5 Reasons to Reduce Your Egg Candling March 31, 2013

Egg candling can be a most addictive experience.  Years ago, when I first started home incubation, egg candling would begin on the third day, and then happened again nearly every day thereafter until lockdown. I couldn’t get enough.

Secluded in a dark room with a very strong flashlight, I would imagine my pile of eggs developing and hatching into the most beautiful flock that would ever grace my part of the county.  Witnessing the embryo jump and move through the shell during egg candling was almost as exciting as watching my own baby on the ultrasound machine when I was pregnant.  My imagination would not cease until the babies finally hatched and were moved into their brooder… where yet another addiction would take over—chick watching—but that’s another story.  THIS story is about the problems that arose for me when egg candling was done too often.

Candling an egg

Here are five reasons why egg candling too often has caused problems for me:

1. I discarded viable eggs.

I’ve learned that there is really no reason for me to candle an egg prior to the 10th day. If egg candling happens any sooner than that, I might toss an egg that is growing just fine.  If you’ve ever had that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach after opening a “cull” egg just to find a beautiful little chick growing, then you’ll know where I’m coming from.  I also candle a bunch of dark-shelled eggs.  When egg candling it is wayyyy easy to miss a growing baby behind those mahogany shells.  WHEN IN DOUBT, leave it in the ‘bator!

2. I detached fragile air cells.

Shipped eggs bring their own set of rules.  Thousands of dollars and many eggs later, I’ve learned a few things… one of which is that I have far better results if  egg candling doesn’t happen right after they’ve been taken out of the box and unwrapped.

Now I simply give them a good visual inspection and allow them to rest.  Resting means allowing the eggs to sit in the incubator for a few days, big end up, without the egg turner on.  When egg candling happened too early, the extra handling, no matter how gentle I tried to be, often disturbed the fragile air cell.  Now I just leave the darn things alone!  You may think think that’s crazy talk, because conventional wisdom suggests egg candling right away to make sure there are no hairline cracks in the shells that can’t be seen by the naked eye. All I can say is that leaving them alone rather than egg candling that early has increased my shipped egg hatch rate by quite a bit.

3. I contaminated my eggs.

It is always imperative to only handle your hatching eggs with very clean hands.  Over-handling, e.g. over-candling, will increase the potential of an egg getting contaminated from dirty hands, a sneeze or anything else!  Contaminated egg shells create dead chicks or an egg that could explode in the incubator!  Which brings me to this:  Even if you smell a bad egg, it is not necessary to candle.  VERY carefully put each egg to your nose and take a whiff.  You will smell a bad egg quite distinctly, and you can remove it from your hatch without having to candle.

4. I dropped fertile eggs.

It is always a sad day when I drop an egg, even if it’s just headed for the frying pan. Imagine how much more tragic it is when the egg is destined for hatching.  But it gets worse: you can also drop and egg being candled onto the eggs below it!  Talk about a dingbat moment, you should have seen me the day I decimated three eggs that were growing beautifully just because I dropped one during a sneeze (see Rule #3).  I couldn’t have cried more if my dog died!

5. I lost  heat and humidity in my incubator.

Back when I used a homemade and styrofoam incubator, it was always a very worrisome headache trying to keep the humidity and temperature just right.  There were nights I would spend on the floor next to the eggs to try to regulate the heat properly in an uncooperative incubator that became unruly every time I had to open the lid to turn, much less candle.  Adding an egg turner to your incubator, and candling less often, will reduce the number of times you’ll have to fight this battle.   (Bonus tip: Adding a little aquatic tubing so you can easily fill the water reserves will alleviate another reason to open the lid as well.)

Those are the five reasons I’ve reduced my egg candling.

So when DO I candle? Only twice, once at  10 days and again at 18 days.  I candle at 10 days to cull the clears and the obvious quitters, and I can also perform the “sniff test” to detect if any are bad or rotten.  Then I candle again at 18 days to cull any other quitters or bad eggs I might detect prior to lockdown.  The next time I handle the eggs is when nothing can be hurt: during clean up, after the babies have hatched.

That’s why I have “slowed my roll” on egg candling.  Many people may disagree and candle more often, but I can only speak about what works for me. Now, I physically cringe when I read, “I’m on day three. I keep candling but I can’t tell if these eggs are fertile.”  Yikes! Granted, that used to be me, but having hatched literally thousands of chicks at this point, I’m hoping that someone out there will read this post and learn from my egg candling mistakes so they can take advantage of my experience to improve their hatch rates!

CONTEST – Win a Brinsea Ovaview Egg Candler OR 6 Cream Legbar Hatching Eggs–your choice!

If you comment on this post letting us know what recommendations you have for fellow candlers out there (feel free to disagree with me), you will be entered into a drawing  to win a Brinsea Ovaview Egg Candler or six Cream Legbar Hatching Eggs.  Alternatively, please tell us why you’d like to win the Brinsea Ovaview or the hatching eggs .

The drawing is open to US residents only, and ends April 8, 2013. In order to claim your prize, you must respond promptly, within 48 hours, to the email notifying you that you’ve won—so be sure to check the inbox of email address you use to add your comment!

Robin March 31st, 2013

I really want to hatch my own sometime so I really liked this article! I wish I had some candling advice to share though.

Tayton Hollgarth March 31st, 2013

I feel that candling is over rated I don’t candle to the fact that when you are taking eggs in and out of incubator you can kill them if the get too cold

Miranda March 31st, 2013

Very good post. I’ve worked with lots of eggs over the years, and agree, too much handling is not usually good for eggs or new babies. Better to let nature take its course. Currently, I hatch eggs in the classroom to help science students learn about eggs, baby development, and baby chicks. Our hatched chicks go to a fellow teacher’s farm (or to other eager chicken owners). So far we haven’t had any problems finding good homes, and the kids love to see the eggs. If we win – we’d pick more eggs, because we love to hatch babies!

Rose Spencer March 31st, 2013

I do not pick the eggs up when I candle them. I leave them in the tray. The only time I pick them up is when I move them to the hatcher. I candle 3 or 4 times.

Jessi March 31st, 2013

I’m new to incubation but my husband isn’t. He suggested I lay a sponge in the incubator instead of adding & taking away water! Seems to work pretty well

Gwen March 31st, 2013

We love incubating and candling eggs. It is wonderful for my children to be able to see the growth of these aches. It was very stressful for me to keep the incubator at the right settings but letting my children see the baby a developed was wonderful. We I would love to win some eggs and do it all over again.

Jennifer Griffith March 31st, 2013

I only candle a few random eggs to see how everyone is doing. I end up leaving all eggs in the incubator until they hatch. I would hate to make a mistake and discard a good egg.

Frankie March 31st, 2013

I love hatching my own babies. They always seem much more special than store bought ones. Not to mention I try to do a live feed of them hatching for my friends. Everyone loves watching it. Those Cream Legbar Hatching Eggs are something new to me. I would love to hatch those babies and add them to my flock.

Paula March 31st, 2013

Just used a broody bantam to hatch my first eggs. I didn’t candle. Thanks for your article. It was helpful.

