I have a city-boy theory that I'd like someone more knowledgeable than myself to confirm or deny. I've always imagined that hens lay eggs regardless of whether a rooster is on the scene or not. If one is not, she lays unfertilized eggs that potentially are scrambled, boiled, poached, served over-easy, etc. If, on the other hand, a rooster IS around (and assuming he has his way with her), she'll produced fertilized eggs that will become baby chicks. Is this how it is? Or, does a rooster have to be around for her to have eggs at all? That doesn't seem likely, but if it's so, how can a farmer tell the difference between an unfertilized and a fertilized egg?