, geese do it. It’s not unusual. Chickens just do it more often.

They have been bred to do so. They are so-called “indeterminate layers”, they will continue laying eggs until their clutch is complete. This in contrast to species that are “determinate layers”, which lay a fixed number of eggs. If eggs are removed from the clutches the hens want to form, the hens just continue laying. Obviously, in nature they wouldn’t be able to lay eggs for month after month, here breeding comes into play. EDIT: The reason eggs are unfertilized is because no rooster is present. The hen starts producing the egg not knowing whether it will be fertilized and needs to lay the egg once formed.

Chickens lay one or sometimes more unfertilized or fertilized eggs a day until they have collected a clutch. If you continually collect eggs daily they will continually lay eggs because their goal is to have a clutch. A clutch usually is about a dozen eggs / why a dozen eggs became a standard. It’s a quirk of nature where humans manipulate the situation. Like how milking cows are always kept pregnant to keep producing milk.

Other birds do still lay infertile eggs- my parakeet recently went through her laying period and gave me roughly 7 eggs over the span of a couple months.

Chickens have been domesticated for longer than ducks or geese. They have been selectively bred for egg laying, so that they lay a lot more eggs than they would ever need to do in the wild. Domestic ducks and geese also lay more eggs than wild equivalents, but they haven’t had as much time for the extreme genetic change of chickens.