Bradyn March 31st, 2013

I love my girls to death and wanted to hatch eggs of my own instead of buying chicks this blog was soooo helpful. I would love to win either thing THANKS!!!

Nan Moore March 31st, 2013

I have only tried to hatch eggs once and none hatched. I candled at 10 days and about 15 days using a small LED flashlight. I could see in the brown eggs, but couldn’t see in the green eggs. I sure could usee a candler and would love to try and hatch some eggs again, especially cream Legbar since my goal is too have as eggs in as many colors as I can get. Boy, it sure would be hard to choose between the eggs and the candler!

Holly Smith March 31st, 2013

Advice: Do not use a light that gets to warm during candling.

I have a candler and a flashlight but neither are that great of a light source I would like something better.

Jocelyn March 31st, 2013

I also do not like to candle often. I generally hatch coturnix quail, so they are very hard to see inside as well. But my main issue with candling is the same as one of yours- keeping the temperature regulated. I’d love to have some cream legbar eggs to hatch, I have been so tempted by that breed already.

Right now I have black copper marans, easter eggers and dominiques in my little LG incubator, there was one wiggling this morning even though 21 days is tomorrow!

Yolanda Clark March 31st, 2013

I candle only twice during incubation, but never throw out any eggs that don’t look like they are developing. Because you just don’t know, I only throw out the rotten ones. I’d love to win the eggs, to add to my pair of legbars 🙂

Donika March 31st, 2013

I would absolutely love the cream Legbars! I’ve wanted to add them to our flock for a while now!

Rachel miller March 31st, 2013

I have a gqf cabinet incubator so when I do open and close it it re stabilizes fast.
The magic of candling every day wore off years ago once I saw and recognized the development stages.
What works for me is I candle once a week. With dark eggs I candle near the end of incubation.
My rare breed birds. Icelandic and Swedish flower hens are over achievers. I will hear cheeping on day 19. I candle and the air cell is already broken. I move them to the hatcher after that.
I would like to win the creme legbar eggs. I is a breed I have had a hard time acquiring. I like the blue eggs and the fact the breed was created by the geneticist Punnett. Seeing the gender of newly hatched chicks would be great.

Elizabeth A Reeves March 31st, 2013

These days I candle once– around 18 days– just to make sure everything is OK and toss out the duds. I’ve noticed that the fewer times I interfere with my incubator and the eggs the more likely I am to have a smooth hatching. It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned to walk away.

I do show my kids the chicks wiggling in that one candling, though. 🙂

If I were to win I would go with… the eggs! Let’s face it– I’m a hatching addict! 🙂

Lindsay March 31st, 2013

I agree not to candle them too much. It just seems like it creates heartache! It’s like being pregnant, let them grow!

Amy R March 31st, 2013

Wish this post had been available to us in Feb. I’m afraid we tossed perfectly viable eggs candling at the 5 day mark. I’ll wait longer to candle at 10 days from now on, despite what other websites say.

Thanks for this! Am going to have to gather another batch to try again here soon!

Joann March 31st, 2013

I totally agree with you…..candling is addictive, and unnecessary! I only candle once! On day 18, we remove the egg turner, candle all of the eggs, add water for humidity then close the lid for lockdown. I can see the point of checking the eggs on day 10, but I dont bother. Darker eggs make the job difficult to candle and easier to mistake. If there is a bad egg, like you said, the nose works. I just sniff the incy vents, it all smells good – leave it alone!

Veronica March 31st, 2013

I have to agree. I am someone who is obsessive about watching and documenting the process. I’m glad I read this article.

Phyllis Young March 31st, 2013

Just starting to raise chickens. Would love to be able to hatch my own!

Angela Okrasinski March 31st, 2013

I only candle randomly and not even every batch. If I do not candle early I wait until most have hatched then candle what didn’t hatch. I have had that boo boo moment when I dropped a good egg =( Not a good thing!

Christy March 31st, 2013

This is my first year candling. I have read all comments and will learn from them all. I can’t wait for the outcome.

Tonnyo Wright March 31st, 2013

I only have a small incubator and a led flashlight. I agree dark shell eggs are almost impossible to see through. I would enjoy either the candler or the eggs.

Trish March 31st, 2013

We just started hatching eggs this year. There is definitely a learning curve! Read is my advice! We keep reading and trying and learning something new everyday! I would love to win the candler, I am using a flashlight now and would love to see more when I do candle 🙂

Kristina Friend March 31st, 2013

My partridge silkie is sitting on 4 white leghorn eggs that should hatch April 5th. I candled at day 8 to remove non viable eggs.

Teresa Sihler March 31st, 2013

I do very little candling, especially with my own eggs. With shipped ones, only a few random ones .. as you noted, the less handling, the better !

Sara March 31st, 2013

We have been candling at 7 days 14 days and lockdown, but we are still working out the kinks involved in the incubation process. I think that your idea of candling less is a very good one, and I am going to try to candle less from now on. It wont solve the problem of our crummy incubator (We are hoping for a new one very soon) I Love love love the legbar chickens and would love to hatch those, but I cant afford the price of those treasured little eggs, especially with my crummy bator. 🙂

Vivian Hogue March 31st, 2013

I hatched duck eggs many many years ago and couldn’t remember how I did it. I ordered chicken hatching eggs this year and they have been in the incubator for 3 days now. I had purchased the egg turner so I have not opened it yet. I’ve been trying to read everything about incubating eggs so this article was a big help. Thank you and Happy Easter to everyone!!

Cari Santoyo March 31st, 2013

I tend to over candle myself. It is just about impossible to candle Ameraucana and Marans eggs. My first choice would be the Cream Legbar eggs. Thanks!

Kyle Bowser March 31st, 2013

I decided I want to give incubating eggs a try. The only thing holding me back is the price of the eggs I want to incubate- cream legbars! I love that they are auto-sexing chicks! I figure that is perfect for a first timer!

Jennifer March 31st, 2013

I was a candling addict, but I’ve learned to cut back. I’ve dropped an egg before & had this tiny little baby not able to survive lying in my hand struggling until it died. That was the saddest thing I’ve ever experienced.

Rachel March 31st, 2013

I’d love to win the hatching eggs. A fox has killed several of our hens and now we need to replace them. 🙁

Sue March 31st, 2013

Candling can be tricky, even for the most experienced…especially with dark eggs. You have mentioned most of the problems and issues that can happen with candling.

It may sound simplistic, but I try and incubate and hatch as many as I can without candling…because I have not had a quality candler tool. Less is more–the less you touch and play with eggs to candle them, the better your hatch rate. Though I believe a quality candler would allow me to waiver from this decision.

I have a large rooster to hen ratio (7 roosters) so an infertile egg is pretty infrequent for me. Plus if I’m counting on 20 chicks to hatch, I will put in an extra 6 or so…I really have had good luck.

Most of the problem with hatching is too much water–especially in certain types of incubators. Many farmers recommend a ‘dry’ hatch–just a tablespoon here and there of water until day 18, then adding enough water to increase the humidity to hatching requirements.

