Sunday, May 13, 2012

Predicting which eggs should be incubated

It's two weeks into the three week incubation period for the chickens.  Last week I candled the eggs and it was time to do it again today.  I started off with 40 eggs and last week removed three of them.  It wasn't that the rest looked like something was growing, most did but some didn't.  It was more of a case of wishful thinking. 

It's not hard to candle the eggs.  I read all about it but never observed someone actually candling eggs.  Here's how I do it.  I lay an egg on top of a roll of toilet paper and shine the flashlight through the bottom of the roll.  When the light comes up the roll through the top of the egg it should have a dark blob in it that doesn't let the light shine through.  When I was showing girl this evening I had her take an egg out of the basket that she had just brought in.  The light went right through the egg.  You couldn't even make out the yolk.  When I put one of the brown eggs on top of the paper and shined the light you could barely see through the egg at all.  The developing chick was almost completely blocking the light. 

Last week when I candled the eggs the blue and white shelled eggs didn't look like anything was developing.  I wanted to believe that the shell color made a difference...denial here!  So I put them back into the incubator.  Tonight not one blue or white shelled egg blocked any light.  I had to come to terms with the fact that not one of the blue or white egg laying chickens let the rooster any where near them!  Bad girls! 

I did learn something from the brown eggs that didn't continue to develop.  Those shells didn't look very solid.  There were a lot of dots of brighter light shining through; like the shell had little pin pricks all over it.  The shells with the developing chicks didn't appear to have little pin pricks of light. 

Oh no, the scientist in me is coming out... What can I learn from this?  I decided to look at the eggs I had in my bowl.  How many of those had lots of dots of thinner shell?  About half.  I wonder if you can predict which eggs will develop and which won't, assuming that they are all fertilized?  On my next batch I'm going to mark the shell with a felt pen dot for those without the thinner shell.  My theory is that the less dots of thinner shell the egg has the better chance that it will hatch.  Sounds reasonable.  I wonder if anyone out there has done this to figure out which egg has a better chance at hatching?

1 comment:

  1. Good job on raising your own food. I used to raise chickens myself (still have a few for eggs), but have moved into Coturnix Quail almost exclusively, something you might want to check into. They are smaller for sure, but take about 3 weeks to hatch and are ready to butcher or begin laying their own eggs within 8 to 10 weeks, so the turnaround is faster. Also they consumer fewer resources and take up less space. They are also much quieter if OPSEC is necessary.

    Just an FYI. I just had a batch hatch out over this past weekend, I will be writing about it a bit on my small blog.