Animals | Chickens

Choosing Eggs for Incubating

Sure you can take every egg from your chicken nesting box and put them in the incubator. You aren’t going to get great results going that route though. When we incubate we want excellent results and hatch healthy birds. That’s why choosing eggs for incubating is important.

chicken eggs and quail eggs on white background with text overlay

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Choosing Eggs for Incubating

If you’re using your own from your existing flock this won’t be as much of a problem. You know your hens, you know they’re well cared for and given optimal conditions so they lay the best eggs.

But there are still a few things to consider.

Age of Eggs

Ideally, they should be put into the incubator seven days or less after laying. Fertility starts to fall after that and hatch rates are therefore likely to be lower. 

Condition of Eggs

Sometimes eggs aren’t all that clean even when you try hard to keep a clean nesting box. I have some hens who seem to be against having anything in their nesting box and then their eggs get dirtier than I would like.

You cannot wash eggs you plan to incubate. This will wash away the bloom and allow bacteria to get into the egg. If possible, scrape it off with a fingernail. This leaves the ‘bloom’ on the outside of the shell intact, and that protects it from bacteria.

coturnix quail eggs in carton

Shape of Eggs

One other thing to consider is the shape of the eggs you collect. When choosing from a group of eggs, pick those with a ‘normal’ shape. If it looks too long, it’s rounded at both ends, it looks porous when candled or it’s pitted, try to choose one with a better shape.

I have had amazing success with what I call football eggs, but that is not always the case.

One exception to this is the Marans egg. These tend to be rounded at both ends and are perfectly good for hatching.

Picking Coturnix Quail Eggs for Incubation

When you are looking to hatch jumbo Coturnix quail an important thing to look for is the size of the egg. Jumbo eggs are those that are 14 grams or larger. This is something to keep in mind if you are looking to hatch true jumbo Coturnix quail.

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