Hatch-Along, day 11


Freshly laid eggs- 5 light brown eggs sit on a scarf.

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Yesterday marked day 11 of incubation on the latest set of eggs. I started out with 48 eggs. Because my chickens lay between 5-8 eggs a day, it takes a bit to get up to 48 eggs and some of them were a little older than is typically recommended. Not every egg that is laid is going to be a good candidate for hatching- some of them will have defects in the shell that don't make a difference when you're eating the egg, but will influence the success of hatching. 

I get a good number of "good" hatching eggs every day. To be a good egg for hatching they must be free of bubbles and other defects like being too porous, having hairline cracks or thick areas of shell, and if they are too large or too small they should also not be used. Using the clues given to you by eggs can increase your hatch success rate and reduce wasted space in the incubator. As I said, these not preferred for hatching eggs are still perfectly fine to eat. 

You also want to select clean eggs, dirty eggs risk adding bacteria to your incubator and ruining your whole hatch. Washing eggs for hatching is not encouraged- knocking off debris and things with a paper towel can help reduce risk, but selecting clean eggs is the best bet. Make sure the bedding for your chickens is nice and clean so you get nice, clean eggs. I use nesting pads. The nesting pads help pull any waste/poop away from the surface to keep your eggs nice and clean, and you can throw them in the compost pile when they're soiled enough to need to be changed. I currently have 3 nesting boxes with 9 hens, and I need to change the pads about every 4-6 weeks. You can pull them out to knock off solids and extend their life, which helps reduce costs and waste. 

I store all of my eggs pointy side down in case I decide to incubate them- this helps keep the yolk in the proper place and sets the egg up for successful hatch. It's also important that they are kept cool but not cold- too cold will cause a drop in hatchability of the eggs as they are embryos and they are slightly delicate. 

Below are two examples of eggs that failed to develop more than a few days, and a couple examples of typically developing eggs. 

A brown egg being candled- you can see a blood ring, which indicates early embryo failure.

A porous brown egg- you can see a lot of flecks in the shell that indicate the egg is very porous. The egg has not developed at all and you can see where the yolk is floating at the top of the egg. This is an example of a not-ideal for hatching shell. 

A typically developing day 11 embryo. You see shadows of the baby, and there was movement in the shell. There are pencil marks on the top to show air cell development.

A typically developing day 11 embryo. You can see veining at the top of the shell, and the baby is nestled in the middle/bottom as seen in the shadow.


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