Candling- why is it important?


Mar 19, 2021
My Coop
My Coop
I got into a debete with someone about canding. They are saying it's better not to candle because the eggs will get harmed and cold. I was saying that hens leave the nest for up to 10mins anyway so it won't make a difference.
Why is candling important? Should I do it?
I candle twice at day 10 and at lockdown at day 17. Unless removing the egg from the incubator I don't touch them, I bring the light to the egg. at each candling I remove quitters or non developing. If you do decide to candle often, make sure your hands are absolutely clean so you don't introduce pathogens. During incubation the protective bloom is completely gone by day 7, sometimes sooner depending on incubation practices.
I think candling is wonderful from an educational standpoint, however I've had four total hatches so far, three under a broody and one in a 'bator. I didn't have a good candler and most of my eggs are dark so early efforts under a broody were fruitless and I relied on the sniff test. If none of them stunk, they all stayed. However a lot of folks like to candle to determine if there are any "quitters" with dead embryos. These are removed in case they start to rot; they may explode and infect other eggs.

When I used an incubator, there were 22 eggs. For fun, I had two "control" eggs that I candled daily for the first 14 days, and every other day up until day 19 after that. I intermittently picked some random eggs to candle, but I didn't want to risk dropping an egg or taking too much time when candling, so only about half were ever candled. None of them stunk. I had 12 out of 22 hatch, and of those seven were either infertile or extremely early quitters. The other three were developed but didn't hatch. Two had pipped internally and passed, and one looked as if it passed a couple of days before time to pip internally. None of them smelled or exploded.

Personally I feel confident that it is safe to not candle, and simply watch for bad smells. I haven't tossed a single quitter in any hatch until mama hen was ready to get off the nest.
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I candle to keep an eye on the air cells, check for development or lack of and just because I like doing it.
The third reason is really the only one I need.
I do wear a new pair of nitrate gloves with each look to keep the risk of contamination low especially in the middle and end stages when the eggs are getting more porus.:)
... and just because I like doing it.
The third reason is really the only one I need.
I really skirted around my point when I replied, and you said what I was indirectly trying to say. I really do it because I like to. I've had numerous successful hatches without candling, or candling only a small percentage of the eggs. I've gotten some truly amazing videos of the embryos!

Here's one of mine on day 7!!

I also was blessed to witness the heart beat on day 2 of development.
I don't (read: Can't and won't) seperate my broodies from the flock, and that means new eggs are in the nest constantly. And I apparently suck at marking them, so I have to or I'm going to have a staggered hatch.

Plus these nests the pheonixes make are already far too large for them to have normally so by handling and removing duds after a few days, I can get it to a more manageable number and none get booted out by accident

And you can get pictures like this
Candling is important because it lets you identify any eggs that aren’t viable which can explode and contaminate the other eggs. You just have to be careful. Keep them out from under the hen or out of the incubator for as short a time as possible. Wearing gloves and/or washing your hands helps keep the eggs clean and it’s also best not to candle more than 3 times. Some people candle more often but to me it increases the risk of accidentally dropping one. Also don’t candle during the last 3 days of incubation because the chicks are beginning to move into hatching position and candling/disturbing the eggs during this time can cause problems.

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