How to handle eggs?


The Crazy Chicken Lady
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
upstate SC
Okay, I know that sounds odd but I would like to have a better hatch rate on my hatching eggs. DD says I touch them too much but how do you avoid that when you are gathering and then later candling?

I do not use an incubator, I use my broody hens. My first few batches were great but the last 2 were terrible. The hens have almost fresh shavings in their nests as they always dig out the very fresh stuff.

Is there web sites that tell you more about how to touch the eggs and handle them when collecting and candling? I wash my hands before I touch them. Should I use latex gloves? I think I did that with my first batch but it's been a long while and I'm not so sure now.
I know about large eggs, small eggs, cracked eggs and have visited many sites on candling. But I just haven't read much about touching the eggs.
Is it really so simple as just clean hands?


Mad Scientist
11 Years
Jun 1, 2008
Are they your eggs or shipped? I use an incubator with shipped eggs. I handle my eggs a lot(probably every other day to candle) and I don't do anything special. If they are shipped eggs then it happens, you will have bad hatch rates sometimes. If they are your eggs I would be concerned about messing with the broody too much rather than your handling being the problem. Also the environmental factors come into this. I had local eggs but fertility declined with the weather and this roo for a short time. What I am getting to is there are a lot of factors that come into play when hatching chicks. How often are you handling the eggs? What is your weather like? Are you sure all of your eggs are even fertile? I know some people with broodys only candle once, some never. If they are not shipped eggs then I would leave your broody alone and let her do her job


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
When I've used a broody hen in the past I don't candle. I think the less you disturb them the better. The hens usually seem to know when an egg is bad and push it out of the nest.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jan 30, 2007
I do the same as Katy, I do not handle or candle eggs that are under a Broody hen. A hen knows what she is doing.


11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
Northern Colorado
Most of the time when you read about handling eggs they tell you to not touch them with your hands as oils and residue from your hands may clog pores and not allow the egg to breath properly.

I have handled mine with bare clean hands for a long time and have had no problems. I make sure I have no oil, shampoo lotion or anything like that.

The recommendation is to handle them with clean cotton gloves for this reason. The reason I stopped wearing those is I dropped a couple, they are kind of slick so I went back to bare hands.

I do try to handle mine with my fingers on the ends so that I dont get my hands all over the egg.

I hope this answers your question.

I would personally stay away from latex as many many people have develped severe allergies to latex and the fine powder that they are normally packed with. I would guess vinyl would be ok, but the reccomendations I have read call for cotton

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