Would food coloring on the shell affect hatch rates?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Cowgirl71, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    I've heard of putting food coloring just inside a hen's vent to mark her eggs, to know whether or not she's laying. I was wondering if I could use it to mark hatching eggs. Like if I had a flock of hens, but I only wanted to incubate the eggs from certain hens. Could I put food-grade food coloring on the hen's vents to mark my hatching eggs? Will the food coloring on the shell affect hatch rates? Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. kelseygirl707

    kelseygirl707 Dances with Chickens

    Mar 3, 2009
    Lakeport, Ca.
    Quote:I doubt it would hurt them. I mean they do end up with poo on them most of the time, food coloring can't be worse than poo, LOL. [​IMG]
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    I would presume so. It's about the same thing as marking an egg entirely in non-toxic marker. It clogs the pores and eventually allows foreign matter into the egg and less air for the chick inside to breath. I would think, but have no experience in it, that it would drastically reduce fertility rate. This is of course if the food coloring covers half or more of the egg. If it is a small mark, like when marking eggs for their dates, I think it is fine.
  4. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Quote:I've never tried marking hen's vents with food coloring, only heard of it. Would it completely coat the egg? Is there a way to make it only slightly mark the egg?
  5. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    I use red colored water in the bator so I can tell when it's getting low, especially when I put the shelf liner down.. I use a tube and syringe to put the water in the troughs and always end up getting a drop of two on the eggs.. I didn't have a problem last hatch with it and i dont suspect i will have any problems this hatch either...

    Goddess [​IMG]
  6. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Its harmless. Food coloring has been used on an in hatching eggs for years.
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    When I have different breeder's eggs going on in the bator, I would put red and blue food coloring as they are unzipping. That way I will know which is which and tag them later. I've used kid's markers for head markings for that reason too.

    No it will not hurt the shell nor would it affect hatching rates. Make sure it is water base marker or washable non toxic markers.
  8. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    Nope, it wont harm them. I use the food dye in the vents to tell which hen laid which egg and I also mark the eggs with sharpies. Last year almost all my hatches were 100%.
  9. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Thanks for all the help! [​IMG]
  10. hallerlake

    hallerlake Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2010
    Yes, but how does one put the food coloring in the vent? Turn them upside down? Can I do it during the night when they're easier to handle or will the food coloring dry out? Would one need to do it every day?

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