Selecting eggs for incubation

indianaducks

Songster
Feb 4, 2021
355
698
148
Would eggs laid in the winter be less likely to hatch? I collect them by 8am every morning, so they've only been outside for a few hours at most. We have cold temps here in the winter (below freezing) so I assume that's not going to lead to decent hatch rates (even when collected within a few hours)?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,306
23,653
907
Southeast Louisiana
Would eggs laid in the winter be less likely to hatch?
Trying to think of the issues that you might have. Cold is an obvious one. That depends on how cold they actually get near the middle where the embryo is. That will be a function of the actual temperature and how long they are exposed to that temperature. I'm having trouble getting my head around you getting eggs that early if you are in Indiana. That is barely daylight.

I'm not sure if you are talking ducks or chickens but the principles should be the same. I remember a thread where chicken breeders were talking about winter hatching, they needed to hatch early so their chickens would be a good age for a specific chicken show they were entering. Some said they experienced lower fertility in the males in winter, others didn't. There was also some discussion on lower fertility during molting. Again, some experienced it, some didn't. No one was sure why.

Are you feeding them differently? It's not just about protein, hatching eggs are affected by various nutrients. Professional breeders use a special feed for the breeding flocks to get an edge. On the scale that they hatch a small difference in hatch rate percentage can make a difference in how many chicks they get. On our scale it's usually not noticeable but they do need a balanced diet.

When I was in Northwest Arkansas I collected chicken eggs to hatch in January, sometimes in freezing weather. I was retired so I was home to collect them several times a day. I had some really good hatches and some that were not great. But the same thing could happen if I collected hatching eggs in April or May during really nice weather.

I don't know what your goals are. Why would you want to hatch now? How would a reduced hatch rate affect those goals? I needed to hatch in January/February so I would not run out of meat in early summer. The number of eggs that hatched determined when I needed to start my second incubation. Usually I got enough that I could wait on the nicer weather and often wait on broody hens.
 

indianaducks

Songster
Feb 4, 2021
355
698
148
Trying to think of the issues that you might have. Cold is an obvious one. That depends on how cold they actually get near the middle where the embryo is. That will be a function of the actual temperature and how long they are exposed to that temperature. I'm having trouble getting my head around you getting eggs that early if you are in Indiana. That is barely daylight.

I'm not sure if you are talking ducks or chickens but the principles should be the same. I remember a thread where chicken breeders were talking about winter hatching, they needed to hatch early so their chickens would be a good age for a specific chicken show they were entering. Some said they experienced lower fertility in the males in winter, others didn't. There was also some discussion on lower fertility during molting. Again, some experienced it, some didn't. No one was sure why.

Are you feeding them differently? It's not just about protein, hatching eggs are affected by various nutrients. Professional breeders use a special feed for the breeding flocks to get an edge. On the scale that they hatch a small difference in hatch rate percentage can make a difference in how many chicks they get. On our scale it's usually not noticeable but they do need a balanced diet.

When I was in Northwest Arkansas I collected chicken eggs to hatch in January, sometimes in freezing weather. I was retired so I was home to collect them several times a day. I had some really good hatches and some that were not great. But the same thing could happen if I collected hatching eggs in April or May during really nice weather.

I don't know what your goals are. Why would you want to hatch now? How would a reduced hatch rate affect those goals? I needed to hatch in January/February so I would not run out of meat in early summer. The number of eggs that hatched determined when I needed to start my second incubation. Usually I got enough that I could wait on the nicer weather and often wait on broody hens.
I was mostly just curious. I just hatched 6 ducklings on Saturday and now want more LOL. I prefer to raise them now as opposed to later in the spring. I'm home most of the winter and can take care of them in the brooder. Once spring hits, I have dog shows on weekends so its harder to have ducklings in the brooder then and would rather have them just about ready to move outside by then.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
5 Years
Apr 13, 2016
3,131
5,149
411
North-Central IL
Males need 16 hours of daylight for good fertility, just like the hens need it for good laying.

Depending on how cold the eggs get, that could bring your success rate down a bit. I've done winter hatches with eggs that sat out in the cold for a few hours and still had chicks though, so if you're getting at them quickly it shouldn't be too bad.
 

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