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Why do we ( bators ) set our eggs point down? Hens sure don't.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cluckcluckluke, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. How come we, as in incubators, set eggs for incubation pointy end down and yet broody hens set theirs lying on the side?!?!

    I know some bators, especially the small ones also lay the eggs on the side.

    So what's going on here??
    Can I set my eggs the 'natural' way in future in my bator?

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Yes you can. The air cell is in the large end, is where the chick needs to hatch from and is benefited from setting small end down.
    The air cell forms within moments of the egg being laid(as soon as it cools).
    Shipping and handling can disrupt the location of the air cell so setting them pointy end down helps that.
    The majority of eggs are conical and the egg will lay with the large end slightly elevated.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Of course you can. I always place eggs flat in the incubator. Shipped eggs should be incubated in an upright position because they often have damaged or misplaced air cells and by placing them upright you encourage the air cell to reattach and all the air bubbles in the egg to go where it should (fat end). If space is an issue in the incubator you can also place the eggs upright, as this will allow us hatch addicts to squeeze a few more eggs in ;)
  4. Wow, that is actually so interesting. I never knew that[​IMG].
    Thanks so much guys[​IMG].
    I think in future I will do that but as Sumi said....I'm getting addicted myself.lol.

    I always thought that perhaps we had figured out that keeping the egg vertical improved hatch rates, guess not. Unless the air sack is damaged.
  5. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    Mostly, we say that to encourage people NOT to put small-end-up. Naturally, as ChickenCanoe stated, the egg lays on it's side with the large end slightly elevated anyway. To put them pointy end up, would be the opposite of how they lay naturally.

    When using an egg turner, the eggs have to be on end. They don't lay flat in the turner. Same with egg cartons that they may be resting in prior to incubation. So to keep up with nature, and NOT have the small end up, we encourage pointed end DOWN. But laying flat is absolutely fine if there is room for it.
  6. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    Species that are more difficult (less tolerant of errors, mostly) like peacocks and parrots, are usually incubated on their side. You are correct about it being more natural, and might be best for all eggs, but often chicken eggs hatch at nearly 100% of the ones that were fertile, so you aren't going to get a lot of improvement in the hatch rate by laying them on their sides. Others factors are more important, in my experience. Eggs in auto turners on their ends seem to hatch better than ones on their side that are manually turned. I think it's the consistency of turning every 4 hours or so, vs the humans who like to sleep for longer than that at a time.
  7. Yeah my bator is full auto, including it's turner. So would you advise me to continue with placing my eggs pointy end down?
    I might have to test the hatch rate, using both techniques. There would be so many variables but still, could help.lol.

  8. hahah, ye. Whose actually going to get up every 4 hours and tilt it.lol.
    From memory I think my bator turns the eggs 90 degrees every hour!?! Not 4, but I will have to check.
  9. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    What brand incubator do you have? Usually, the way the turner works dictates how the eggs are oriented. The common Styrofoam incubators have turners that keep the eggs vertical, unless you pay for the "goose egg" version. Some other turners have all the eggs laid on their sides. My point is that you pretty much have to use it however the turner expects you to. That's not a bad thing, the turners are very helpful in increasing the hatch rate and you should follow the instructions they come with.

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