What do you think?

The eggs were put into the incubator on Sunday at lunchtime.  cold-and-colder-003

Here they are in front of the candling torch four days later.  Now this is way too early of course  and the wrong way around.cold-and-colder-006

One should candle the egg from the large end where the chick actually grows. Like this. (below) eggs-00378

They recommend waiting seven days, some say 72 hours, but it is fun to see if we can see any changes. Plus the images look kind of cool.

The header image and this one COULD be the embryo sac developing.  Or the blood ring of a dead egg.  Or just  a darkness in the shell. Who knows. I am sure we will all get better at this and I know there are a few of you out there who alreay know how to candle eggs so we will learn from you.

But in a week or so  I do need to isolate and discard any dead eggs, we do NOT want explosions in the incubator.

In the first week of an embryo’s life they are kind of fragile so I have to be VERY GOOD and leave them alone until I get back from California, then we will look at these two again and see if there have been any changes.


This was yesterday. Quite beautiful in a monochrome kind of way.  This did not stop The Cadet and I from doing our work though.


Benjamin (as promised) here are my boots.  Icebug has not paid me to promote these boots  – though I would not mind if they did. But they are solidly made, warm, not waterproof, made for the ice and they keep me on my pins.  Mainly due to the pins in the soles. Not for wearing inside!

I hope you all have  lovely day.

Your friend on the farm



44 Comments on “What do you think?

  1. How exciting to learn how to inspect eggs for viability from afar. I look forward to more lessons from you and the Fellowship. Good morning, C. Glad you are staying on your pins.

  2. I had an egg last week that should have been in incubated – looking at an egg chart it compares to about 6 or 7 days. On the bright side it came from the free range chicken farmers at the farmers’ market, who proudly display pictures of their fields of happy chicken 🙂

  3. Fun to be able to watch your chooks grown in the shell, before they even explode out into madly cheeping activity. Fingers crossed for lots of viable eggs for you…

  4. Good morning, I have just remembered something I wanted to suggest for the Cadet. To help her test freshness of eggs when clearing the barn loft (or chicken house) see http://frugalliving.about.com/od/foodsavings/qt/Test_Eggs_new.htm. Of course she might have already done this in science at school. Perhaps she can demonstrate to her class mates if they haven’t? I tried on a carton of ‘fresh’ shop bought eggs and had to ditch nearly all eggs … grrrrr.
    I have never candled or incubated eggs so I’m keen to follow along with you on the Farmy. Stay on your pins. Laura

    • I will send it to her, thank you! Fancy having a whole carton fail.. eek.. at this time of year all mine (from the barn not the chook house) freeze solid before we find them .. in fact the cold is another reason I will be surprised if we actually have any fertile eggs in the incubator.. but I could not wait!. c

  5. i usually don’t check eggs till end of second week
    chick is easier to see
    i have not had an explosion yet in 40+ yrs of incubating

    • 7 days is our first candling date Ron and again at 17 days – jus in case something died on the way! No explosions here either! Not TOO much in and out of the incubator Cecilia, it messes with the humidity.

      • I have to open the lid to turn them three times a day anyway, however I won’t do any more candling until i get back. c

        • I incubate every year and have about a 80% success rate. I gave up trying to candle because my eggs are too brown to see anything ( I raise Black Copper Marans). But I have never had an explosion, regardless. I think that because they go into the incubator fresh, and are only in there for 21 days, you’re pretty safe they won’t rot and go “boom’! LOL

  6. I had no idea how this was done. I toured a hatchery last year and it was really amazing how it all worked. Which reminds me—-I really should do a post on that visit. 🙂

  7. Thank you. I have known “candling” , but, never, ever have I seen it up close and personal. Perfect header. 🙂
    We have an old, old incubator brought home from my husband’s family’s farm when it was being sold. We use it for an end table .

