Are You A Boy or Girl Egg?

November 11, 2011

This past Sunday, I attended the Boston Poultry Expo.  One of the cardinal rules during these shows is that you do not converse or interact with the judges.  In fact, people are required to keep a certain distance from them.  It is very easy to spot a judge.  They don a lab coat or jacket with official badges and tagging.  I enjoyed watching from a far as the judges selected their top picks.  Later in the afternoon nearing the end of the show, I recognized one of the judges standing near me in street clothes.  I decided to strike up a conversation.

He is from New York, grew up on a farm with poultry and has been involved in his local 4-H for years.  He has been raising chickens his entire life and now his adult son is one of the best breeders in the country.  His pride oozed as he told me his relationship with chickens.  I listened closely, I could tell that I was going to learn something important.  What he told me next amazed me.  He told me that you can tell what sex of chicken will hatch out of an egg  based upon the shape of it’s egg.  According to him, eggs that have rounded tops will be females and the eggs that have pointy tops are the males.  He further went on to tell me that a researcher from Cornell University did not believe him and tested his theory in the lab.  On day 23, he received a phone call from the researcher, in shock that it was true!  I knew of those eggs.  Sometimes eggs are just too incredibly pointy not to take notice.

I came home and took some eggs out of the fridge.  I had a bowl of mostly Silkie eggs, as the larger girls were still molting.

At first I visually examined each egg.  Then I rubbed my finger over the tops of the eggs. I was able to separate them into two distinct piles; pointy verses rounded.  The piles were almost even, just a few more in the “female” pile.  I would expect this to be true.  There is always a higher birth rate of females to males.

Yes, you can see a difference.  Here is a pointy egg in the back and a rounded one in the front.

When I had heard what this judge was telling me at the show, I had to call my friend over to hear this too.  This information was exciting and intriguing to say the least.  After we finished our conversation with the judge, I told her that we had to try this experiment on our own.  She owns two incubators.  For her next hatch, she is going to put all pointy eggs in one and all rounded eggs in another.  I, for one, will surely be counting down those 21 days to see what hatches from the eggs.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest


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58 thoughts on “Are You A Boy or Girl Egg?”

  1. I keep thinking about Cowboy Bill and his egg gender identification claims last weekend and specifically, his claim that the Cornell researcher found the method to be 100% accurate.

    I think I'm going to call in my Facebook peeps to put this to the test. I also think the time has come for you, Ms. Tilly's Nest, to invest in a little incubator or two! 🙂

    • I’ve been told this by a filipino man whose cousin breeds males for fighting.
      He said it’s 99.9% correct.
      Male eggs are longer and more pointy than more rounded smaller female eggs.

  2. Sorry but… old wives tale. If it was an accurate method to sex eggs.. hatcheries and poultry farms would be all over it as that would save them incredible amounts of money.

    There has been scientific studies, and what they have found is that a hen tends to lay a certain shape continuously, but it has nothing to do with the sex of the chicks.

    Still a fun experiment.. but each egg is almost a 50-50 chance. (Although unlike with people, the hen's genetic contribution determine the sex of the chick.. which is rather interesting!)

    • have you tried it, my thought is it sounds to good to be true, but anne if you haven't tried it, maybe you shouldn't be so quick "egg"sasterbate someones findings.

      • Every year 300 million one day old male chicks are either shredded alive or tossed into plastic bags to suffocate and that’s just in the United States. This barbaric culling practice continues because the UEP has yet to find an economical alternative. Trust me. If all it took was the shape of an egg the UEP and animal rights groups would be thrilled.

      • The post was more to pique curiosity than anything. Yes, there are many thing across many industries that are beyond upsetting and disturbing. As people turn a blind eye and try to ignore these harsh realities that is the problem. Thank you for raising awareness Judy.

      • Agree. We are collecting eggs for hatching now and I’m going to try the experiment.

        Also in past I’ve always had more hens then Roos. It’s never 50/50. Not sure where she got that info.

