Can you use a flashlight to see if eggs are fertile?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Giddyup, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Giddyup

    Giddyup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Vancouver Island, BC
    Our Australian spotted duck has been sitting on a nest under our garden shed. My concern was that the other ducks or chickens may have discovered it and been adding to it.

    This morning hubby figured out where the nest is exactly and we may be able to reach it or see it. He saw 4 eggs that have been rolled out, but can't tell whose they are.

    I think we'd be ok if we could reach/check and replace, give the fertilized ones a chance....moving it may be too traumatic??!

    I think they should be 2 weeks along.

    All we have are flashlights - no incubator or fancy stuff.
  2. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    I think the only way to tell if an egg is fertile is to crack it open.
  3. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    Quote:If they are 2 weeks old, then it would be fine to take some out and candle them to check for veins, etc. And you should be able to see the bouncing/moving embryo. You can do this by holding it up to a strong light. You can even make your own candler; take an empty coffee can(or something similar), cut a hole in the top; make sure it's not too big. Make it small enough so that the egg can rest on the whole without falling through. The pointy part of the egg should be able to hang through the hole a little. Then, take any light that is really bright, such as a really bright flashlight, lamp, etc. and aim it so it's facing up into the can. Then, but the egg on the small hole that you cut. The light should filter right through the egg shell and you should be able to tell if it's fertile.
    Also, holding a very bright flashlight up to it may work pretty well too.
    Taking the eggs out of the nest and putting them back shouldn't hurt anything.
  4. sugarbush

    sugarbush Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2008
    Lexington KY
    You can tell if they are fertile if they have been incubated for a week or so. Cover the end of the flash light with black construction paper with a hole in the middle. Hold the egg over the hole and stand in a dark room and you will be able to see viens on the insides of the eggs if they are fertile.
  5. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    My bad, I thought they were only a day or two old! If they are 2 weeks old you should be able to see pretty good. I hope it goes well.
  6. peaceful

    peaceful Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    BC Canada
    Don't make the mistake I did! I used a flashlight to try to see into the eggs, when our mother hen seemed to have abandoned the eggs to be with her one early hatch chick (who was two days old). I only could really see into the air pocket, and didn't see what the inexperienced me expected to see (moving chicks ready to peck out of their shell). I only saw dark mass. On one I saw some veins at the edge. So thought they were unfertilized and gave up on them. Too late (the next day after a cold winter night) I opened the eggs to find four of the five were basically fully formed beautiful chicks. Feel terrible. [​IMG] I have an incubator and could have done something if I had realized. The chicks are encased in a sack inside the shell and all tucked into themselves tightly, so just be careful what conclusions you draw from whatever you see, and err on the side of giving the egg(s) a chance/more time. Best of luck!
    Oh also figure out some way that you can be sure more eggs aren't being added to the nest from now on, because otherwise the hen/duck can move onto those and off the ones she started.
  7. bearfeet3

    bearfeet3 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2009
    Heres a couple sites

    If you decide to candle, make sure your light source is not overrheating your eggs. Also, wash your hands before you touch the eggs. You could be spreading bacteria/oils. I hear so much of people throwing out GOOD eggs. Candling is usually great for seeing if the eggs are fertile or not, but even the experienced make mistakes. Once you open an egg you thought was dead only to see a beating heart, thats pretty traumatic...If youre not sure, leave it alone! good luck! [​IMG]
  8. CindyS

    CindyS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    I have a good led flashlight I use for candling. I can see exactly what I want to see. A good mag light will also work.
  9. Giddyup

    Giddyup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Vancouver Island, BC
    Thanks for the replies!

    We have a pretty strong mag light, and will try it at night maybe-unless you guys think we could bring them to the house when she's eating/bathing-but then it's hard to find dark space? She's a very people friendly duck too. I'm really looking forward to these little guys so hopefully the other birds haven't mucked it up.

    If they have we'll have to wait till she gives up before fencing the bottom of the shed off from them.

    jbowyer01 - thank god you misread - you gave me a heart attack!

  10. Giddyup

    Giddyup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Vancouver Island, BC
    I found the nest and was able to reach the eggs. I did not disturb her when I found it. After work today I saw she was off the nest so investigated closer. There are four.
    This morning she was out and looking VERY distressed, I went down, nest appeared undisturbed. I thought perhaps she was hungry or missing the other birds because they are locked in at night. I let her boy out and she seemed to settle down. But it looks like she abandoned the nest. I think at least one egg is fertile and at day 5ish. I thought they were two weeks but it is 8 days since she started to sit. There are other eggs rolled out all over so maybe it's her first season and she's just figuring it all out? I'd hate to lose the one, but she is still out (after going back for a short while) and the eggs were all VERY cold. We don't have a 'bator and were hoping for the mum to raise them.

    we will leave things be and see if she goes back. At least if she's left it we can fence that area off and start fencing breeding pens.

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