Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - Egg Hatchability

Backyard Poultry Forum

Chickens, waterfowl & all poultry - home of exhibition & backyard poultry in Australia & New Zealand
Login with a social network:
It is currently Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:14 pm

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Egg Hatchability
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:25 pm 
Offline
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 8:44 am
Posts: 31480
Location: Morayfield, SEQ
When our hatch rates are low even when conditions seem perfect during incubation, we need to go back to the egg quality to see if improvements can be made. The quality of the eggs set can be a huge factor. This information may prove interesting or useful.

Hatchability – Egg Quality

When collecting fertile eggs for incubating, bear the follow in mind:

A. Collect eggs in season when the days are long and light.
B. Breed from healthy birds.
C. Feed breeders a top quality diet.
D. Collect clean eggs from clean nests.
E. Store eggs in cool dark place with point end down.
F. Rotate stored eggs twice daily
G. Highest hatchability is from eggs less than 7 days old.
H. Handle eggs very gently.


Just because an egg is fertile doesn’t mean that it’s going to hatch. Many eggs don’t hatch because of incubation problems, but there’s many more that don’t hatch because they possess defects or deficiencies.

A poor quality egg cannot be improved after it is laid.

The quality of the egg can be affected by:

1. Age of parent breeders.
2. Genetic inheritance.
3. Health and environment
(housing, season, temperature, light intensity, weather, hygiene, parasites, diseases, medications)

Light stimulates the commencement of breeding in most birds. The reproductive organs are effected and the entire metabolism of the hen is changed to make available the necessary constituents of the egg from her own body. Insufficient light can result in a poor quality egg.

Nutrition in the breeder is also a very important factor, as she must lay an egg that has everything in it that the developing embryo needs. The diet of the hen can affect this. The egg is made up of water, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals and all of these come from the maternal diet. The hen needs the right combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals to produce a good quality egg. If something is missing, she may still lay an egg of poor quality. Other factors such as stress can cause deficiencies also.

Once a good quality egg is laid, they must be uncontaminated, clean and fresh. For optimum hatchability, nest boxes should be clean and dry and eggs collected frequently (ideally 3-4 times daily), dated and stored correctly. Washing can remove the protective bloom and reduce the egg’s viability by providing an opportunity for germs to infiltrate the shell and infect the egg. If you have no choice but to wash an egg, do it gently and quickly using water that is warmer than the egg and dry well before storing. It is better though, to dry clean by wiping with a towel to avoid wetting the egg. Never handle your eggs roughly or with dirty hands – to safeguard their health and hygiene use clean, dry hands and a gentle touch.

Storage: For optimal fertility, eggs that have been stored in a cool dark place with pointy end down, rotated daily, and are less than 7 days old are best. Longer storage – up to 14 days - is possible but requires cooler temperatures (10 – 17C). A practical method is to store them in an egg carton and rest one end on something to keep it higher. Change when rotating. Choose regular sized well formed eggs. Eggs that are excessively large or small, cracked or irregular in any way will have lower hatchability and should not be selected for hatching.

Posted or transported eggs are not ideal, however, if you ordered your fertile eggs through the mail they will need to be kept still (pointy end down) for 12 to 24 hours to settle their air cells prior to being set in the incubator. Wherever you get them from, allow the eggs to warm to room temperature (70-80°F) for 24 hours before you set them in the incubator.

Summarised from:
‘The Incubation Book’ by Anderson Brown
“Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry’ by Leonard Mercia

_________________
image
Backyard Poultry Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Egg Hatchability
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:35 pm 
Offline
Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:49 pm
Posts: 139
Location: Berowra, Sydney
Thats a really helpful article Chicken 07. If my eggs don't hatch I would assume that part of the reason would be due to egg quality (because it is coming into winter so not optimal time for fertility).

Thanks
Rach

_________________
www.crittercottage.blogspot.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Egg Hatchability
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:39 pm 
Offline
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 8:44 am
Posts: 31480
Location: Morayfield, SEQ
It's one of the factors to consider. The time of year makes a lot of difference to my hatch rates. We can't do much about the season, so we're stuck with that, but we can improve breeder rations, parasite loads, clean eggs etc. I posted the article so it could be linked to the A-Z sticky and people can search for it when they need it.

_________________
image
Backyard Poultry Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Egg Hatchability
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:10 pm 
Offline
Champion Bird
Champion Bird

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:18 pm
Posts: 960
Location: newcastle
out of curiosity do you need to turn eggs daily and store them point down?
e.g. could you leave the eggs in a nest in their shed, and would the constant laying of birds in the nest move the eggs enough to keep them viable?

many thanks
jack mac

_________________
many thanks
jack mac


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Egg Hatchability
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:49 pm 
Offline
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 8:44 am
Posts: 31480
Location: Morayfield, SEQ
If eggs are left in the nest the hens do turn them so they would be rotated. Laying them on their side seems to work for broodies for a small number of eggs, although a percentage of eggs don't hatch for broodies as well. When we are collecting eggs for an incubator we are often trying to collect a large numbers of eggs in a short time and it's not always possible to leave them in a nest anyway. Sometimes eggs get dirty when left in the nest, and it depends on the air temperature whether the eggs may get too hot or too cold. There is also the risk of hens cracking or dirtying the eggs with frequent use of the nest. Obviously broodies do hatch out eggs on nests all the time and do a great job, I'm just listing events that affect the success rate. Broodies can have abysmal failures as well and some of these factors are probably the cause.

The advice that's given for egg storage is for eggs out of the nest. The guidelines for temperature of storage seem to matter a lot. From the moment of laying, the egg begins to deteriorate physically, as well as being subject to bacterial attack. It is still hatchable up to a point of deterioration, and beyond that it drops off rapidly. How the egg is stored affects how long the deterioration takes.

The germinal disc has developed to a point when the egg is laid, then development stops when the egg cools after laying. It can stay dormant at that stage for quite some time. At temperatures above 21.1 degrees C growth recommences very slowly, but this growth is weak. Keeping the eggs at or a little above this temperature for a prolonged time and the embryo either dies, or is so weakened that it does not survive when it is incubated. So storing them at higher temperatures is clearly a problem for high hatchability. It means they stay viable for a shorter time.

As far as storing them pointy end down goes - the yolk is slightly less dense than the albumen, which means that it tends to float to the highest point of the egg. If the yolk stays in contact with the shell for any length of time it can stick to it and this can affect hatchability. There seems to be a difference of opinion on whether to store them pointy end down or not. I have stored them on their sides without any problem at all, as long as the turning is done and the other conditions are right. I don't think it makes a lot of difference, despite the fact that many books will tell you to store them pointy end down. I tend to do it that way now as I label the fat end, and that's how they need to go into the incubator in my trays. It's convenient and it works for me.

_________________
image
Backyard Poultry Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Egg Hatchability
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:36 am 
Offline
Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck

Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:42 pm
Posts: 53
Fantastic article thanks I learned so much from this


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
©2004-2014 Backyardpoultry.com. Content rights reserved
freestone