Experiment: Washed Vs. Unwashed

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by DawnM, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. DawnM

    DawnM Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2010
    Tacoma, Wa
    My daughters science fair experiment this year was testing whether washed or unwashed eggs hatch better in her incubator. She got a Hova-Bator 1602N for Christmas. Since her science fair timed perfectly with the excitement of getting the incubator we pulled both projects together. I have told a couple people about this and they seemed interested so I thought I'd share with everyone.

    We got 24 eggs from a local seller. They were a little dirty but it looked like actual dirt and not animal waste. They were all a day old at the most and she only had 1 rooster so they all have the same dad. My daughter divided them into two groups, one went straight into the incubator and the others were rinsed with a bleach water solution. They were divided up randomly except for one that had a crack, figured just to be safe that one should be in the washed group. It did hatch just fine so it didn't through the numbers off either. Heat and humidity were kept at good levels. we kept the heat between 100 and 100.5 F and the humidity around 50% up until day 18 when it went to 80%. We kept the eggs divided on two sides so the dirty ones wouldn't touch the clean ones and always handled the clean eggs first. The eggs were turned manually 3 times a day at 8 hour intervals and when the eggs were turned we also turned the lid of the incubator so the heating element wouldn't cause discrepencies between the two groups either.

    It took us a while to figure out how to candle them but we finally figured it out. At day 18 1/2 we candled all the eggs for lockdown. By this time 3 had been removed for not growing. One was from the unwashed side and 2 were from the washed side. They hatched on day 21 and 22. The washed side had only one egg that had started to pipped but died before hatching. Overall 9 out of 12 (75%) hatched. The unwashed eggs had 2 that pipped and died and 3 that just never pipped at all and were thrown out on day 24. Only six of them hatched and 2 of them needed help because they started hatching and then stopped for a long time. The hole was big enough to see them breathing less and less but no change so after 8 hours we intervened. They both had weird toes but we booted them with band-aids and they are fine now. Overall 6 out of 12 (50%) hatched but two wouldn't have without intervention.

    With these results we will probably wash all of our hatching eggs but would be willing to listen to ideas and input from others. I do have a bachelors degree in a "sort of" science (archaeology) and know that one experiment is definately not definitive. I actually feel really good about the results that we got from the washed eggs for a first hatch. I think keeping the bator by two tropical aquariums probably helped with the temperatue fluctuations other people have had with their hova-bators. The tanks are always 78F and probably stabilize air temps around them. I felt horrible at first about the two chicks that hatched with deformitys, like I was doing terrible animal testing on them, but they look good now. I think we are ready to hatch more expensive chicks now.
     
  2. tnfarmeggs

    tnfarmeggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    This is interesting. I rinse my eggs off in a luke warm water, but have never rinsed with a bleach solution. I would think some of the chemicals would get through the shell.
     
  3. Lark Rise

    Lark Rise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2011
    East Central Georgia
    What was the bleach % in your washing solution?
     
  4. BerrytangleFarm

    BerrytangleFarm British and Scandinavian Poultry

    Very interesting experiment.

    And, finally, someone only a couple counties away from me! We're in North Kitsap. So nice to know there's others around here we can connect with!
     
  5. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    I actually wear rubber gloves whenever I touch my eggs, but have two in now, one was washed and one was not. Both are doing good.
     
  6. DawnM

    DawnM Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2010
    Tacoma, Wa
    We scoured the internet and sent some e-mails to universities to try to find out how the hatcheries wash their eggs. The bleach method came up a lot. It's 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon water heated to about 110F. It actually seemed to make a lot of sense to me because I have had to maintain swimming pools and you'll be amazed at how fast bleach will evaporate. I didn't think it would leave much chemical to soak through the pores. We washed our hands with antibacterial hand soap each time we turned but neither my daughter or I do well in winter with dry skin so I'll probably just have her wear rubber gloves next time, her hands crack and bleed without the constant hand washing anyway.
     
  7. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    that's really interesting. I'll definitely try it with my next batch!
    it might not be 'reliable' as such, but hey, if the big chicken farms do it, then someone must have found it to be.
    great experiment, tell your daughter she's a clever lil chicken [​IMG]
     
  8. Cranman

    Cranman Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2010
    Sanford NC
    Good info! With all the opinions around at least you have one test that seems to confirm if nothing else the washing didn't seem to hurt! Thanks!
     
  9. rarely bored

    rarely bored Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2011
    Central California
    Very Interesting! Thank you for taking the time to post this!
    It would be great to run the test 5 or 6 times to see how repeatable your results are.
    If my incubator ever gets here, I'll have to see if I can have similiar results, although I'll use Grapefruit seed extract instead of bleach.
     
  10. tnfarmeggs

    tnfarmeggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    Quote:Oh would love to know the results of that. I am not that fond of the whole bleach thing. The big chicken farms might use it but they also keep their chickens penned up and shoot them up with shots too.
     

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