How do you know if an egg won’t hatch?

Answered by Jason Smith

When it comes to determining if an egg won’t hatch, there are a few key indicators to look out for. One of the most common methods is candling the egg, which allows you to see the progress of the embryo inside. Candling involves shining a bright light underneath the egg to illuminate the contents and examine its development.

To begin the candling process, find a dark room where you can easily see the light shining through the egg. It’s important to note that candling should only be done after a few days of incubation, as it can be difficult to see any changes in the early stages.

When you’re ready, hold the egg gently and position the bright light source, such as a flashlight or a specialized candling device, beneath the larger end of the egg. This is where the air cell is located, and it’s easier to see the contents from this perspective. Slowly rotate the egg while observing the illuminated area to get a comprehensive view of the developing embryo.

During candling, you’ll be looking for several signs that indicate the egg won’t hatch. Here are some of the key observations you might make:

1. Infertile Egg: If the egg appears completely clear or translucent, without any signs of development, it is likely infertile. Infertile eggs will not have any visible veins or a dark mass inside.

2. Blood Ring: Sometimes, a fertilized egg will show a blood ring during candling. This is a circular ring of blood vessels that may indicate early embryo death. The blood ring usually appears as a dark, irregular shape surrounding the air cell.

3. No Veins: In a viable, developing egg, you should be able to see a network of veins extending from the embryo. If there are no visible veins or if they appear to have stopped growing, it may be a sign that the embryo has stopped developing.

4. Floating or Unstable Air Cell: As the egg ages, the air cell inside will grow larger. If the air cell is unusually large or unstable, it may indicate a problem with the egg’s viability. A floating air cell, where it moves freely within the egg when gently shaken, can also suggest the egg won’t hatch.

5. Foul Odor: While candling alone cannot detect this, a foul odor coming from the egg may indicate bacterial contamination or spoilage, suggesting the egg won’t hatch.

It’s important to note that candling is not a foolproof method and requires some experience to accurately interpret the signs. It is also worth mentioning that not all eggs will hatch, even if they initially show signs of development during candling. Various factors can contribute to unsuccessful hatching, such as genetic abnormalities or environmental conditions.

Candling is a valuable technique to determine if an egg won’t hatch. By examining the embryo’s development, the presence of veins, and the condition of the air cell, you can make an informed assessment of an egg’s viability. However, it’s crucial to remember that candling is just one tool in the overall process of incubation, and further observations and considerations may be necessary to reach a definitive conclusion.