storing fertile eggs - hoping for broody hen

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by robomb, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. robomb

    robomb Chillin' With My Peeps

    72
    4
    101
    Aug 15, 2011
    Northern Vermont
    I heard that storing fertile eggs in the fridge will keep them viable longer than letting them sit out at room temperature. I have a roo and 6 hens, but my roo is causing some noise problems, and I'm going to have to find a nice farm for him when Spring rolls around. I'd like to have a clutch of fertile eggs ready to go as I cross my fingers and hope that one of my girls will go broody. Has anyone tried this Wait-and-See method?
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    36,684
    4,699
    566
    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    Some nice articles on storing hatching eggs and effects, first has a chart for optimal temps to store depending on how long you intend to store them http://www.cobb-vantress.com/produc...hery-management-guide/hatching-egg-management other nice ones http://www.poultryindustrycouncil.ca/pdfs/factsheets/fs_122.pdf and http://www.brinsea.com/customerservice/storage.html and http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00071668008416633#preview and http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/AR9600664.htm Most fridges are a little colder than ideal it seems for the best chance at hatching, but you should still get some, just a lower percentage... you might take a thermometer and check your temps in the vegetable crisper etc, know my fridge really varies from place to place. Humidity is also really important. This time of year I store eggs I want to hatch in an empty bedroom where the temp is usually in the 50's. I usually collect as many eggs as I want to hatch or incubate and replace the oldest ones with newer ones until I either set them, or the broody I am waiting for has committed. If you are not getting rid of your rooster right now, you might do something along those lines, the older eggs you cull from the saved set should still be fine to eat.

    I can never get this link to work, but I thought the white leghorn article on the sex ratios for colder stored eggs was interesting.
    Effect of temperature of storage and age of fowl eggs on hatchability and sex ratio, growth, and viability of the chickens

    MW McDonald

    Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 11(4) 664 - 672
    Published: 1960
    Abstract

    Fertile White Leghorn eggs were stored for periods ranging from 24 hr to 7 days in environments controlled at 40, 60, or 80°F and 70 per cent. relative humidity. The eggs were then incubated, and observations on numbers of incubator clears and dead embryos at 10 days and again at 17 days, numbers of chickens hatched, weight at hatching, sex ratio, weight of pullets at 14 days of age, and mortalities were recorded. Eggs stored at 40 and 60°F showed no effect of age of egg on number of clears, dead embryos, or number of chickens hatched. Eggs stored at 80°F showed a rapid fall in number of chickens hatched with age of egg before incubation, this effect being produced by increases in number of clears and dead embryos. Storage at 40°F produced a lower number of chickens hatched than at 60°F, owing to a higher number of incubator clears. There was no difference in sex ratio between chickens hatched from eggs stored at 60 and 80°F, neither departing significantly from 50 per cent. pullets. However, storage at 40°F produced significantly more pullets than cockerels, 54.6 per cent. of the chickens being pullets. Storage temperature and age of egg did not affect the hatching weight of the chickens, but when 14 days old, pullets from the eggs stored at 80°F were significantly heavier than pullets from the other groups.
     
  3. robomb

    robomb Chillin' With My Peeps

    72
    4
    101
    Aug 15, 2011
    Northern Vermont
    Thank you Kelsie! I was able to put the article name in Google, and the paper popped up! (I work at UVM, which is/was an agriculture college, so access to farming info is readily available :) ). It was actually a colleague of mine who said to store the eggs in the fridge, but I usually keep all my eggs at room temp - never bothered with refrigerating them. However I do want to try and keep a dozen or so that I can set under a broody girl, if I'm lucky enough to have that happen. Right now in Vermont, our outdoor temp is 15 without wind. It's been in the single or below zero temps overnight lately, and I feel lucky that only a few of my eggs have frozen.

    I will try your suggestion of keeping the newest eggs in a closed-off bedroom, which probably is 50 or so, and then rotating them as I get newer eggs. I do this anyway with the ones I eat, so not a problem to rotate them into the spare room. Adding humidity might be tricky, though, since my house is heated with forced hot air and gets very dry. I usually run 2 humidifiers during the winter to keep humidity levels around 50%. I'll move my humidity gauge into the spare room to see how it looks. Not sure I could get the room to be 70% humidity - any ideas on how to boost humidity levels?

    I'm not sure how long Bo (roo) will be around. He's a handsome Buff Orpington, but I may end up making him a stew bird if I can't find a farm for him.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    36,684
    4,699
    566
    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    For upping humidity levels on stored hatching eggs I've seen various methods used/recommended. Using trays of moistened vermiculite or something similar, towels, sponges, with plastic bags/boxes or totes etc, almost like you are using a cold incubator, you just have to be careful you don't get the humidity too high and there is plenty of air exchange. http://books.google.com/books?id=ae... stored broiler eggs and plastic bags&f=false. The other article I was looking for with longer storage http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-635X2012000400003
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by