Air Sac supposed to move around?


8 Years
Mar 12, 2011
Battle Ground, WA
I just received my first shipped eggs and am going to set my first incubator ever. I decided since I was mixing eggs from different breeders, all unknown to me, that I would use an Oxine wash. As I was gently washing each egg, I had one that floated. I candled it an noticed the air sac was completely mobile and moved whichever way the egg tilted. I broke the egg and it looked "normal" inside, but then I've never really examined an egg all that close. There was no unusual odor.

So what makes the egg float? Should I have left it alone and tried to incubate it? As I candled other eggs, I saw several that had air sacs that moved readily. Is this o.k. or a sign of trouble that I should eliminate before even starting? Any info is greatly appreciated.


P.S. Once in the incubator I will be using an automated turner so eggs will stay large end up.
A fresh egg shouldn't float. And a fresh shipped egg with a ruptured/wonky aircell shouldn't float either, as the amount of air inside the egg is the same, just all shook up, which doesn't affect floatability. Remember that egg shells are porous, meaning that over time they will gradually lose moisture through the pores of the shell and the size of the air cell will increase, which WILL make them float. What's probably happened here is that your seller has accidentally shipped you an older egg by mistake. It's easy to miss eggs when collecting them each day, especially if you have deep shavings in your nest boxes. So an egg can sit about for a few days before it's found and collected. Though I have to say, my eggs don't float till they're over a month old!

Edit: Sorry, I forgot to answer your other questions. No, you probably shouldn't have tried to incubate this egg. If it WAS as old as I suspect, it wouldn't have had much chance of developing, and it would have had a higher than normal chance of going bad. You didn't know for sure at the time, but you made a good call by discarding it. As for your other eggs, wonky aircells are very common in shipped eggs and are one of the main reasons they have a lower average hatch rate than non-shipped eggs. It's no reason to discard the eggs though, as they can still go on to develop normally and hatch out healthy chicks. Good luck with them!
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It was probably floating because bacteria got inside due to a hairline crack and there were some gases collecting up inside. Those are the eggs that tend to explode during incubation. Yuck!
If there are no free floating bubbles floating around INSIDE the egg with the white and yolk in those non floating eggs with tremulous air cells.... (air cells that move around a bit )then they can be incubated. I do it all the time with shipped eggs and have the same success as normal eggs. What I do differently, is cut a 12 egg, egg carton in half, the long way so I have a strip of egg holders and cut the bottom halves of each egg holder so there is circulation under the eggs. I set the eggs in a slight slant, and hand rotate them that way for much of the duration of incubation, which is until the 18th day.

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