How to candle brown eggs

How to candle eggsCandling is a way of getting
a sneak preview of hatching day, figuring out as early as day 8 whether
your eggs are fertile and growing.  Some experts will tell you
that candling is mandatory since infertile eggs can explode in the
incubator and take out your other eggs.  At the other extreme,
another batch of experts asserts that their hatch rates improved
drastically after they stopped candling since the time out of the
incubator and the heat of the lamp can harm the tender embryo.  I
opted to go ahead and candle, but used an LED light and kept the eggs
out of the incubator only a minute apiece to minimize chances of
killing my chicks.




Air pocket in candled eggWhen it comes right down to
it, candling is absurdly simple.  Just wait until it’s totally
dark (I wasn’t able to candle once the moon came out), then hold the
flashlight under the egg and cup your hand around the two so that no
light leaks out.  With white eggs, it’s pretty easy to see what’s
inside, but brown eggs block more of the light, so give your eyes a few
seconds to adjust to the darkness.  It can help to look at the egg
out of the corner of your eye, and rotate the egg gently until you can
see something.




Candling eggs at day 7The easiest thing to see is
the air pocket, a paler area at the blunt end of the egg.  At day
eight, you will probably also be able to see two dark blobs in the main
part of the egg — the eye and the chick’s body.  These two blobs
may look separate because the neck is thin and doesn’t block the light
very much.  I wasn’t able to get any photos in the dark, so I’ve
snagged a bunch of images for this post to illustrate what I’m talking
about — just click on a photo to see the source (and for more
information about candling.)




Egg with blood ringBad eggs can look very
variable.  Unfertilized eggs will be clear with no dark areas and
those that were fertile but died young will have blood spots or blood
rings.  Cloudy eggs that are uniformly dark inside except for the
air pocket may mean that your egg died between day 10 and 16 (if you’re
candling later than day 8, of course.)  On the other hand, it can
be tough to see inside brown eggs as the chicks get larger, so don’t
assume that because it looks dark in there on day 20, your chick is
dead.




I’m a beginner at
candling, so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was seeing, but I’m pretty
sure that at day eight, five of my
seven eggs
were alive.  If I’d been smart, I would have
numbered my eggs (marking on the shell with a pencil) and kept notes so
that I’d know if I guessed right at hatching time.  This time
around, I didn’t feel confident enough to remove any eggs that I
thought might be dead, but I’ll keep better notes and learn more for
the next batch.



Our chicks will thrive from
day one with clean water from our
chicken waterer.

Incubation Handbook

Learn more about the pros and cons of
candling in my 99 cent ebook.



Permaculture
Chicken: Incubation Handbook
walks beginners through perfecting the
incubating and hatching process
so they can enjoy the exhilaration of the hatch without the angst of
dead chicks. 92 full color photos bring incubation to life, while
charts, diagrams, and tables provide the hard data you need to
accomplish a hatch rate of 85% or more.

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  1. Cyndi Daves March 28, 2015
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