    • My Grandpa had an incubator in the 30’s and 40’s that held 10,000 eggs, he would hire a couple of Japanese men and they would sex eggs for him. My Dad said they were 95% correct but they never told the secret. I learned several years ago to tape or glue a thread to a ping pong ball, let it touch the egg, lift the ball up a half inch to an inch, if the ball did nothing, it’s a blank, if it swings in a circle it’s a female, if it swings straight back and forth a male. It does work with about 75-80% correct.

  3. I thought it sounded too good to be true Anne. Well it is a fun experiment anyways! Great points and link. Thank you for sharing.

    I agree From Beyond My Kitchen Window, especially when little kids are involved and can watch and learn from the experience!

    Thank you all for you comments. This is what I love most about keeping this blog!

  4. Oh, I can't wait to see what happens with your experiment. That's fascinating. It would break my heart to have to deal with unwanted roosters. Which is why I buy sexed pullets. But if you could get it right way back at the egg, wow. You'd be on to something.

  5. Tilly's Nest doesn't need an incubator. She has four silkies! They're broody every five minutes and make the best mother's.

    I can't wait to see how the experiment goes. Next time I have a hatch, I will pay more attention.

  6. Oh rugosarosefarm, currently Fifi is broody! Yes, those Silkies are broody constantly. I could probably put 10 eggs under each Silkie at a time! Even if they aren't broody they probably aren't difficult to convince 🙂

  7. When I first started with chickens of my own I heard this too. I tried it twice. I picked 48 eggs that were so round that I had to candle to tell which end had the aircell. 1st time I still got 56% Boys. The 2nd time I got 78% Boys!!! This is an "old wives tell" that made the Hmong family that buys my extra roosters VERY happy.


    • I also tried this, just to prove a friend wrong. He was separating the long point eggs from the short round eggs. He only wanted the roosters so he believed that the pointy eggs were male. I took 9 of the round eggs and placed them under a hen that I had that was sitting. She hatched 8 of the 9 eggs, 7 were male and 1 was female. So I proved him wrong. You never know what the sex of the chick is going to be. Just hatch them all and sort them later. If you just want the females, sex them after hatching then take the rest to your local feed store, they will sell them to someone else.

  8. How do i get a chicken to go broody myself?
    I have a really nice chicken that i want to go broody,but i can't.
    Please respond.Sunshine is so cute.How old is she?

  9. Thanks.
    Once out of 200 times of trying to incubate in homemade ones 1 egg made it to 18 days then died.Any reason to why that happened?

    • There are so many things that can go wrong when incubating eggs such as improper humidity, improper temperatures and not turning the eggs enough. That's why I depend on broody hens. Incubating eggs is a true art.

  10. Do you know if grey mallard and white pekin ducks go broody often?
    Yes,incubation is a true art.
    But it takes anticipation!

  11. Wow!!!Tilly I finally did it.I hatched 2 eggs out of 6.I did it in an aquarium and did nothing but spray water on the eggs on day 18-21

  12. I have heard the same thing. Pointed are males and rou d are females. Sometimes people who actually pay more attention can find out things industries dont know because they pay more attention and find different ways to do things. I definitely would like to know what your outcome was and try this myself I like the idea of just separating them into 2 incubators.

  13. The egg shape is 90% right. I use it my self. I hatch silkies and seramas from my birds for people and I do 9 each round eggs and 4 each pointed eggs! So I get 8 silkie girls, 6 serama girls, 3 silkie boys and 2 serama boys. Some don’t hatch but the ones that did were marked! Best hatching

  14. Untrue. You will get 9 roosters to the dozen hatched. There are always more roosters than hens hatch in any nest. Also on alternate months starting with the first egg laying month every year you will get mostly all rooster shaped eggs one month and more hen shaped eggs the second month and so on through the season. I have tested the theory and it is true. I try to only leave rounded shaped eggs for the hens to sit on and get 9 to the dozen hens hatch doing this

  15. I was raised on a small egg ranch and my father would buy 100 day old chicks every few months. I once asked our supplier how they could know the sex of a chick at only one day old. He told me they used the shape of the egg to determine the sex. They always added 4males to the order so we could use them for breeding or as ‘fryers’ at 16 weeks of age. Every order consistently had 100 hens and 4 roosters.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.