Can a refrigerated egg hatch?

Yes!! We are proud to present two (so far) chicks from eggs that were refrigerated below 40F for two weeks!! My hen was laying daily in the same spot and I kept taking her eggs inside (to eat, ewwww) and one day she decided to go broody anyway (even though she’s not a broody breed, she’s a Dark Cornish). So, sans-eggs, she was going broody. I knew her eggs couldn’t hatch (unless Mr. Guinea really could fertilize a chicken egg, but we’ll leave that to another experiment…) so I grabbed a few from a carton of eggs from a friend who does have a rooster. I guess it’s been 22 days or so, because here they are!

And DON’T mess with MOMMA!!! (No, really, she’s a sweetie, but doesn’t look that way in this photo. Hehe!


9 thoughts on “Can a refrigerated egg hatch?

  1. Nancy

    Same thing happened to me when my hen first went broody in March. I think I put 7 or 8 eggs that were refrigerated at least a week back under her and she hatched them all! They were an assortment of other hens eggs as well.


    1. Spirited Rose Dairy

      Store bought eggs cannot be hatched. Commercial laying hens are raised in a confined environment and there are no roosters around to fertilize the egg! I would encourage you to buy some eggs from a farm or farmers market if you would like to try incubating eggs. 🙂
      My eggs (home eggs) were less than 40 degrees and still hatched. I think temperature is relative, as long as you are “close” to the target!


      1. Spirited Rose Dairy

        Kerie, I think I put three eggs under her and two hatched, but it might have just been the two eggs… Was a few years ago when this took place. Memories fail. 🙂


  2. Are you saying that you had some refrigerated eggs (fertilized but intended for eating) and that you were able to get them to hatch once they were tended to by mother hen at her temp and care??? Wow, I would have thought the time delay would have killed all chances of developing. Or did I miss something in your message??


    1. Spirited Rose Dairy

      Yes, that is what I am saying. I had not intended to hatch chicks. We’re moving in a couple months anyway! LOL But my hen was just determined to set. So I looked under her and she had NO eggs! Because I had been taking them inside and we had been eating them. Well, I felt bad, and I knew I had a dozen eggs from a friend, because she was overwhelmed with eggs as well and I only have a few chickens, so I would get extras from her occasionally. This friend has a few roosters and many hens, so I figured hers were likely fertilized. The eggs from my friend had been in my fridge a couple of weeks, and so I looked online and they said, Yes, maybe possible the “embryo” is still alive, but probably not if the temperature is below 40F. So I checked my fridge and it was set very low, almost freezing. Bummer, but I figured I might as well let her set on a few and who knows, maybe something would happen. So I slipped a few under her and she stayed on them religiously. About 10 days ago, I got 4 fresh eggs from the same friend, and I figured if the refrigerated eggs did not hatch, then for sure these later ones would. But it’s only been 10 days and I know those eggs were just picked/fresh.

      So yes, in conclusion, the eggs were viable after 2 weeks of refrigeration. I just thought that was pretty important information for folks!!! 🙂


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