Does chicken egg shape determine chick sex

Chicken egg shapesPerhaps you’ve heard the old wive’s tale that
you can determine the eventual sex of a chick by looking at the shape
of the egg?  A quick search of the internet will turn up
testimonials from dozens of chicken-keepers who are absolutely certain
that this method of sexing chicks works.  Here’s one
representative sample from Chicken
Keeping Secrets

“My answer is yes you can tell the sex of an egg before it is even
placed in an incubator. Several years ago I was told that the more
pointed eggs would be roosters and the more rounded eggs would be hens.
So I decided to do an experiment. I set 24 eggs in an incubator and
hatched 20 of those eggs and they were all roosters except one. I
currently try to use only the more rounded eggs for hatching and have
about 75 % hens. This does not appear to be true for all breeds of
chickens but does seem to work for the large breeds but not as well on
bantams.” ~  Thanks, Donald R. Holbrook

I decided to dig a little deeper, and stumbled across this line from The History of Animals
by Aristotle:

“Long and pointed eggs are female; those that are round, or more
rounded at the narrow end, are male.”

It looks like the tale goes back to the fourth century BC…although
egg shape had the opposite meaning back then.  Does that make it
an old philosopher’s tale?

Despite what Aristotle thought, modern scientists poo-poo the notion
that egg shape is an indicator of chick sex.  After all, if egg
shape had any effect on sex, wouldn’t hatcheries incubate all female
eggs rather than risking public outrage by euthanizing unwanted
males?  The scientific literature suggests that egg shape is breed
specific, inherited from the hen’s father, and may vary
seasonally.  So don’t choose only round eggs to put in your
incubator and assume you won’t end up with a rooster — chances are
that 50% of those eggs will hatch into males.

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Latest Comments

  1. tbeck February 22, 2012
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