Animals | Incubating Eggs

How to Tell if Eggs are Fertilized

Your thinking about incubating some of the eggs that you have collected from your chickens but are they fertilized? This is a something you really want to know before you set up your incubator and your hopes. Here are a couple ways to tell if your eggs are fertilized.

Are your Eggs Fertilized? - Chicken and quail eggs

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You have decided that you want to incubate some eggs, once you have an incubator, it’s time to pick some eggs to incubate. How do you pick eggs?

In order to have fertilized eggs you first need to have a rooster in with your hens. Very important if you want fertilized eggs. Your hens will lay eggs without having a rooster with them.

How to Tell if Eggs are Fertilized

If you are eating your freshly laid chicken or quail eggs, you can look at the yolks of the eggs you are eating. This is our most accurate method for testing our eggs.

Once you crack your egg, look at the yolk. You will see a white dot. If your egg is fertilized you will see a white circle around that white dot. A target.

How to Tell if Eggs are Fertilized - egg yolk with target

Another way to tell if your eggs are fertilized without cracking the egg is to candle them.

The oldest and easiest way to tell if an egg is fertilized is called candling the egg. It is holding the egg up to a very bright small flashlight.

If the egg appears opaque, it is probably a fertilized egg. By opaque, I mean, you can’t really see through the egg or it is much cloudier than all of the other.

Candling an egg for fertilization

Just because an egg is fertile, does not mean it will become a chick. It must be properly incubated by the hen or under an incubator in order to develop into a chick.

Incubation Fertilization Check

After 3-4 days of incubation, you can candle the egg again. You will see that it has started to form–it will look kind of like red veins spreading throughout the egg.

You don’t want to candle the eggs too often as it may interfere with development.

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