HOWEVER, I would LOVE either a candler or some more chicks. Opossum attacked a few nights ago–before the coop door was closed at dusk. And a candler would help me make some quality decisions about fertile eggs.

Thank you so much for this contest. Sue

Laura March 31st, 2013

First year hatching and using a flashlight. Does not work too well on dark colored shells. Would love either the eggs or candler. Good luck to everyone!

Shell March 31st, 2013

Great post! I try to only candle 3 times: day 7, day 14, and before lockdown. I use an LED candler, which has been fantastic, and I make sure my hands are clean, but not wet. Changing how I candle eggs has definitely helped to improve my hatch rates.

Kim of the Ozarks March 31st, 2013

I’ve never candled because I’ve never hatched my own chicks, but I’d love to be able to hatch them! And I would adore some cream legbars. I’ve been drooling over them ever since I learned about their existence. It’s not just that the eggs are pretty; the chickens are gorgeous too!

Brenda Nonamaker March 31st, 2013

This is so exciting! Thank you for having this giveaway and all your helpful tips on
candling and what to do and not to do when helping your eggs toward hatching.

Fallon March 31st, 2013

Much easier on the eggs to candle in the turner . I’m very clumsy and have been known to jar the eggs and drop a few picking them so now I just hold the light up to the end while their in the turner . Also buy the best candler you can afford makes it so much easier to see through those eggs with a good light .

Gin March 31st, 2013

I enjoy candling its a very guilty pleasure but since I just use my silkie girls for incubators, when the dogs go out for their bedtime potty break I sneak a candling. The Gil’s don’t mind and I get to keep tacking of the eggs

Miranda March 31st, 2013

I am just finishing my first incubating experience. My eggs go on lockdown in a couple of hours. I love this article.

Lesli March 31st, 2013

I have just started hatching eggs and am still in the candle every other day mode. Reading this has been very educational. I will slow down on this.

Gabrielle W. March 31st, 2013

I would love to win some hatching eggs! Our chickens are getting pretty old and I would love to be able to add cream legbar to my flock!

Theresa Borne March 31st, 2013

I would want the egg candler, as we are going to be putting eggs in the incubator in a couple of weeks to try and hatch some of our own eggs. We have hatched out eggs in the past (without candling) and ended up with some rotten eggs with 1 even exploding in the incubator. WOW was that stinky!!!!

Rachel Fiori March 31st, 2013

I really liked the post. I have never candled, only used a broody, and so far have had excellent results. I would love some legbars to add to my flock.

Annie March 31st, 2013

I would love to win the Legbar eggs, the blue egg layers would make a great addition to the flock! Good luck everyone!

Kimmy March 31st, 2013

It’s funny, I haven’t candled this batch of eggs at all! I have twelve black copper marans in a still air bator. I turn by hand because I haven’t an egg turner. So the opportunity has been there, but the eggs are so dark it’s difficult. I haven’t hatched any light shelled chicks at all, so it’d be nice to win those cream legbars (also some variety in my flock!).

Sarah Olson March 31st, 2013

Thanks for the great tips! I’m in my second year of hatching…waited as long as I could stand it. =) I have been candling at a week, 2 weeks, and right before lockdown, for the most part. It surely is addicting and takes all my willpower to not do it more often! I use a small LED flashlight, works fine. I have cream legbars on my dream list and would be thrilled to hatch a few!

Kristin March 31st, 2013

I try to control myself but it is so hard! I’m proud though. I have had turkey eggs in my incubator for about 10 days and I only candled once, at 7 days. I would love to win the candler! Well… lets be honest, I’m drooling over the Legbar hatching eggs but I already have a full incubator and two full brooders, plus my fiance might leave me if I don’t learn to control myself LOL. The flashlight that I have been using is good, but just isn’t wonderful. The candler would be so wonderful!

Tracy March 31st, 2013

Since I don’t have an incubator, I candle eggs a couple of time after day 10, just because i’m curious…Since we always use a mama hen I never discard eggs, I let them be and let her kick out the ones that werent viable or had quit…and keeping the clutches small helps her maintain all eggs…Our mama is a silkie and her first hatch she sat on 7 eggs total, 5 silkie and 2 barred rocks..all but 1 hatched. Its a toss up but I think I’d love to add those chicks to my flock…i like my cool touch flash light for my candling 🙂 thanks!!!!!

Therese March 31st, 2013

I am a beginner when it comes to rainsing chickens and find all of the infomation invaluable. It makes sense the less you handle the eggs the better it is for the chicks. I would like the eggs as I will not be a big candler. Thanks again for the info on your blog!

Carrol Horne March 31st, 2013

I would Love to have an incubator and a candler. I do not candle my eggs and have had alot of disappointment when the hens set all month on bad eggs. Love the info you posted for why not to candle them too much…makes alot of sense <3 🙂

Lauren March 31st, 2013

Love this article. I am also someone who has learned not to candle as much. I’m been trying REALLY hard with the leave it alone method. It’s worked GREAT so far! I also recommend USING GLOVES (latex disposable) when candling so you have far less chance to contaminate. I use black gloves because it makes it easier to surround my eggs with them and see better!!

Catherine Bedford March 31st, 2013

Would love to win the hatching eggs. We have hatched our own several times. Never candled because frankly, I don’t see the point in messing with nature. We had a rooster and he seemed to take his daily responsibility with his ladies pretty seriously, so…. I don’t think the effort and risk is worth it just to avoid hand turning a couple of nonviable eggs. We don’t let our hens sit on their own eggs now because we live in town and have no rooster, When one gets broody we just buy her some day old chicks and that makes her happy.

vicki woyak March 31st, 2013

I love the article! I plan to print it out and keep it as a reminder. Had I read this last year, it probably would have saved the lives of several chicks who’s eggs I had shoved under my broody that came from a friend (I had no roo of my own at the time). It also would have helped greatly if first, I had known what I was doing, and second if I had had a proper candler!!!!

Wayne Cottrill March 31st, 2013

I agree. I hatch mainly Marans. The lights I use are not very bright so I wait to day 18 and get 90% hatch rate.

Pat Garcia March 31st, 2013

Hello My Pet Chicken, I would like to add my name to the list of trying to win a Candler. If I had a incubator I would try the eggs. My 12 puffballs are now pullets. My grandaughter has named every one of them! lol. So I know a candler would be very educational and exciting for both of us. I am saving for a little incubator , and I know I will need a candler. I am so happy I found your site and several others I think you know. I am learning alot! Thank You ! 😀

Elizabeth March 31st, 2013

I would really like to hatch my own eggs and this would be a great place to start 🙂

Tina Shank March 31st, 2013

I only candled my first eggs on the 7th day and then again yesterday on the 14th to make sure we are still growing I wont touch them again until the 18th day to take out the rotator. The candler would be so much better than holding the flashlight in my hand with the egg on top, especially since I have arthritis in my hands and so worried about dropping them.

But Cream Legbars would be great in getting my rare breed hobby going as well, so either would be great, but the candler is my first wish.

