Egg candling help for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by erinnyes, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. erinnyes

    erinnyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2011
    Hi! :) So, I had two of my Americanas go broody and I decided to try and let them do their thing, and gave them each one egg to see if they could hatch anything. Well, clearly I was a little under-prepared...

    For one thing, since I have more nests than I have laying hens, I allowed my broodies to stay in the main chicken coop with the flock, since they still forage with the flock during their "breaks" and I didn't want to have to reintroduce them later. They seem very calm and are not stressed by the presence of the other chickens, who seem to know better than to bother them.

    Well, apparently one of the broodies got a little carried away with her nesting. Yesterday I went into the coop to check on the egg progress. When I lifted one of my hens, four eggs were there instead of 1. Apparently she has been waiting until my other hens lay their eggs and then stealing them, rolling them back into her own nest. So now I have no clue which egg is the one she's supposed to be hatching, and which are the "stowaways". I have no idea when she took them and can't guarantee they didn't go cold first, so most are probably not growing.

    Then I candled the eggs, and that's what I have my question about. The two eggs I gave them should be about 6 days old, but I can't see anything but lighter areas all over the shell, like spots. I can't see any sign of stuff inside, but then the shells are dark brown so it is very hard to tell. They kind of look like the eggs in photos where bacterial infection has occurred. I will post pictures tonight, but my basic question for now is, is bacterial invasion in eggs common? If not, is it possible my nests are not a sanitary enough environment for hatching eggs? And is Bluebeard's egg-stealing habit a clue that she's too distracted to be hatching eggs anyway?

    Thanks for reading! :)
  2. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    I'll wait till you post pics to help out on the egg development. When I have hens sitting with other hens that are still laying, I will mark the eggs that are her "hatching eggs". Then when I check on her I can take out the eggs that are not marked. That still leaves her on the original eggs. About Day 6 there will be a dark mass usually on one side of the eggs- that would be longways. Dark shelled eggs can be hard to see. A bacteria invasion will look like a bulls-eye or a halo around the small black spot. Sounds like you did your homework on this. I usually wait a few more days before I would throw these out. Just to make sure.

    A hen on a staggard hatch can be very hard. She might go with the already hatched chicks and leave the eggs that haven't hatched.

    [email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2012
    Washougal, WA
    best to wait till after the 9th day. i can see into the eggs pretty good with a week led light on day 13ish.
  4. erinnyes

    erinnyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2011
    Okay, here are the pictures! There was one egg under one hen and four under another. I have pictures here of 4 of them, unfortunately they're all a little unclear and fuzzy, and one didn't come out well at all so I just skipped it. I can just try candling that one again in a few days if it's an issue.

    I think I have a few of these figured out, but I'm interested to know what the egg-xperts think! :) To start off here's egg 1, Sassypant's egg:
    This one had a dark center (the yolk?) that moved as I turned the egg. It seems large in the picture for a yolk, but whatever. This one, if it's developing, should be about 5 days old, give or take. So it might be too soon to tell, but by contrast the test egg I candled from the fridge didn't have that dark blob in the center, so does that mean something?

    Here's egg 2 from the egg-thief's "clutch:"
    I'm pretty sure this one is bad. I think that might be the "ring" there that I spied (I keep wanting to call it the red ring of death! LOL), which would mean it's a dud. Unless I'm mistaking it for veins?

    Egg 3 seems to have a definite ring, and I also found a crack in it. I'm feeling pretty confident about this one but I wanted to ask people who know more before I chucked it! ;)

    And then finally the last one, which is the one I am most hopeful for. I'm almost 100% certain this is the original egg I gave Bluebeard about 7-8 days ago. I know the pictures don't show much, but it's dark inside and though I looked very closely I did not see any sign of movement. The mass appears to be solid, and in the last picture you can just barely see the air pocket at the rounded end of the egg.
    I'm hoping this one is good, but I guess it's also really dark inside, so it might be an egg that started developing and then died.

    And finally, here's the test egg. Nothing going on in there at all. Sorry it looks like a glowing blob, my iphone took the pictures and clearly it's not the best for the job. I'm just showing it because it's an undeveloped egg from the same hen as the others, so hopefully it gives a good comparison. The eggs are all dark brown in color, which is part of the reason I am having so many issues seeing inside.

    Sorry that ended up being really long! Thank you for reading! :)
  5. Squawkbox

    Squawkbox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 25, 2011
    To me it looks like there is nothing in them. I had 5 eggs that looked like that at about 6 (?) days along and I cracked them and there was tiny embryos in them that died within the first few days. I'm far from an expert but that's just my opinion based on what my eggs looked like at that stage.

    Edited to add a picture!
    Here's what mine looked like at just over 3 days incubation.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  6. erinnyes

    erinnyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2011
    I see what you mean! I definitely didn't see anything like those developed, clear veins in my eggs. Do you think they could still have those veins, but I just can't see them either because my eggs are dark-colored or my candler is not a professional one? (I was using a high-powered flashlight with a hole in a box) Or is it safe enough to say that none are growing?
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    It helps to use a small LED in a dark room. I've candled eggs like yours where it was hard to see into them. After 10 days you could make out the veins but a few were still impossible so ended up using a halide lamp and box to really see inside.
  8. Squawkbox

    Squawkbox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 25, 2011
    I just use an LED flashlight with my hand cupped around it, and my eggs (especially laid by this one hen) are a nice darkish brown.
    Is it possible that she didn't start laying on them right away so they are further behind?? I'd give it a little bit, just in case!
  9. sjcshawna

    sjcshawna Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2012
    Fordsville, KY
    I think your second egg had veins in it, i thought i seen them anyways
  10. matlock585

    matlock585 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    White Bluff, TN
    I think the first set of pics, and the fourth set of pics are developing. The first set of pics is looking to me like 3 or maybe 4 days. Set four looks like 6 or so days. 3 is a maybe and 2 is a blood ring. The last pic wouldn't load for me.
    Good Luck with them.

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