Vegetable oil on hatching eggs?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 9, 2009
Western NC
I've got a question about the care and handling of hatching eggs. I seem to remember reading that you can coat eggs with oil to replace the natural bloom that may be removed if the egg is particulary dirty and must be washed. What I'm thinking is that it was to help regulate moisture and keep the embryo from drying out. I know the whole egg-washing debate is controversial and people can't always agree on it. Maybe I'm way off here, I just can't remember what I read. Would a light coating of oil help protect the egg for incubating or have the opposite effect? I haven't tried this, I'm just curious.
If the bloom is gone from the egg, wouldn't the veg oil slowly start to seep into the egg? I could be totally wrong there, but that was my first thought.
One of the ways people deal with nuisance canada geese populations is by pouring oil on the eggs (taking away eggs will just make them lay a new clutch). The oil supposedly suffocates the eggs so I wouldn't risk oiling your hatching eggs.
Well, I did read that it was a way to control unwanted wild Muscovies too, but I thought that maybe the amount of oil could be a factor. I'd love it if someone had a great "bloom substitute", because I do like clean eggs for the incubator.
I would have to say no don't do that! Reason I think this is because in Wisconsin I believe the DNR coats all of the swan eggs with oil so they do not hatch. Not sure if this is true or not, but that is what I was told a few years back.
I was extremely resistant to the idea of setting dirty eggs--my duck eggs are often FILTHY--but I tried it with one hatch and had a better hatch rate than with washed eggs. So now I just wipe off loose dirt and set the eggs, filth and all.

I wouldn't try the oil--I would think it would plug the pores and suffocate the ducklings. Vegetable oil, and even oil made from animals (which would be from body fat), is nothing like the oil that comes out of the duck's oil gland (which rubs off on the eggs during natural incubation, from contact with the feathers which are regularly coated with that oil during normal preening), nor is it anything like the bloom that naturally coats the egg during the laying process. I would think lanolin would be the nearest substitute, which comes from the hair follicles (or sweat glands--not sure which--it's a by-product of wool production, and it naturally covers wool in the same way that a duck's feathers are naturally covered with oil) of sheep, but I would still be extremely hesitant to coat a hatching egg with it.

If you're determined to try it, you could set a test batch--maybe leave half unwashed, a quarter washed and uncoated, and a quarter washed and coated with whatever substance you want to try. Record the hatch rates and see what you think. If you decide to do that, be sure to post your results here! I'm sure many would be very interested.

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