Thank you,

Dana Galagan March 31st, 2013

Very good information! I’ve also been a candling addict, wanting to candle much more frequently than is advised. It’s just SO hard to sit on your hands and leave those eggs alone! Overall, I’ve had good hatches with my Brinsea incubator but when a few don’t hatch I always second guess myself and wonder if it was something *I* did that caused them not to hatch. 🙁

I would LOVE some Cream Legbar eggs! I’ve been admiring the eggs and birds from others and wishing I could add some to my flock. I just can’t get enough of those pretty turquoise eggs!

Paula Langhorst March 31st, 2013

I agree do not candle too soon. With dark eggs I might even wait longer, it is so hard to see inside. I would love the Cream Legbar Hatching Eggs, such beautiful eggs and chickens.

Amanda Keener March 31st, 2013

I remember candling our quail eggs in school. I can see how it can be addictive. I haven’t tried hatching chicks yet. It’s nice to read up on pointers though for when I do!

Anton Dell'Orefice March 31st, 2013

After the poultry project last year, 4-H was selling the birds my daughter was showing. Well she wanted that one, and as you know, you can’t bring home just one. My other daughter wanted one. Since I saw the rooster, No one is left behind. He has been taking care if business all winter.

All of my daughters would love to watch the day to day growth.

Thank you for considering us.

Warm regards,

Sharon Miller March 31st, 2013

Love Your Article! I have been incubating and hatching eggs now for over 13 years. I have to agree with your points on candling the eggs. To much handling, opening the incubator, and candling, can cause death of the embryo growing inside the egg.
I have learned from experience, that it is best to candle the eggs only twice during incubation.
I would Love to win the Brinsea Ovaview Egg Candler. I use a small flashlight to candle my eggs, and sometimes there’s not enough light to see anything.

Lee Ann March 31st, 2013

I am now incubating eggs after not having done so in 20 years or more. Trying not to over candle is hard, especially with a 6 yr old learning by my side. I’d LOVE to have a good candler, so that when we do candle, it will be quicker and more efficient. We did do them at 7 days and then at 8 days, and now I see why to wait. A huge difference! We marked 2 iffy eggs out of 21. Figure we will wait a few days, then just try those two again. Next time around, we’ll just wait until 10 days. Good thing is, these are free eggs from my sister. =) I also think a Brinsea Ovaview Egg Candler would make it faster and safer to candle (less often). A flashlight makes me take longer and risk dropping an egg.
This is such a great experience for my daughter. I love to have her learn about these things while she’s young. With that, some of this batch may get candled a wee bit more than needed, just for her sake. To see the changes. I did post a video of one chick bobbing in the egg last night. A priceless video in my opinion. =D

Raina Stoner March 31st, 2013

Would love to win the incubator!! never hatched my own, but would love to do it!! Thanks.

David McPherson March 31st, 2013

Fully agree that too much candling/handling of the eggs can lead to problems. In my experience, getting the correct humidity level and temp stability in the incubator are the most important factors in achieving an acceptable hatch rate.

Debra Robinson March 31st, 2013

I would love to win the eggs. I have hens and in the past we have had blue eggs but haven’t had any for quite awhile. I don’t candle I guess the element of surprise and which eggs would hatch has always been like a present on Christmas morning. My grandsons love to watch the hatch and taking the hatched babies and putting them in the older incubator (one I got at a yardsale that doesn’t heat up enough to hatch eggs) for them to keep warm. It is our “naming incubator” so we can observe the personality of each chick and give them a name. Lots of fun!

Casie March 31st, 2013

I agree… when I first started incubating I was candling all the time. It was just so much fun to watch things develop! Now that the “newness” has worn off I only candle twice as well on day 10 & 18. Very good advice!

LORRIE RIVERA March 31st, 2013

Yep, hard way to learn to leave em alone! I love to see the development, but a live chick is better 🙂 Would love to win some new eggs though.

Sharon Roberts March 31st, 2013

Great article, love to hatch. We have an old styrofoam, but it works.

shelby March 31st, 2013

I’d love to hatch the Legbars–they look like an adorable breed to add to my flock.

Lacey Cole March 31st, 2013

I haven’t tried hatching eggs yet but would love to try! And how better to start than with some gorgeous birds like cream legbars? 🙂

Jenny March 31st, 2013

I’ve tried to candle before, but never had anything that worked very well. So I never culled eggs with candling. I adore watching chicks hatch and it’s been a couple years since we’ve had any here. I’d love to win a candler though. Hoping this will be our year for hatching again.

Kay March 31st, 2013

I have not incubated yet. Key word is yet!! My daughter is a second grade teacher and we have been talking about doing this with her students. My first ever baby chicks arrive in May from MPC. So excited.

Eva Long March 31st, 2013

Loved your article, never realized so much harm could come to the babies in candling.
Worked in a preschool for 10 years and I would candle some of our eggs so the children could see how dark the egg was and the air pocket. They loved it. As for a recomandation, I would say mark one egg and only candle that one to reduce any chances of losing babies. I would love to win the eggs, because my flock is down to 3. Love my chickens, but old age is getting to them.

Carol Baxter March 31st, 2013

I agree that too much handling greatly decreases hatch rates. My first eggs I made that mistake and only one egg hatched out of nearly three dozen. Yes, it’s an addiction and hard not to “check and see”, but I’ve learned the hard way to not handle them so much. I would love to win the incubator, as my homemade one and my Tractor Supply one are getting rather old!

Julie March 31st, 2013

I would candle on 10th day and lock down 18th day thats all . i would like the 6 cream legbars
Thank you

Joanne March 31st, 2013

I am incubating my third batch of eggs and am forcing myself to leave them alone!

Madeline Gutierrez March 31st, 2013

I’m with you T. I have had hens hatch eggs that I thought were doomed – because it seemed like they started sitting – but during those first few days – they don’t stay on the eggs full time … so there is something “there” something about them not “starting” up right away….

And I have plenty of chicks hatch in incubators or under hens “early” so maybe those are the ones that hatch “right” away.

Lastly – mother nature – vs incubators – my hens will usually not get off a nest right away even if she has only one egg left she will stay a day or two longer than the last chick hatched out — supports my theory (and yours) about some of the eggs just need “their own time.”

Oh yes! Leg bars for me please!

Scott March 31st, 2013

I really want to hatch my own sometime. I need to buy an incubator but until then will get them from our “chicken guy”.

Brenda Lakin March 31st, 2013

I have dropped eggs and opened “bad eggs” that probably required just a little more time and had that sick feeling that I killed a chick. I now try to candle just like you have suggested……….once somewhere in the middle and then again before lockdown. It is truly hard to keep my hands off the eggs but I just try to think of doing something else. Wonder how many good eggs I’ve thrown out due to too much or too early candling. I would love to have the Brinsea candling unit because it would free up both of my hands during the process and be less risk of dropping them. I have only used a flashlight so it would be a big help. I have 2 of the Brinsea Minis and I just love them. I have hatched many eggs in them and they still look like they just came out of the box!

Stephanie March 31st, 2013

I’ve found that last-ditch candling of eggs that haven’t hatched by their expected hatch date has saved me from throwing out eggs that had late-bloomers in them. I saved a call duckling that hatched THREE DAYS late by candling this way!

