Today I candled my eggs for the first time. It is a little over a week into the incubation process.
First I washed my hands. I had read that this was important but wondered why. Upon looking it up, I found out that eggs are covered in tiny pores, which are vital to help the egg ‘breath’. The oils in your skin can quite easily clog these pores. After my hands were carefully cleaned, I went into a dark closet with each egg and candled them.
The candler is a small gray cylinder with several LED light bulbs, which illuminate more clearly than regular light. This is because the light is ‘cooler’ (This refers to the color of the light, not the actual heat output.) To candle, you go somewhere dark and set each egg, in turn, on top of the candler. You wrap your fingers around the point where the egg meets the light, in order to eliminate excess light. As the light shines through, the whole interior of the egg lights up. It is a very cool experience the first time you see it. You look into the egg and examine it’s contents.
At first I wondered what you look for. I found out that it is veins in the egg. Movement is also a very good sign. They move because the light irritates them, but just because they don’t move doesn’t mean they are not alive. Three of my eggs were infertile, one from each breed except Indian Runner. Many of the eggs showed a good deal of movement and development. One in particular, a Rouen, is doing especially well. It is beginning to show distinct development of head and feet, and moves a lot. The damaged duck egg I have seems to also be doing all right. I knew how to tell a fertile from an infertile egg, but I wondered about how to tell when an egg died. According to what I found, the key feature is still veins. Also, a red or orange color as opposed to a more yellow one is a very good sign. Movement, of course, is always a good indication. I plan on candling them again in a few days to see more results.
Fertilized Egg (seen when candled) Unfertilized Egg (seen when candled)