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Culling Eggs

A basic fact of incubating eggs is that not all eggs will be fertile. Of the ones that are, not all will hatch. You will find lots of hype about how you must candle the eggs so you can find these eggs an throw them out. If you don't they will go bad an explode, contaminating the incubator an all the other eggs.

There are some problems with this thinking.

One big problem is the assumption that a infertile egg or a egg that quit growing is more likely to get bacteria in to it an blow up than a egg with a growing chick in it does. This is not really the case. So what if you start out with 10 eggs in the incubator an you candle at day 14 an decide that 5 have ether quit growing or were not fertile. So if you throw those 5 out are you less likely to have a egg go bad? Yep, you have cut your chances that a egg will go bad by half. The same half you would have cut your chances by if you had kept those 5 an thrown away the 5 that had growing chicks in them.

Another assumption that people have is that eggs go bad a lot. This is not really true ether. Very very few good, clean, fresh eggs will ever go bad in the 21 days of incubation. Most eggs that do go bad are ether cracked, dirty or old.

People also assume that because you can see inside a egg by candling that it makes it the best way to cull eggs. Debatably it can be for a expert but its not for a first timer. Candling is like reading a ultrasound. Anyone can learn to do it but no one is going to do it right the first time with no training. Someone has to train you to do it and/or you have to learn from experience.

Candling has its place. It helps to know the size of the air sack to know how to adjust the humidity an ventilation. Just better to forget the bottom half of the egg till you have a few hatches under your belt.

So how should a beginner cull eggs? The best way is smell. Any egg that is going bad will start putting off a smell. Its a smell that cant be mistaken. If you smell the vents in the incubator every day you will catch any bad eggs way before they are in any danger of exploding. If the vents have a bad smell you take all the eggs an smell them one at a time. This way you can easily pick out the bad eggs an throw them away.

Some people also like to cull clear eggs an the ones that died at day 18 to make more room for the eggs that will hatch. Even for the beginner, at day 18 its pretty easy to candle an tell clear eggs from eggs filled with chicks. Eggs that died are a little harder. But you can also tell by the heat the eggs put off.

Many big hatcherys cull eggs completely by temperature. They use a thermal imaging camera to do this. But you don't have to be that high tech. If you take the eggs out of the incubator for about 5 minutes the clear eggs an the ones that have died will start to cool. The growing chicks on the other hand create there own heat at that point so they don't cool very fast. They also are warmer to start with. If you palm each egg you can tell the live chicks from the eggs that are not. The live eggs will feel hot, like your forehead does when you have a fever. The clear eggs an the ones that have died will feel about like your forehead does when you don't have a fever.

At the end of a hatch when you think all the eggs that will hatch have, you can use the same heat test to make sure.

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