How to candle an egg

 Candling an egg is the process of holding a light or candle close to the egg to see the internal contents. It is used to see whether the egg is fertile or not. Examining the color, shape and opacity of egg contents can help a farmer determine if there is a chick inside or not.

Why candle an egg?

Smallholder farmers who incubate eggs to hatch chicks for their laying flock on their farm will need the candles periodically to ensure they are fertilized and growing well. Unfertilized eggs, called "yolks," or embryos that have stopped growing, called "leavers," will rot, stinking up your incubator. They can also burst, contaminating other eggs with bacteria.It is also helpful to check the eggs to see how the embryos are progressing.

If you sell eggs in the small farm, you can candle them to determine their freshness. In this case, you will use a bright light, but just inspect the size of the air bag. Older eggs have larger air sacs. Selling only the freshest eggs is an important part of a small farm egg business , as is proper egg cleaning, collection, and storage .

How to candle an egg

You will need bright light to view your eggs, and your room will need to be dark. Poultry supply or farm supply stores sell egg candling devices, but you can also make your own. Take a 60 watt light bulb and a can of coffee. Make a one inch diameter hole in the top. You can also take a bright flashlight and cover the opening with a piece of cardboard that has a one inch diameter hole cut in the middle.Specialized candling devices like the Ovascope can make the candling process much easier and faster, especially useful if you're hatching a lot of eggs.

  1. Gently pick up one of the eggs and hold it up to the light, without looking directly at the light. 
  2. Hold the larger end of the egg against the light, turning it slowly. 
  3. Look inside the egg to observe the embryo inside.
  4.  Be careful not to hold the egg away from light for too long as you don't want the embryo to get too hot.
  5. When you are finished inspecting the egg, gently return it to its place in the incubator.
  6. Avoid removing eggs from the incubator for more than twenty to thirty minutes.

What to look for

See if you can identify the following parts of the egg:

  • air bag
  • eggshell pores
  • Egg yolk
  • Blood vessels and/or red ring around yellow
  • The embryo itself

The “winners,” or growing fertilized embryos, can be identified by a visible network of blood vessels if you look in the first week or on the seventh day. After that, you can see the eye, a shadow that indicates its body, and maybe even movement.

Embryos that stop growing show a thin red ring around the yolk. They may also show blood spots or streaks, although it may be difficult to distinguish these from growing embryos. Remove them from the incubator.

Thanks for Reading


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