As shown previously, laying hens given 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 as their sole source of vitamin D produce fertile eggs having normal shells, but only 35 to 55 percent of the embryos are normal. Giving these hens additional 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, or 24,24-difluoro-25-hydroxyvitamin D3 at 1.25 nanomoles per day resulted in 90 to 100 percent normal embryos, and hence, hatchability. Since 24,24-difluoro-25-hydroxyvitamin D3 cannot be 24-hydroxylated, 24-hydroxylation is not required for this function of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3.