B Smith March 31st, 2013

Easier said then done! What about turning by hand? I don’t have a turner yet.

Heather Humecky March 31st, 2013

We’d love to win some eggs. The candler is cool but useless if you don’t have eggs to hatch =o) we’d like some chickies

Ann B. March 31st, 2013

If I candle eggs before day 7 (and I admit I do more especially with eggs I’ve got high hopes for!) I try not to take them out of the turner… I found an led light that I can even candle Marans eggs with! Doesn’t put out heat and I can get a quick peek in and close the incubator. Then I do a more through check on 10 to 14 and 18.

Irene Fernandez March 31st, 2013

I have never hatched my own eggs but would love to try. I have a couple of broodies that would make wonderful mothers. Of course , having an incubator would be great as well. That’s a tough decision :). Either way, one can never have enough chickens!

Elizabeth S. March 31st, 2013

Hi. I’m getting my candling certification next month. It is required in my state for selling eggs. It would be great to win this drawing. 🙂

Sibil Clark March 31st, 2013

I would love to try a new incubator or some eggs to try in my old one ….. I always try now not to candle as much too now.. I learned my lesson severl times over !!!

Amber Reed March 31st, 2013

I would love to win the cream legbar hatching eggies. We breed rare and exotic chickens and would love to have some to further breed and populate our area with them. They are gorgeous specimens. You have to think about incubation like cookie jars…hands off and hands out! I wish they made an incubator with an internal light rings on each hole so you can leave the eggs in the incubator and illumination.can be.controlled from outside. You could observe your eggs anytime without disruption of temp,humidity or hurting the.embryo.

Corina Andariese March 31st, 2013

ADVICE: A lot of people, novices and pros alike, will make the mistake of constantly moving the egg or spinning it around and around looking for veins or a chick. The only causes possible damage to the egg and even the chick. Altough a few monutes of cooling will not hurt the chick, mother hens leave the nest at least once a day eat and drink, we should be careful with how much time we have the egg out where it can become damaged.

When candling the egg, I put it at an angle with the pointed end down on the candler. Then I wait. I will let the contents of the egg settled and the heavier bits, yolk or chick, begin to rise to the surface. From there I can start to examine for veins or a little chick moving.

Again, I DO NOT spin the egg around and around looking for the veins or chick like some crazy carnival ride. The only outcome you have there is possible damage to the egg. I learned this through my own and my friend’s experience. A lot of blood rings were seen after doing egg candling the “normal” impatient way.

Hope that helps!!

Danielle March 31st, 2013

I find candling too addictive. If I didn’t see something one day, I am addicted to looking again later, or the next day, just needing to know if there is something developing. In the meantime that is too many times of heat and humidity loss. I have finally learned, as awesome as it is to see that little chick in there, it is one of the few miracle surprises left in life – just let it happen!

Lidia March 31st, 2013

Thank you for the great article – I am getting ready to hatch eggs for the first time and I will use your advice on NOT overcandling. And having some hatching eggs would be a good way to start :).

Debra Ramsey March 31st, 2013

We would love to hatch from eggs. We have 7 chickens we got from My Pet Chicken as day olds. They will be three years old this summer and we would love to enlarge our flock. I haven’t candled eggs since high school and that wold be fun to do with our family and neighbors. Raising chickens has been a wonderful experience and we are always having people stop by our yard to see our lovely ladies!

ryan whelpley March 31st, 2013

How do I tell if my eggs are fertilized and that I need to start candling? We have 11 hens and one roo. I haven’t found chicks in my eggs yet but I don’t want to kill new chicks on accident.

Susan Dietrich March 31st, 2013

I think it’s smart to candle at 10-12 days because you can cull at that time. I’m not sure how often is too much but it would be very careful about loosing temperature of viable eggs. I like Brinsea products and I’d like anything like that to make it easier to hatch eggs at home. Love your blog information. I’ve learned a lot.

Jacky March 31st, 2013

Very well said .I completely agree 100 % with this post .I enjoy the process of hatching chicken eggs,But sometimes you just have to let mother nature do her magic , rather than bother them several times a day , throwing off the proces,lowering the hatch rate .With that being said ,I would LOVE to have the Beautiful chicken eggs .Thank You for the wonderful advice .

Pam March 31st, 2013

Thanks for the advice! I am on my first hatch and almost dropped an egg while candling! After that, I left them alone until lockdown, when I candled to discard the eggs that obviously had no babies in them. If I wasn’t sure, I left them. It is really tempting to candle a lot, but after that experience it is easier to resist.

Jennifer Coburn March 31st, 2013

I do love candleing the eggs. It’s so exciting! I try to only do it 2 or 3 times when the kids are home to share the miracle with them. I would LOVE to win those eggs!!

Lisa March 31st, 2013

I only candle at lockdown, and only remove totally clear eggs., unless there is an odd smell, then I try to determine which egg/s smells and is therefore apt to explode and remove it/them.

I love the color of the cream legbar eggs… love the colorful egg basket.

Kara March 31st, 2013

Excellent advise, although I usually candle 3 times. I can’t help myself! Day 7, 14, & 18. I would love to win an ovaview, although I might end up candling more!!!! 🙂

Krystal March 31st, 2013

The most important thing I have learned after doing a few sets of eggs is to put them in the incubator and leave them alone-it is the hardest thing to do ever!

I would love to win the incubator and of course the eggs. Nothing is more exciting than seeing little new chicks in morning.

Torrie March 31st, 2013

I would love to win the Cream Legbar hatching eggs! These are one of my dream chickens. My someday chickens. I dream of someday soon!

Evelyn Qualls March 31st, 2013

I have an electric handheld egg candler, and would love to have the Cream Legbar eggs to hatch. I also have the styrofoam incubator, with fan and egg turner and have had really good hatch results with the Lav Orp’s I have raised. I know that the eggs are rare and expensive and I would love to begin my own flock of these beautiful birds.
Thank you for this opportunity.

Irene Fernandez March 31st, 2013

I just realized that the giveaway is for eggs or a candler. I don’t know why I thought incubator . I must have been daydreaming about the while idea of hatching my own babies 🙂 ! Would love to hatch some legbars!!!

Chel March 31st, 2013

I’d like to win the eggs or candler because I’ve never hatched chicks before. I have a bator, and I’m ready now!

Barbee jobe March 31st, 2013

Legbars are out of my price range. Therefore my only chance is to win a contest!

Jan O. March 31st, 2013

I don’t candle every time I incubate. When I do, I like to wait 7-10 days. If I had a separate hatcher then I might candle more often, removing the infertile eggs from the incubator and adding fresh ones. But then I would also have to remember when I added new eggs and when they should be moved to the hatcher!

I would love to have some Cream Legbars!

shannon hastings March 31st, 2013

i’d really love to try hatching my own eggs. i don’t have any candleing advice though, because i’ve never had the opportunity to do it.

Mark March 31st, 2013

I limit candling and handling! Let nature run her course. I candle and sniff each egg at 17 days. If it smells bad and there’s nothing to be seen, I cull the egg.

