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How chickens reproduce

Chickens lay eggs each day.

After a rooster and a hen mate, the hen will lay a clutch of eggs in a clean, dry nesting box. A clutch is usually about 12 eggs.

The hen then sits on the eggs for about 21 days. She sits on top of the eggs and keeps them warm by spreading her feathers over them. The yellow yolk inside the eggs has nourishing food that helps the chicks grow.

After about 21 days the chicks are strong enough to hatch from the eggs. Chicks have a special lump on their beaks called an egg tooth. They use the egg tooth to make a hole in the hard shell of the egg. When the chicks hatch they are wet and weak. They soon become dry and covered with soft yellow down.

After they hatch, the hen guards the new chicks. She leads them to food and water. She continues to care for them until they are several weeks old.

Chicks grow into adult chickens.