Storing before incubating


11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
Greetings my fine feathered friends:

I am attempting to incubate and hatch some chicken eggs (Rhode Island Reds, White Silkies, and mixed breed) I would like to incubate about a dozen. I am only getting one or two per day from my chickens now. How can I store the eggs for about 12 days until I put them into the incubator?

While I've got your attention, what type of gloves or cloth do you recommend that I wear while handling the eggs?

Last but not least, how do I clean the egg after retrieving it from beneath the chicken's posterior?

Thanks A Bunch!

Hi Jim, and welcome!

Store the eggs at as close to 50 degrees as you can, but not cooler--don't put them in the fridge! If you can lay them flat, in a natural position, that's great. Otherwise, put them in an egg carton with the pointy end DOWN (large end UP) (and leave the lid off). Tilt the egg carton so that it is slanted one direction, then change the slant once or twice a day. You can just prop it up on any old block or whatever you have lying around the house. So far, I've always stored at room temp and my hatch rates have been around 60-70%. I am going to try storing at cooler temps and see if I can get my rate up in the 80+ range.

Do not wash the eggs. They should be pretty clean if you've got enough bedding in the nesting boxes. A little dirt is no big deal. They have a natural film on the outside that protects them during incubation--if you wash them, it washes that off and can reduce hatchability.

You don't need to wear gloves. Just wash your hands.

Eggs usually are viable for at least 10 days. You might get lucky and have some still just fine after 12 days (and there's nothing to lose by trying--at worst, you'll have four eggs that are more than 10 days old, and the rest fresher). One thing I've been doing is to go ahead and place the eggs in the incubator one day, and then add the next day's eggs to the batch. I don't know how, but those eggs I place the second day have always hatched right on time with the other eggs--not a day later, as you might expect. I don't think it would work by more than one day, but apparently the eggs are "catching up" somehow on that one day.

Good luck!
Hi Jim

if the eggs are clean do nothing with them, if there is some poop on them just try to wipe off with dry paper towel or light sand paper, you dont want to take off the bloom that on the egg, that helps with no bacteria getting in side the egg.

i dont use gloves

for storing, 10 days in the norm, keep them big side up, air pocket side up, in a dry cool place like a basement, where the temp doesn't change that much, some people will keep them in a refrigerator, but i have read where the temp needs to about 50 to 55

Good luck with incubating
The study I read hear while back said that anything under 14 days to store them at room temp for best hatch rates. Anything longer than 14 days they need to be in the fridge for best hatch rates.

If your incubator has a turner that comes out you can store them in it plugged in an move the turner with the eggs in to the bator when your ready.
I cant give you a accurate time on how old an egg can be bfore it wont hatch. My buddy marked some eggs to use as nest eggs for his young pullets. He was just trying to get them to lay in the nest boxes. to make a long story short, the marked egg was about 2 weeks old when he decided to incubate a few. Without realizing it, he accidently picked up the marked eggs and placed them in the incubator along with the fresher eggs. The marked eggs hatched. I suppose if the conditions are right, you can keep eggs longer than 2 weeks, but I am sure the precentage of actual hatching will drop significantly.

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