Determining Fertility of Eggs-"Candling Eggs" - Pigeon-Talk
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 9th April 2006, 12:09 PM
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Determining Fertility of Eggs-"Candling Eggs"

I just thought these instructions might help since it is baby season in many areas.

Remember that cell division in a fertile egg does not begin until brooding starts. There is no actual life in the egg until incubation. Therefore if you don't plan on hatching any babies, be sure to throw the eggs out before incubation begins.

After 5 to 7 days of brooding, the eggs should be inspected to see if they are fertile.

Carefully remove the eggs from the nest, DO NOT shake or move abruptly in any manner. Don't try to carry them both in one hand as you may drop them. I usually wrap the eggs gently in a papertowel, each seperately and bring them in, inside a basket.

If you have never candled an egg before, ask someone to help hold the egg to avoid any accident.

Go into a dark room without windows or closet. Be sure to have the lights on so you can see what you are doing.

Next, you can either hold the egg, inside a hole cut in a piece of cardboard, or encircle the egg with your fingers while holding it. If you don't feel comfortable doing this for fear you might drop it, please seek assistance. I usually encircle the egg with my fingers as I hold it, and hold the flashlight in the other hand, but I'm very comfortable with doing this as I have done this numerous times.

Turn a bright light on behind the egg, a flashlight will do. Turn off the light in the closet, or whatever dark room you have.

If the egg is fertile, you should see an embryo, which looks like a small dark shadowy circle in one area of the egg, and/or you can actually see blood vessels thru the thin shell.

Be sure to put the eggs back as soon as possible, if fertile.

Do not try this too many days later (after the 5th to 7th day), as a growing embryo may not be visible anymore. The egg may appear to be clear, but it could be the embryo taking up more room in the egg, and the blood vessels nor small embryo will not be visible with flashlight.

If you are not sure if the egg is viable or not, I would put it back under the hen just in case.

Incubation (from the onset of brooding) is 14 to 18 days depending on the weather. It has been my experience that eggs usually hatch around the 18th day.

If the egg doesn't hatch on the 18th day please don't throw out, allow the hen to incubate a few more days,it does not necessarily mean the egg is not fertile. It has been my experience that eggs are fertile 9 times out of 10. Sometimes the egg will look dark or an odd color, which can be normal and doesn't mean the baby has died or the egg is rotten. Give the egg the benefit of the doubt and allow the hen to incubate a few more days.

The egg is probably not fertile if it doesn't hatch after the extra days given, or embryo died. Some hens will push the egg out of the nest, as they seem to sense these things. If the egg smells rotten ( the embryo died), or if you see fluid moving about (egg not viable) when you hold it up to a light, then those are good inidcators the egg will not hatch.

You should see tiny little eruptions or openings in the eggs when the baby is hatching, that is called "pipping". The baby is actually beginning to crack or break the egg by chipping at it with its egg tooth. You may think initially the egg has a crack in it, but it is probably the baby pipping out of the shell. This is around the 18th day. The baby will twist and turn in the shell and use its egg tooth to break out of the shell. The egg tooth is on top of the beak of hatchlings, it is a horn-like projection that enables chicks to break open the shell. A few days after hatching the egg tooth is absorbed and no longer visible.

From the first pecking of the shell to complete hatching can take anywhere from 15 to 30 hours. Within a few hours of hatchlings drying out, they receive their first meal of "pigeon milk" from the parents.

Here is another link on The Miracle of Life

Last edited by Skyeking; 10th February 2007 at 08:17 AM..
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Pigeonpal2002 Pigeonpal2002 is offline
Posted 9th April 2006, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
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Thanks Treesa

Just to add some visuals to this great information, here are a few sites that show how to candle eggs and what you're looking for when you do.
Skyeking's Avatar
Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 21st June 2006, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Country: United States
Location: SE Coast Central Florida
Posts: 25,398
Here is a link to a post that armin369 provided with excellent pixtures of an egg hatching and one starting to pip.
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