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Confusion About Candling Eggs

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

This is my first time trying to hatch eggs in an incubator. Momma hen abandoned her eggs and we are trying to save as many of the little guys as possible. I have candled the eggs every couple of days for the last week or so and they are definately developing and there is movement inside but when i look at other folks' candling pics they don't seem to look the same as mine. it seems like in most of the pics that i can find the chicks are developing in the very bottom (small end) of the egg. when i candle mine they seem to be developing more in the middle of the egg with quite a bit of fluid underneath them in the small end of the egg. when i candle them now i can only see a very dark region where the chick is but not very much in the way of veins or even movement anymore (im suessing the latter is just cause they are getting cramped up in there) is it just because they are still young or is this a sign of a developmental problem? i cant seem to get a picture uploaded from my phone and i dont have internet connection at the house so i hope my description makes sense. in the mean time i will try my best to get a photo posted. if i cant tonight then i can post one from the work computer tomorrow.
post #2 of 10

Hey, to help you I would need to know what day they are on, honestly that sounds about right, if it is fully dark in there and the air sac is enlarging, they should be in lockdown.Towards day 18 the only thing you can usually see is dark and the aircell lol.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am talking about the other side of the egg. The aircell is normal (as far as i can tell). They have a good amount of fluid on the opposite side of tthe egg. Momma hen dissapeared about 10 days before we found her under the house...which was on the 18th. We free range our hens and we didnt know what happened to her till the pipes under the house froze and bust last week and we found her when doing repairs. We tried to move her so we could correctly fix the pipe and she abandoned them after the move. All that being said...i can only give my best guess on thier age. I thought they were 10 or so days old then but now i think they may have been younger (i dont know how to tell by candling....i am too new to it). I think they are probably 16 days or so in. I will post a pic of the eggs tomorrow and maybe someone with more experienc than me can help. As of now they are moving so im not going to stress too bad....more to come tomorrow though
post #4 of 10
From what you have described I would say they are heading towards the latter part of development. As the chick grows it does become harder to see what's going in there. Also as the egg is pretty full any movement can be subtle and not noticed as much.

Hope you are able to get a pic posted fl.gif
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Okay...I have a pic but I will admit it is not the best because my phone was having a hard time getting a decent shot of it in the dark but I think it will be a good enough pic to get the point across.


In this pic the air cell is on the right side of the egg...I know that it looks like there isn't one there but that's just because my hand is shading it from behind and I was more focused on getting a clear (er) pic of the other end of the egg...The air cells in all of the eggs look good, although maybe a little small but I adjusted the humidity yesterday. What I was referring to is the way that the small end (left side of the photo) looks. In all of the candling pics that I can find it seems like the chick is developing all the way down in the small end but all of my chicks have a bit of fluid in the bottom. I'm not sure if its just because of the angle that the photos are taken at or what. Is that the yolk down there?


Honestly, I am more curious than anything. I think that the 'kids' are doing well. I figure that, with all they've been through (mom abandoned them in 20 deg F weather and I didn't have an incubator so I kept them warm the first night by the fireplace) that if they were going to die off then they probably already would have (not to count my chickens before they hatch but I think these little dudes are fighters). Hopefully they will hatch soon. Since I have no idea how old they are I went ahead and removed the turner and I figure I'll just do that by hand until they start hatching.

post #6 of 10

That looks like it's about 10 to 14 days along. That air cell should be larger if it's close to hatching, and the rest of the egg will be filled with chick. Have you been marking the air cells? It will help you determine if the chick inside is still growing/developing or if growth has stopped.

post #7 of 10
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I know that they are more then 10 days along because I have had them for 11 days and they were already developing when I candled them when I first brought them inside. I wonder if maybe their growth was stunted because of the cold....? I have not marked the air cells....never would have thought to do that (learning as I go). I am sure that they are still developing, though, because I have been visually monitoring their progress over the last week or so(every other day....I don't want to disturb them too much). When I first candled them (on the 18th) they had clearly formed eyes and pretty well developed vascular system as they are much bigger and more developed. They are all still moving, too....although it is harder to distinguish their movements with it being so dark in there. I guess maybe that's where I am getting confused at....can the eggs growth be stunted by a couple of days if they get cold like that? They already have to be several days old to have well-developed eyes and vascular systems, right? If so then the eggs must at least be 14 days old or so because the eyes were clearly developed when I got them but, based on pics that I compared them to, they seemed like they were closer to 5 or 6 days old when I brought them in (I may very well be wrong). The air cells on them seem a little small to me compared to pics that I've seen but I figure that maybe the humidity was too high in the incubator so I just removed one of the plugs in the top of the incubator. Unfortunately, I can't find a hydrometer locally here and I am going to order one in but I am sure that it won't be here before they hatch. We have had several broods (I think that's the right word) of chicks over the last year but we have always let the hens care for them and they have done an excellent job, so far. Since these guys unexpectedly came into our care, I am under-prepared for this project but I wanted to try my best with them and hope that we could, at least, save some of them. Tonight I will try to get some pics of the air cells but I won't be able to post them until tomorrow.

post #9 of 10

Taking the eggs out of the incubator to mark the air cells won't harm them. Hens get off the nest and leave the eggs at least once or twice a day, so a few minutes won't hurt. Just because they were developing when you brought them in, doesn't mean that they are still developing. That's one reason you need to mark air cells. The air cell should get a little bigger every day. If there is no change to the air cell after 3 days, then it's likely that the chick has died.

Too much humidity or not enough air in the incubator can kill the developing chicks. You can pick up a humidity gauge at most pet supply shops in the reptile section. The plugs aren't so much to let humidity out. They are for letting air in. Those developing chicks do need oxygen to live.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I live in a very rural area. The closest pet shop that would carry items for reptiles is over an hour away...I used to keep a bearded dragon and it was always a field-trip to get anything for him...hence why I order everything over the internet now days. I have called every local pet shop and tobacco store in the area and none have one. 


As far as them developing, as I said above, I can tell that they have continued to develop because they have gotten bigger. They have gone from eyes and veins to being a big dark blob in there. Even if I marked the air cells now, I suspect that they will be hatching very soon. If these were brand new eggs in my incubator then I will know in the future to do that but it is too late in the game for me to have any doubts about whether or not they are developing.

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