When hatching chickens or other birds from eggs, it is crucial to make sure that the egg is fertile before incubation. Incubating an infertile egg is not only a waste of time but also could spread germs to the other eggs. Fortunately, there are various methods to determine egg fertility. In this article, we will go over the candling method, egg analysis, and veterinary methods. Additionally, we will discuss tips and tricks to help you determine if the egg is fertile before incubation.
II. Candling Method
The candling method is one of the most straightforward and commonly used ways of determining the fertility of an egg. To perform this method, you need a bright light such as a flashlight or a candler.
Step 1: Find a dark room and bring a light source into it. A room without windows and as little light as possible is best for this method.
Step 2: Hold the flashlight or candler against the bottom of the egg. The egg’s shell should be in contact with the light.
Step 3: Observe the egg’s contents. A fertility line, which is visible as a spider-web-like network of veins developing inside the shell, indicates fertile eggs. The inner circle of the egg will be dark, while the spider-web network will appear lighter.
While fertilization cannot always guarantee hatching, the candling method is an excellent first step to determine if the egg is fertile.
III. Egg Analysis Method
The egg analysis method is a bit more involved than the candling method. To use this method, you will need a magnifying glass or microscope.
Step 1: Put on a pair of gloves to avoid spreading disease or bacteria to the egg. Examine the egg shell for abnormalities, cracks, or irregularities that could lead to a higher chance of infection and less potential to hatch.
Step 2: Hold the egg in question up to the light to judge the air cell’s size. The air cell is visible in fertile and unfertilized eggs, although in fertile eggs, it will be more substantial and located on the broader end of the egg.
Step 3: Break the egg open and examine its contents. Firstly, the color of the yolk will reveal if the egg was fertilized or not. Fertile eggs typically have a prominent yolk and a thicker white. Second, check the egg white’s consistency and the yolk position to see if it is centralized or not. Centralization of the egg yolk is indicative of fertile eggs.
IV. Visiting a Veterinarian Method
For those who may not feel confident in determining fertility themselves, a reliable method is seeking the help of a veterinarian. Veterinarians have experience in determining egg fertility using a method called a biopsy, which entails checking for the development of fertile eggs in the reproductive tract.
Step 1: Look for a veterinarian in your area who has expertise in avian care. It’s always a good idea to call ahead and check your veterinarian’s qualification before bringing in an egg.
Step 2: Go to the appointment with your egg in a safe, secure container.
Step 3: During the visit, the veterinarian will perform a biopsy, which involves inserting a thin needle into the air sac at the wider end near the embryo and removing some tissue for testing. The process is simple and needs less than 10 minutes to complete.
Using the veterinarian method can ensure high accuracy, and you will receive professional consultation. However, this method also means additional expenses, which is sometimes not ideal for everyone.
V. Tips and Tricks
There are several tips and tricks that may help you determine whether your egg is fertile beyond the methods mentioned above. First and foremost, keep track of the date your egg was laid. If it has been longer than 10 to 12 days, it is unlikely to hatch.
Another tip is to observe the behavior of your rooster and hens. Don’t be too hasty to remove an egg if it does not immediately show signs of fertility. Sometimes it takes longer for the eggs to show development. Pay attention to how often and how long the birds mate and how many eggs they typically are sitting on. If there are a limited number of eggs per clutch, pay extra attention to the development of the individual eggs.
Lastly, keep an eye on any abnormalities on the egg’s shell, which could be indicative of problems inside the egg.
Determining if an egg is fertile is essential for successful hatching of chickens or other birds. Whether you use the candling, egg analysis, or veterinary method, take time to make sure your eggs are healthy before incubating. Use the tips and tricks discussed above, including tracking the laying date, observing rooster and hen behavior, and examining egg shells, to maximize your chances of success.
Remember, the initial determination of fertility is crucial to guarantee safety during incubation, and aiming to ensure the egg’s potential is always a worthwhile goal.