Jewell March 31st, 2013

I’ve pretty much given up candling. I agree with the other commentors who have tried to candle dark shelled eggs–it’s just to hard to see! I use an antique Leahy “Favorite” cabinet incubator that can hold 624 eggs. I’ve never used more than half the shelves at a time. It doesn’t have a turner. I have to open the door and turn by hand. It stabilizes quickly after I shut the door but I feel that I can’t take the extra time to candle without chilling the eggs. We had a power outage last winter. I put tea lights in the incubator, put a baffle over the flame, and stood guard with a flashlight aimed at the thermometer. I saved most of the eggs. I do use the “sniff” test. Once a day, before I turn the eggs, I get my nose down close to the shelf and “scan” the eggs for odor. I’m very careful about hand washing and I don’t use dirty eggs to start with. I don’t have problems with bad eggs. Since I have plenty of room in my incubator I don’t worry about the few infertile eggs. I always leave the incubator running a day or so more after the due date and open up unhatched eggs a day after that to see what was going on with them. I’m so excited about the chance to win some Legbar eggs! Somebody is going to be VERY happy! I love this blog. Thanks for all your posts. 🙂

Ellie S March 31st, 2013

I have never candled eggs before but would love to get the chance. I’ve always wanted to start our own chickens and non of my hens are ever quite broody enough!

Pam Baum March 31st, 2013

Candling advice? Follow the candling advice in the above article! I don’t know anything….:) I just got my first incubator & ovascope & i have some eggs on the way. I’m ordering the cream legbars soon I think.

amy March 31st, 2013

I do not candle never have mainly due to the fact that over handling causes more problems than it helps. over the years I try to handles my eggs less and less and my hatch rates have risen….let mother nature alone is my theory

Barbara March 31st, 2013

I really appreciate this advice. I have been advised not to cull anything until day 14 but it seems that you could work a day 14 candle in where you just checked the questionables only.

Alicia Lyon March 31st, 2013

My advice – keep a notebook documenting what you observe/everything that happens. As you continue to hatch, you can refference it and compare hatches to see if there was something different that may have effected hatch rate. If you have a digital incubator, you can track the daily humidity, temp, room temp. Other things you can track are set/actual hatch dates, amount hatched, location in incubator of viable eggs, parent stock……
I’ve been keeping one for awhile (not as religiously as I should) and have noticed things that have improved my hatches – like certain spots in my room where the humidity is best.

Lynn w March 31st, 2013

I just hatched my first 5 eggs and although I only candled 3 times during the 21 days, I was oh so tempted to candle every time someone came in to admire my eggs, just so they could get as excited as me!

Scott March 31st, 2013

I definitely won’t be in such a hurry to candle when I get my eggs in the mail. Great advice in the column.

Susan March 31st, 2013

Love the blue eggs. and the chickens Legbars are beautiful chickens, too.

Tracey March 31st, 2013

I would love to win this. I agree and don’t candle very often. I am afraid of discarding eggs that are viable but I do love to see new life growing in the eggs. What a miracle. Thank you for the giveaway!

Geordon March 31st, 2013

I think egg candling is overrated and it will affect your hatch rate and ruin so eggs by loss of heat etc. I would love to win cream legbar hatching eggs!

Samantha March 31st, 2013

I agree that candling too often is not a good idea. I candled my silkie’s eggs because I honestly wasn’t sure how long she’d been sitting on them. At first they didn’t look fertilized but I left them there anyway. A little over a week later I candled them again and they look like they are all (except for maybe one or two out of 16) growing perfectly. We will see what happens. They are out there with mom though, not in an incubator. I think handling them too often is just asking for trouble. I would love to win the Brinsea Ovaview Egg Candler. My best friend owns a small hatchery here in CT and I spend a lot of time there helping out. My silkies came from the farm and we will be selling our fertilized hatching eggs to them after this hatch. The candler would help quite a bit! Best of luck to everyone!

Heather March 31st, 2013

I used to love to candle each day too…..until I dropped a well developing egg and saw it’s little heart beat…..just about killed me. I had to sell my incubator for a financial hardship, would love to be able to incubate again and share this miracle with my kids!

Debby March 31st, 2013

I’ve never been able to handle candling the eggs with only a flashlight, and would love to try it with a real candler. I was always afraid I would somehow hurt the chicks and therefore gave up on candling and just hoped that they would hatch (and usually, they did!)

Lisa M. March 31st, 2013

I try to candle & handle as little as possible – it’s just so darned cool to watch the embryos bouncing around.
One question – how long do you leave an egg in the incubator past it’s hatch date? I have trouble seeing through the dark shells and can’t tell what’s good. I also don’t want an exploder in the incubator.

Ron Willett March 31st, 2013

I’ve never candled an egg but would love to start . Maybe winning would get met started. Thanks for the chance.

Janice Seigler March 31st, 2013

I would love to hatch some eggs! I would not candle any of them. It would have to be a complete surprise for me and my husband. The babies would have the best home and care.

donna March 31st, 2013

I try not to disturb the eggs any more than is essential-I don’t candle at all prefer just to let nature and the bator take its course unless i smell something I leave em alone til lock down

Leslie March 31st, 2013

I am chomping at the bit to start incubating my own eggs.. that way I can have the variety of chickens I want… without having to buy so many at a time!…LOL!

Sandra McFarland April 1st, 2013

I too have learned that “too much candling is too much handling”! I’m only able to incubate 6 eggs at a time and excess candling/handling seemed to be one of the main reasons I had a low hatch rate (that and maybe shipping).

The Cream Legbars look like they’d fit right in with our Girls, “color” of eggs is usually how I pick the breeds we have!

janice salinas April 1st, 2013

I really want to hatch my own sometime so I really liked this article! Would really love to have some blue egg’s!

Susan April 1st, 2013

I have tried the incubator once, the only egg that was growing was culled due to my inexperience and poor egg candle quality. I am set up to try again this week. I am wanting to hatch Leghorn/Dominiq mix. I have a HUGE, calm, mellow Dom rooster and want to see what the mix will look like when mature and what they will lay like. My leghorns have laying everyday since they started laying, but are a little flighty. I would love the egg candler so I do not crack open and check eggs with live chicks in them – I cried as I watched it die. I felt so bad.

Brenda Davalos April 1st, 2013

Thank you for the artical. I’ve just finished my first time of hatching eggs and must admit I checked them alot but I used a small flashlight and it was a little hard to see so I would love to win a Brinsea candler

Nancy Jones April 1st, 2013

Handle as little as possible! That is the way I feel about it. I had heard 7 and 18 days myself. But 10 would be a clearer picture. Would love to win Brinsea scope as It holds the egg for you. You can then look easier and take pictures better. Cream bar eggs are on my list.

Cari April 1st, 2013

I am a newbie so I do not have any advice. I would love to win the ovaview though. I would like to hatch my own chicks at some point. This article was extremely helpful to me. I never trout about some of the issues you discussed. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Anne-Marie April 1st, 2013

I can’t help myself and candle a few here and there when I turn them. I have been lucky so far not to lose any. I do make sure my hands are clean and try to make it quick. Love those little babies.