  8. We’ve tried the egg candling with the two clutches that we have incubated, but not really had much luck. It’s so difficult to see what’s happening in there! We just leave them all in the incubator until they are all just about hatched, and then leave the remaining eggs in there for several more days to make sure they have every chance to hatch if there are still viable. Fortunately we have had no explosions to date. xo

      • Gosh, almost all of them! We had great luck! I think we had about 22 eggs in the incubator and 19 hatched the first time, and about the same success the second time. We have also had great luck hatching guinea eggs too! We do have an incubator that slowly turns the eggs automatically, so we just need to watch the temperature and make sure there is enough water. And then listen for the peeps and watch them hatch. So amazing…every time!!! 🙂

  9. When my husband worked in London, before he retired, he walked from London Bridge station to the Gherkin building. During the winter he always packed his removable shoe studs. Stretchy little things that slipped on the bottom of your shoes like tyre traction-braces. London Bridge can go slippy during the winter, particularly if they don’t salt the surface, so those studs came in very handy. Stay up on your pins, c, – so important. No falling allowed. M xx

    • My son sent me a pair of those too, for my gumboots, anything is better than slippery shoes on the ice AND with traffic only inches away.. he is a sensible fellow.. c

  10. I can remember candling eggs with and for my Grandmother but I can’t remember what to look for that early. That was over 40 years ago, man I feel old saying that. I think the pictured one would have been in the for family use carton and not the to sell to egg customers cartons. Granny’s chickens would have been considered free range nowadays. Back then it was just the way you raised chickens and they were doing their part to keep the farmstead clean.
    While taking the youngest kid to school this morning we saw a couple really vivid sun dogs which immediately made me think of you . Hopefully the sun sticks around all day even if it is dang cold today.

      • I went and looked up our temperature around that time and officially we were at 11 F with a windchill of -2. So cold but not bitterly cold. I’m only a little over an hour southwest of you and usually your temps are colder than ours. I think that the early morning snow shower we had was still in the Bloomington/Normal area, so we had the sun shining through ice crystals from that little squall. They were large, bright and pretty. We were looking directly towards the sun while stopped at the traffic light so I couldn’t miss them.

  11. That’s quite a symbiotic relationship between the Cadet and the egg. Ja?

  12. I remember admiring the little baby chicks sitting under a heating lamp when I was child. I have no idea what happened before that. We had about 50 chicks. My mom would make nests in the barn for the geese and ducks and they would hatch their on offspring.
    Nice pictures of the eggs and boots.

  13. Beautiful and intriguing header and candling photos. I love boots… there are different boots for various situations. It’s always good to know what brands wear comfortably yet are rugged to take what we put them through.

  14. They are some serious boots, just what you need in this weather. The egg photos are fascinating, but I will not be counting chickens before they are hatched. I am in kindergarden when it comes all this learning.

  15. I’ve candled thousands of eggs, working with my 4-H poultry judging teams. Also I raise show bantams and routinely candle eggs. Once you experiment a little, you’ll not have any problem with this. You aren’t going to have an exploder early on, that would be later. Those are usually eggs that sat in the incubator past the due date. Bantam eggs can be candled as early as 4 days, but it takes at least 5 days for large fowl eggs. You will definitely see some veins forming at that stage. If none of the eggs are fertile, it’s a little harder, but if even one IS fertile, you will see the difference. When you’re first learning and you’re not sure of what you see, break the egg into a bowl (as a sacrifice) and check it. By 7-10 days there will be a definite difference between the fertile eggs and the blanks. To help you learn, mark the eggs you think are fertile from your first examination at 4 or 5 days, then see if you were correct later. The smallest minimag lites work best for me, they concentrate the beam of light. The most critical time with a foam incubator is about 3 days before hatch. You’ll often have live embryos up to that point, then they don’t hatch. If you wait a couple days past the hatch date and don’t see any movement in them, break them out and see what’s going on.

    • Thank you Jan, excellent info. I look forward to finding a fertile one so I can compare.. we will see when i get home I guess .. at that point we will be at two weeks..I love learning.. many thanks.. c

  16. Pingback: February landscape, Illinois | Vivinfrance's Blog

  17. I learn the most amazing things while drinking coffee early in the morning… but I have to stop thinking about this before I make my breakfast eggs!

  18. The photos of the eggs are superb. I think the top one should definitely be ear-marked as a calendar or postcard photo. Fascinating to see you peeping inside the eggs. I’d never heard of candling before. Does this mean it used to be done with an actual candle?

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