How long can you keep eggs before incubating??

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LauraLee, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. LauraLee

    LauraLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2011
    Bimble, KY
    I know this has probably been asked a million times, but I am new and could not find the answer, so please answer this one again, thanks.

    How long can you keep an egg before it has to go into the incubator? I have ordered some eggs and my tray holds 12, but I am receiving extra because of shipping. Can't stand the thought of having to decide which one to ditch, would love to keep them all. But afraid the 21 day wait will be too long. My 'bator will hold more, but then I couldn't use the tray and would have to turn them manually. I am very willing to do this, if needed.
    So any and all answers will be read, considered, and more than greatly appreciated!! [​IMG]
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This article talks about storing eggs for incubation. I think it would help you to read it.

    Texas A&M Incubation site

    Basically, you can store eggs for a week without any big problems, and with a little extra care for two weeks without a huge drop in hatchability. The closer to ideal conditions you store them, the longer you can store them. But after two weeks, hatchability starts to drop.

    I would not keep them three weeks, even if perfect conditions. You might get some to hatch, but I think the odds of a really bad hatch rate are just too high. You could possibly start one group and hatch them, then start the others, but then you have two different brooders to worry about.
  3. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    I have incubated eggs that were stored (in good conditions) for 3 weeks and had a good hatch.
    I saw a thread here at BYC with someone incubating eggs 5 weeks old (good conditions), but out of about 30 only one hatched.
    I also had once a similar problem so I overcrowded the bator (removed the autoturner) and had a good hatch too.
    When overcrowding the eggs ventilation is a problem towards the end of the incubation period, do you have a fan?
    I think it's better to hand turn the eggs than wait 3 extra weeks. (I assume the eggs were laid a few days ago, so you might be entering the fourth week).
    Good Luck!
  4. LauraLee

    LauraLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2011
    Bimble, KY
    Thanks for the URL I printed it out for future reference. And also it mentions candling, I am familiar with that, I remember how my dad used to do it on the farm. Is there any way that I could possibly candle them before incubation to see which are fertile? It says in the article that you can candle pretty easily at 8 days, should or could I wait till then, and then possibly replace the nonfertile with the extras? I could mark them so I would know they were gonna be late to hatch, but then I would have to hand turn them for the days that the other ones were setting waiting to hatch. What is your idea on that one? LOL
    Just grasping for ways to keep them all I guess, it's just hard to pick which ones to discard, when I know that they are gonna be all different colors![​IMG] And I don't want to give up any of them.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated!!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Candling doesn't reveal fertility. Only breaking open or set eggs and incubae for 5-7 days then candle.

    I would candle the eggs and pick the 12 with the least damage. No cracks, air cells ok, and the like. Can you effectively set all and remove the quitters by day7? I don't know the model, so my suggestion may not be feasible.

    I kept eggs for about 3 weeks waiting for incubator to finish a batch and of those 30+ eggs only 3 hatched. THe recommendations are 7 days for a reasonably good hatching %.

  6. LauraLee

    LauraLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2011
    Bimble, KY
    Quote:Arielle what I am using is a Brinsea Mini Advance, it comes with a tray for regular chicken eggs that holds 6, and then the one I'm using the Mini tray that holds 12. Now, I can place more eggs in, if I want, but I would have to remove the turning tray and turn them myself. But if I can candle with good results at 5-7 days, then I could go that route, then if I lose any I could place the tray back in where the turning could be set for the machine to do.

    What would you suggest to be the day that I would know for sure even with slow developement, that they are for sure fertile? You sound to be very educated in this matter, so I'm gonna rely on your suggestion. How many days till I can know for sure which ones are developing? [​IMG] I just don't want to make any mistakes and maybe throw away a good one, since I already know that when you get your eggs shipped you can lose a few anyway.
    Thanks for all your help, I'll be waiting to hear from you.
  7. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    I would put them all in and hand turn them if you come unless some die after few days and you are left with only 12. Adding eggs after a week will leave you with two different lockdown dates, which is a bad thing.
    Good luck!
  8. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    Quote:At day 5 you can easily tell if an egg is developing or not, but you can wait until day 7 before you discard the eggs. Look at the candling pictures in the sticky threads.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Storage time—Ideally, eggs should be set in the incubator as soon after gathering as
    possible to maintain egg quality. If eggs are to be stored before incubation, the best
    hatchability occurs when eggs are stored for less than 7 days from the time they were laid.
    However, some species are more sensitive to storage than other species. Hatchability
    decreases rapidly in eggs held in storage for more than 10 days. Storing eggs longer than
    2 weeks also can extend the normal incubation time as much as 1 day.
    Temperature and humidity during storage—Fertile eggs should be stored at a
    dry bulb, normal temperature between 55 degrees F and 65 degrees F, or 13 degrees C
    and 18 degrees C. Embryos will begin to develop abnormally, weaken and die if the
    temperature is too high. A low temperature also causes high embryo mortality. Storage
    temperature should never exceed 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) and never go below 46
    degrees F (8 degrees C). Egg storage at room temperature or at normal refrigerator temperatures
    (32 degrees F to 40 degrees F) is not acceptable because hatchability decreases.
    A refrigerator can be used to store eggs if the temperature is properly adjusted to the
    recommended temperatures. Eggs should be stored in a refrigerator dedicated to egg
    storage because these temperatures are not low enough to safely store food. Storage
    temperature should be reduced to 50 degrees F or 55 degrees F if eggs must be stored more
    than 2 weeks. Holding eggs for more than 10 days reduces hatchability. However, chukar and
    turkey eggs are an exception. Chukar eggs have been stored 3 weeks to 4 weeks without
    appreciable loss in hatchability.
    1 person likes this.
  10. georgiagail

    georgiagail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Laura...Like you, I have the Brinsea mini advanced; if you can be around to hand turn the eggs for the first 5 to 7 days you can discard any that are infertile and (if 12 or less), replace the tray then and reset the Brinsea to the remaining days left for incubation (remember to program the autostop to stop the turning 2 days before hatch).

    I "solved" the issue of too many eggs by buying a second Brinsea mini advanced but that's probably not a financially intelligent decision [​IMG][​IMG]


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