Why no washing/disinfecting eggs?

Gypsy07

Songster
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
2,286
54
193
Glasgow, Scotland
Hi again! Thought I'd pop back in with a quick update. Thanks BlackSheep and Muggs for your advice/ideas. My coop is only 6'x8' and the nesting boxes are jut 18" from the pop hole, so no chance of being able to make my hens walk through lots of pine shavings on their way to the boxes. It's just been really wet here for the last month or so and everything is terribly muddy. What I have been doing to get cleaner eggs is refreshing/replacing the shavings in the nest boxes constantly and collecting eggs more often. It's been working reasonably well and the last six eggs I collected this week have been much cleaner. No more crusty poo!

My incubation is now on day 16 with my original eight grubby eggs that I rinsed off but didn't disinfect. I thought some of them maybe had blood rings in them but I was thankfully just imagining things. 6/8 were fertile and of those six, all seem to be progressing normally. Of the six cleaner eggs I collected this week, I washed and disinfected three and left the other three with the protective bloom on them. I marked them so I know which is which, and set them this morning. Mini experiment time! I know it's not exactly scientific and that to properly compare washed vs. unwashed eggs you'd have to run two separate bators, but I'm very interested to see if the original grubby eggs hatch out okay, and how they compare with the cleaner eggs, and the disinfected eggs. The staggered hatch makes things more complicated, but I'll do my best.

I shall let you know what happens...
 

Muggsmagee

Menagerie Mama
10 Years
Dec 15, 2009
4,493
41
236
Central NY
Quote:Good for you! I switched a bunch of breeders around last month and they weren't laying in their nesting boxes. I reluctantly washed 17 eggs. 12 hatched yesterday, 2 were quitters, 2 more are still working on getting out. The other one was the VERY first ROTTEN egg I've ever gotten.
I really wish I didn't open that one up. I have another 60 more unwashed eggs in another bator going strong, and around 25 washed.
 

Gypsy07

Songster
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
2,286
54
193
Glasgow, Scotland
LOL! 12/17 is a better hatch rate than I've EVER got, clean eggs or not! Hoping my own eggs will show a vast improvement in hatch rates as up till now I've been hatching shipped eggs and it's never been all that successful. Congratulations on the chicks, commiserations on the rotten egg. At least I've never had one of those yet!
 

Gypsy07

Songster
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
2,286
54
193
Glasgow, Scotland
Hi again! My staggered hatch went on a bit longer than I expected as I accidentally kinda set ten more eggs halfway through it. I'm all done now and it was interesting. From the first six rinsed eggs, I hatched 5 chicks. All very healthy. The one that didn't hatch was fully developed but didn't pip internally. After that the next two hatches were a mix of unwashed, rinsed and bleached eggs and were much less successful. I had a high percentage of fully developed but non-pipped chicks. This could have been simply due to the incubator being filthy inside, or it could have been down to big fluctuations in humidity, as I raised it to 75% for lockdowns while other eggs were still in the early stages of development, then dropped it afterwards to compensate. Anyway, I did notice a big difference in my hatch rates. The bleached eggs hatched out better than the rinsed eggs, and MUCH better than the unwashed eggs.

Edited to add full results here if you want the full breakdown: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=443630

It
started as a staggered hatching experiment and ended up being as much about washing the eggs as anything...
 
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wingspan

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 30, 2012
14
0
22
new laid eggs have a bacterial layer that protects the eggs against other bacteria, in addition to a protective film, this is important if the hen incubates the egg itself,,,, But in an incubator, this is dangerous, when temperatures and climate make the bacteria grow uninhibited, I always wash eggs on the day it comes out of the hen,, ( vircon c and hot water, max 2 minutes does not rinse eggs in water, water is not clean), I use surgeon gloves when I handle eggs ( no sanding away dirt,, do not incubate eggs whit dirt spots)

for large incubator I use hot steam 300 C (3 times the boiling Temperature) for half an hour, then spray the I with a 5% vircon c solution, I do not wash away the cleaning agent, the eggs will take no damage, wash with chlorine or peroxide is also a good solution, Incubators MUST always be washed before use,,,, bacteria and viruses grow quickly in damp and warm climate,,, bacteria walking easy through the eggshell, if scientists want to grow a virus or a bacterium, they use a incubator for this,,, Egg is a medium they infect, which nourishes the bacteria,, including Anthrax are grown in an incubator,,, cleanliness is a very critical factor for a high hatch rate,, You can not see if a incubator is clean




Happy Hatch
 

Chixndastix

Hatching
Apr 3, 2018
2
0
2
Hi. I am too new to this to have a Chickatar. (...Is that what you call them, here?) I have never kept chickens, and I will attempt my first ever incubation next week. So I know... yeah, that much, here. But...
I have a couple thoughts to throw out there.
As I understand it, chickens have an oil gland near the tail with which they groom their feathers. Oils are fatty acids. Many fatty acids are able to encourage the growth of specific microbes. Presumably, the oils on a hen's feathers (and her innards' population), are perfectly suited to assisting any 'bloom' or microbiome specific to hatchable eggs. (To facilitate the degree of viable offspring numbers allowed by the genetics in any prey animal). If we are 10% our 'own cells' and 90% our 'microbiome's cells', I assume the chicken and her eggs are similarly blessed by being outfitted to survive the wild, human domestication, and, maybe even a little, factory-style production by such biological and balanced armor.
That said, my new incubator and mail-ordered hatching eggs are seeing an interruption of the life cycle that created that specific protection. Will there be unfriendlies in the microbes that are introduced by this? Undoubtedly. Would the eggs benefit by their mothers' voice, vigilance, nudges and microbiome? Also without a doubt. Is the new disturbance such that the balance of 'good germs' outstrips the 'bad germs'? It seems by the mixture of results that it's a close race.
I will probably help things out gently with a warm(er) bath in distilled water and a squirt of hydrogen peroxide. I am not sure, though.
I will definitely invest in a Silkie or four, and maybe even pluck a couple oily feathers for use caressing, oiling, and reseeding the dry and ready to incubate eggs if I use the thing again in the future.
Also, I will play them music of some kind.
Any suggestions?
Spa type stuff, or sqawky metal?
 
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susan-marjorie

In the Brooder
Jan 27, 2020
12
39
33
I've been trying to decide about washing / disinfecting hatching eggs. They are being shipped and I'll be incubating them in the house. I would like to think disinfecting is not necessary, but the fact that the hen doesn't disinfect with human-made chemicals isn't really satisfactory for me... many things about bringing the eggs into my house and the whole process do change the game. And let's not leave out the fact that in the wild a high percentage of animals die and an infection is "natural causes." And, of course, I'd like to tip the scales in favor of my chicks surviving, even if the extra step could be considered not necessary. So, I'm going to disinfect.

After spending my life working in natural medicine, however, I don't buy it that we have to use toxic lab-created chemicals, there are terrible problems associated with their manufacture and use. Hydrogen peroxide is relatively safe so I was going to use that, but then I found some articles which discuss using essential oil solutions (1%) in which studies found the results comparable to those of a control (conventional disinfectant) group. The compounds in these plants are extremely complex and powerful, and I have used them for many other purposes, so I'm going to try them for my hatch. After all, something that kills microbes is something that kills microbes, so why not use the one that's not toxic? Check out these articles if you're interested... and I will be back to say how it went! Wish me luck ☺



 

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