Tara April 1st, 2013

I love to candle but have had to learn to curb it due to all the things in the article. I just got an incubator with an automatic egg turner man that helps keep me out of the bator. I just hatched 2 different batchs of Crested Cream Legbars and one set had crooked toes so I would love to add some genetic diversity to the one hen and roo that I am keeping out of the batches that I currently have.

Brian Mason April 1st, 2013

I have always resisted candling my eggs repeatedly now i use a flashlight because my candler was lost during my last move.

Yssa April 1st, 2013

My incubator just went in to lockdown! I’d love some more eggs to hatch in there when it’s empty 😉

This time around I candled less frequently than I did last year. Fingers are crossed that little chicks are peepin’ out in the next day or so!

Karolee Murphy April 1st, 2013

I have tried hatching Cream Legbars twice before and both times it failed (quitting about 14 days into incubation. Third time’s a charm they say, so I would love to give it one more chance if I were to win come. They are too expensive for me to purchase and not get any results from again.

Kristen E. Martin April 1st, 2013

I’ve never candled a chicken egg…yet, but I have raised doves and lovebirds. I’ve candled their eggs, and yes, it’s tragic if you happen to drop one. What’s a Cream Legbar? Haven’t heard of that breed before.

Kathy wilson April 1st, 2013

I would love to have some of these legbar eggs never heard of them

Michele April 1st, 2013

I have done all of the above mistakes. I would love to win a new egg candler that I can actually see the chick with.

Ken Cook April 1st, 2013

Fixing up an old Turn x5 incubator that they don’t make parts for any more to try to hatch some of our Barred Plymouth Rocks, these would be fun to hatch as well

Carol H April 1st, 2013

I dropped an egg on day 18 doing my last turn 🙁
I left it in but doubt it’s going to hatch.

Christopher Morris April 1st, 2013

Good information. I tend to be overly enthusiastic about any new project, and often have a hard time leaving things alone. Started keeping bees last year, and it was difficult to not run out and inspect them twice a day. This is a good reminder on patience.
In the past we’ve just picked up chicks from the local farm supply store, but next year I think I would like to order some Olive Egger, French Black Copper Marans, or Cream Legbar(hint hint) hatching eggs. My kids would love to watch them hatch! (who am I kidding, I will be just as excited as my kids, if not more so…)

Julie April 1st, 2013

I’ve used the “toilet paper roll and flashlight” method to candle. It took a little practice, but I finally learned how to do it right. I would love to win those blue eggs.

Christie April 1st, 2013

Hatching eggs sound like fun!

Karen Getzinger April 1st, 2013

I would LOVE to hatch eggs with my kids at school- I’m a speech therapist and while pictures of my chickens at home give us lots to talk about, just think of the language that hatching chicks in our classroom would inspire!

carrie brett April 1st, 2013

I don’t candle my eggs very offer because I am always afraid I will drip one. I also use only broody hens for hatching. I would love to win the fertile eggs to diversify my current flock a little.

Victoria H April 1st, 2013

I’ve always wanted some cream legbars but they’re a bit pricey!!

Beverly Rosa April 1st, 2013

I also feel candeling is over rated. I would love to hatch the cream Legbar eggs!! That is one of my ultimate chicken choice for the future!

Stephanie Silicato April 1st, 2013

My chicken interest was sparked by a gift of three fertilized eggs about four years ago. I bought an incubator, got books from the library, talked with neighbors who raise chickens, and looked up info about raising chickens on the internet, but the eggs never hatched. I would love to get six Cream Legbar Hatching Eggs and try again.

Shari April 1st, 2013

Lovely article!! I too love to watch growing chicks, my daughter & I will sit in a dark room with a homeade candler, it’s so amazing & very addictive!
Sadly I had a problem with hawks this last year, and I lost most of my flock. I have sinced made some nice pens (to seperate the breeds) with ROOFS!! What I have left are some older Americannas hens & a few older Barred Rock hens.
I have children from around my neighborhood come and see the chickens.
I have never heard of the Cream Legbar breed, but looked them up and they are beautiful!! I would love to be able to share them with the kids in my area!!

Michelle Short April 1st, 2013

I would looooove some new babies!! Great blog post btw;)

Janet G. April 1st, 2013

I dont candle at all, I believe that if the mother hen doesn’t candle why should I. I would love to win blue eggs

Laurie Richardson April 1st, 2013

Would love to win these eggs and maybe get some blue eggs! I do candle and have to watch overdoing it myself! So exciting to watch!

Tanja April 1st, 2013

I like to be surprised, so waiting 10 days before a first attempt at candling eggs sounds like a good idea, especially if it helps avoid some of those issues you mentioned. Cream Legbar chickens sound great!

Kris April 1st, 2013

We hatched our first batch of eggs this summer. We had SOO much fun doing it. Can’t wait to do it again. We only candled once or twice for fear of damaging the eggs or anything like that, being that it was our first time. Next time will be so much more eggciting 😉

Jean Castle April 1st, 2013

I learned the hard way to only candle about every week. I had the experience of “counting my chickens before they hatched”- candling every day and thinking I was going to have a fantastic hatch – only to find I was causing a fluctuation in humidity when I candled and many of the eggs developed into ready to hatch chicks that could not get out of their shells. I would love to try hatching some Cream Legbar eggs.

Donna N April 1st, 2013

Simply Beautiful!!! Blue eggs and beautiful babies, who could ask for more!!! Send em my way, I’m up for a new adventure!!!

Rae April 1st, 2013

I candle twice since I lose to much heat from my incubator to do so more. The first time we hatched our eggs though we candled everyday since the kids were so excited to see inside the eggs. Now they are use to hatching and only get excited when the eggs start to wiggle when they are ready to hatch.

Linda J G April 1st, 2013

Would love a chance to raise Cream Legbar Chickens. I am teaching my granddaughter the art of raising chickens so this would be a great lesson for her too.

Karley April 1st, 2013

I do not candle because of all these reasons I have been hatching eggs for 3 years now and I just have a styrofoam incubator with egg turner so I dont have to open it up and turn the eggs.. I have never candled even when I did not have an egg turner.. I just always thought I would throw out a chick lol.. I do have a hard time keeping the humidty right and I am in the process of hatching enough chicks to pay for a new cabinet incubator hopefully before next hatching season.. I have been hatching like Crazy lol.. I would love to hatch some Cream Legbar’s to go with my flock I don’t have any blue/green egg layers Only brown 🙂

B Gadola April 1st, 2013

I stopped candling entirely. I hatch mostly dark and blue/green eggs and couldn’t see clearly enough anyway. I’ve never had eggs explode in the incubator, but have had eggs get messy under the brooding hen.

Meggy April 1st, 2013

I loved hatching eggs when in school, and just did it again a couple years ago! SO much fun… But I didn’t get the candling down with the brown eggs. I loved hearing the peeps inside the eggs!!

I hope to try again someday, using this article as a reference!

