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Candling Pics: Progression Through Incubation Of Chicken Eggs


CANDLING PICS: Progression Through Incubation



Thanks to ZooMummzy, I am doing a test run of my little plywood bator and her little rooster! And I'll be sharing pics! These images are all taken using a point and shoot Canon Powershot 710IS, and the light from an eagle tac  set on high output. Photos are in real colors unless otherwise noted.

Click thumbnails for larger image!

The incubator:

It's got a clear top for hatch day viewing and two lightbulbs covered in foil because I was too cheap to buy ceramic heat lamps. The reason behind two bulbs is in case one light bulb burns out the incubator won't go cold.  It has a salvaged computer fan and uses a salvaged GQF thermostat. There are about 8 layers of spar urethane coating the little beast so it's water tight. Started making it when I was about 13, so if I were to do it again, it would be much larger and have space planned for a fan/thermostat.  tongue Temperature is measured with a Fluke digital multimeter with thermometer attachment, and humidity is measured via wet/dry bulb methodology.

0 hrs Note that with a bight enough light you can see though brown and green eggs easily. Shell thickness and egg size will impact image quality, so note these are bantam eggs.

This is a great example of a porous egg, not ideal for hatching.

28hrs Not much to see though the egg at this point. If you were to open the egg and look at it under a dissection microscope, you'd see that the head/neural fold has formed, and up to 4 pairs of somites. (Somites are mesodermal  cells which migrate and give rise to tissues such as muscle, bone, and cartilage. Note  the number on the egg, it serves as tracking and to know which side is "up" as I am hand turning 3x a day.

52 hrs If you look closely, you can see the start of the blood island in the middle of the egg. The heart is actively beating by this time and has started to turn; the heart starts out as a tube during development.
May be easier to see after photoshop, it's that darker ring on top of the yolk shadow

76 hrs At this point, limb buds have not only formed but are enlarging and the eye is beginning to become pigmented.

Some photo editing and you can really see the veins!


100 hrs The limbs are now starting to look like limbs and the embryo starts to look like what a common person would say is an embryo.

Enhanced to see veins

Day5 On this day, the beak has just become viable and the chick's limb buds are no longer buds and instead will have identifiable digits! The black dot is the eye.
Edited to enhance veins
A day 3 or so quitter
Profile view and you can see the veins in my finger too.

Day6 It gets harder to take clear vein pics, as there is enough vascularization that it gets a bit washed out.

Enhanced image. 

Embryo Movement Clip

Day 7 If you were to open them up, you'd see little specks where future feathers would emerge!

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11


Day 12

Day 13 If you opened them up, you'd see claws forming!

Day 14 It's so dark there is pretty much nothing really to see! Just a bit of space left

Day 15


Day 16 You can see toes in the second one!

Toes video

Day 17

Day 18 Lock down!!!! Since there is plenty of space in the bator, I made little paper cups to put each egg in. Hopefully this will catch the majority of the hatch junk left over from popping out so clean up is a bit easier.

HATCH DAY Note, there is no plan to open the bator for the next 48 hours. The top is clear so all the action can be seen without compromising the hatch!

First to hatch: About 14 hours after the first pip at 4am. Note the clean hatch and absence of any blood in the shell. It was ready!

Hatch Video

Second to hatch: About 17 hours after the pip at 4am. Could have piped any time between 11pm and 4 am though. Another clean hatch.

Note the first vid is part of the zipping. The pip to zip can literally be hours to days, but usually, once it starts to zip and sets out to get out, the shifting and cracking process is about 20-30 mintues.

This one gets to the point more.

30 hours after the first pip, the hatch is now complete! This is about my average time to hatch. I've had some take even longer so there really is no rushing the little guys.
There were 7 fertile eggs that made it to day 3. All 7 hatched on their own without opening the bator between day 18 though post hatch and fluff.

Post hatch shell interior. Note that all the vessels are gone and it's just pink. Not a single drop of blood. The little blob in the bottom is the chick wastes from development; think of it as embryo poo.

And now the best part! The chicks!!!

The chicks have learned how to drink from a hamster water bottle.




For more discussion on this page see the thread:



Incubating & Hatching Eggs Forum Section


Comments (35)

Look at those cute little fluff balls!!!!! Awwww...
This is a classic page! I have pointed many people to the excellent thread with this posted at top, and have used the information myself! Thank you Silkiechicken!
Glad you find it informative! Someday I will improve the images with white eggs and a DSLR for the images.
on day 18 till they hatch, what temp should i keep the bator at ?
Cute! I could never succeed in hatching eggs... They would die at day 10 or so...
so awesome to see life bf is incubating some eggs & i got to see this first hand it is a rally cool thing :
uh-ooo that not what my eggs look like!
one of the top ten info on candeling posts on BYC
Thank you for all your hard work and study to provide this report.
Wish I would have seen these pictures sooner, I was going crazy around days 10-14, I saw 2 dark spots that were moving...I thought there were twin chickies in them! But now I know thats just the ways it looks. :)
Silkiechicken, you ROCK! This is a GREAT thread. I am an incubating virgin and my SL Wyandotte eggs are on day 22 today... no signs of pipping. I'm REALLY bummed. With the exception of candling (duh! I just entrusted the virility of Studmuffin Bob) I have faithfully followed the directions... what's the long-end number of days to hatch? Should I be mentally getting ready to toss some rotten eggs?
Thanks for all the comments! Good luck to everyone hatching!
@blondbarnbabe: I tend to throw in the towel and start taking a look at what may be in eggs at day 23/24. The later end hatchlings that make it are usually 22 or 23. Few at 24 or more days, and often the results aren't so good with vitality of late late hatched chicks. Good luck!
I just found your post. It is incredibly helpful, but I may have already made a couple bad mistakes. I just candled the eggs my hen has been sitting on for about 18 days. #1. I didn't know you are not supposed to roll them around. What if I put them back under her uipside down? #2. I found that her sister has been sneaking in the nest with her adding new eggs. They were in various degrees of development. What a mess. I pulled three that had a small dark floaty blob, and the clear ones. All the rest are solid dark with an air pocket. But I'm worried I may have killed them if they are up side down?
AAWWW! They are so cute. We just candled our eggs and were so excited to see some action:
Thanks for sharing such good information and awesome photos. We are learning so much!
How do you know a egg is fertile when it is first layed? I have one egg that my chicken layed today and want to know how to see if it is fertile. If it is fertile I will let her hatch it but if not we will eat it. Thanks for your help
You can't tell if an egg is fertile when it is laid. You have to incubate it and see if it develops. If you have a young rooster mounting the hens though, your likly to have fertile eggs.
great post!! we had the worst luck with our last batch under our broody hen. 2 of 9 hatched but she ended up smushing them :( we hope to be extra careful with the next batch!
thank you this helped me alot with the photos
I still use this as a guide. What a great reference!
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