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Egg temperature and gender

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:50 pm
by lgjacobs
My 5th grader wants to do a science fair project with chic eggs. She wants to put them in an incubator and control the temperature to see if temperature affects gender development. Does this sound like a doable project? Do you have any suggestions?

Re: Egg temperature and gender

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:24 pm
by scibuddyAK
Hi there,

Glad to hear your daughter is interested in doing this science project!
Although I'm not too familiar with this topic, I looked a little into it and confirmed some of the effects I feared could happen as a result of incubating the eggs. First of all, I believe that the gender of birds is determined immediately upon fertilization, meaning that incubating the eggs at this stage wouldn't really affect gender on scientific grounds. (except for the fact that temperature changes seem to kill males more easily than females, so it may affect the outcome of the numbers that actually hatch). Furthermore, chick eggs require very specific conditions to survive - temperature, pH, etc. My reservation about this project, although the idea is creative and excellent, is that a slight alteration in any one of the survival parameters may end up killing off the eggs as well. Perhaps some other Experts can chime in to back me up/offer new evidence?

Hope this helped. I'd be happy to help you come up with additional ideas and brainstorm further about a similar topic, if you'd like.

Re: Egg temperature and gender

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:53 am
by lgjacobs
Thanks for your help. We welcome any suggestions on tweaking the topic.

Re: Egg temperature and gender

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:40 pm
by HeatherL
Hi there,

This is a great project idea, and you have already gotten some valuable advice.

I do know that reptile eggs (lizards, turtles) often have gender determined by incubation temperature, but I had a difficult time finding sources of reptile eggs. Perhaps you could talk to your local pet store about purchasing eggs from their animals, or about a distributor from which you might be able to purchase eggs. Just keep in mind that you will need to care for the animals once they hatch!

I also found this site about how to properly incubate fertilized chicken eggs: ... ir-project You could set up two incubators that are identical except for one variable (which could be temperature, and you could examine the gender ratio upon hatching).

I hope this helps. Please post again (in this same thread) if you need more guidance.