Jennifer April 1st, 2013

This article has been very helpful. I have tried and failed to candle eggs but have had successful hatchings. I think because my chickens lay dark brown eggs with thick shells in impedes me from seeing what I need to see. In terms of the cream Legbars I would love to opportunity to hatch and raise chickens that lay such pretty eggs!

Sunday April 1st, 2013

I have worked on my candling obsession, and now only do it 3 times – at the time I set, around day 10, and at lockdown.

Colleen April 1st, 2013

I’ve contemplated hatching my own eggs for years because I like the uniqueness of the rare varieties, which are usually difficult to get as chicks, but just haven’t done it yet. This would be a good place to start.
I do remember gathering goose eggs that didn’t hatch from my sister’s geese when the mama left them in the nest after most of the eggs hatched. Some had viable goslings which we rescued from their shells, others had a big, green rotten surprise inside which we discovered when we went to crack the eggs open. Candling would have been really handy then! Live and learn.

S McLaughlin April 1st, 2013

These are really neat looking birds, I just heard about them for the first time while in a chick quandry after having 9 of 30, die. We were researching what to replace them with and this breed came up. WOW. Would love to put some cream legbars under my broody hen.

Jim Whittaker April 1st, 2013

We placed 42 eggs in the incubator yesterday, Easter Sunday. Our way of making Easter Eggs. 🙂 Anyway, we don’t plan to candle them. This is our first time to try hatching eggs and we are really excited. We also have our 9 bantam chicks coming from MPC the week of the 15th. I am painting the coop now. It’s going to be a fun month!

Elizabeth April 1st, 2013

I use an very bright flashlight and paper tube. Doesn’t work on dark eggs. Haven’t seen a Cream Legbar but love colored eggs! Good luck to all.

Amy A April 1st, 2013

I’m in my first year of having chickens and this is good information to know! Thanks for sharing. I would love to win either! I’m always wanting more chickens lol and having a candler would be fun….although….I sure wouldn’t over candle! 😉

Vernette Karwoski April 1st, 2013

I would love to win either the incubator or the hatching eggs. We have been involved in poultry for about 15 years. We always go for the more exotic breed of chickens like Yokohamas, Campines, Sussex and of course Cochins. I would love to hatch some Cream Legbars since they are newer to the poultry world. Thanks for giving me an opportunity.

Jennie April 1st, 2013

This is definitely good advice….the only thing to add would be, if you are using a flashlight as your candler, make sure it is a bright one. Especially if you are incubating dark eggs. I don’t agree with those who think candling at all is a bad idea. I use the kind of incubator without auto turning, and opening it up 3 or 5 times a day never ruined any hatches. Not even the ones I order from the internet, shipped from the other coast( lost a few eggs due to shipping though). I have hatched all kinds of birds, from game birds to chickens and waterfowl. Candling once or twice is very important, especially if you are the one spending the time it takes to turn the eggs. Would really really like to hatch some Legbar chicks!

dennis mitchell April 1st, 2013

I want to hatch my chickens eggs I have 6 hens but I don’t have a roo yet

Leslie April 1st, 2013

I am interested in learning to hatch my own chicks.. I love the idea of watching the developing chick in the shell… In moderation, of course.. looking forward to trying this sometime!

Sara April 1st, 2013

I ordered some eggs and hatched them in a still air incubator and three chicks hatched only lost one before it hatched. so very sad …but the three are big and healthy and so entertaining to watch! Incubating is hard work ! Mother hens have my respect 🙂

Elton Pacheco April 1st, 2013

My Pet Chicken offers the best breeds! I’d love to try thr Cream Legbars!

Kellie April 1st, 2013

OMG I used to candle my eggs like a crazy person. Almost every single night and if I made it 2 nights, I would reward myself with candling. Lol. However letting all the heat out and constantly handling the eggs drastically reduced my hatch rate. I also dropped a few and your right, I have culled to early only to find a chick inside growing and then I Stopped. I candle 3 times because I don’t want a egg to explode on my bater. I candle around 3 days ( I have light colored eggs) no veins, I trash them. Red rings I trash too. Then again around 10-14 days. Any without movement are gone then. And sometimes I will candle the day of lockdown because hey, I’m in there anyways taking them all out of the turner and adding more water so why not? And then I came see any that were developing that stopped and toss them. And enjoy the ones that are soon the hatch. Love seeing their little feet and beak thru the shell knowing that will soon be here.

Melanie April 1st, 2013

This will be my first time hatching eggs with my new incubator I got for Christmas! I am very excited and loved all the great info from this blog as well as all the comments. I would love to add some Cream Legbar to it also!! So excited about adding blue eggs. My five kids love our green eggs and more color in the egg basket is always a good thing!

Wendy Browne April 1st, 2013

I’ve never candled. You gave excellent advice and at least others will learn from your experiences! I would love to hatch out eggs as this breed is beautiful and not available in the feed stores here.

richelle April 1st, 2013

I’ve never candled eggs before, mostly because my mama Silkie, Elsa does my hatching for me 🙂
I’d love to set some Cream Legbar eggs under her!!

Claire April 1st, 2013

Thanks for the opportunity, the young cream legbar that I own is a very sweet pullet.

Jenn April 1st, 2013

I admit I’m an over-candler…I usually candle a few around day 3 and all of them around day 5-7….and I do it with the kids so they can see the babies forming. I probably do it again around day 12 and then again so I snuggle them down before lockdown. I agree that less is better but sometimes you just have to know!!! I would love to win either prize. Thanks for providing a forum for this great community of chicken lovers!

Lisa Dargert April 1st, 2013

I am so excited about the possibility of winning. I have been wanting to start doing this.

Robin McCarthy April 1st, 2013

Blue eggs are my favorite

Myrna Jones April 1st, 2013

Would love the eggs. Love blue eggs. I don’t candle much. Although I did last night. I have 4 silkie hens setting on eggs and wanted to take out the clears. It has been so cold and I mixed up the coop taking several chickens out and knew several would not be “cooking”. There were several clears but still have plenty of good ones.

Cyn Van April 1st, 2013

I hope I have a chance to incubate some eggs and I will take this advice. Thanks for the information!

Jeannette Rosier April 1st, 2013

I love baby fluffy butts! Totally addicted to my chickens. I have Banties that are more than happy to hatch any type of eggs I let them have! LOL
I try to candle at 10 days and again at 17 days. To many times to count, I have candled an egg and thought it might be dead but gave it back to the hen because it didn’t smell bad only to find a beautiful healthy baby in a couple if days. Sometimes I think I should let the hen handle it 🙂 She usually will kick a bad egg out anyway!
Would love to try hatching the Creams! They are gorgeous!

John Kipfmiller April 1st, 2013

I would love to win the blue egs as was wanting to add blue to our flock so very much and the time is right!

Ami Jorgensen April 1st, 2013

I don’t candle my eggs.

DD April 1st, 2013

Great info =) Definitely needed to read that before I started a hatch! lol

Jacki April 1st, 2013

I candle eggs only once on day 10. If they look iffy I put them in another tray and candle those once more before going to the hatch tray

Kayce Dowdy April 1st, 2013

I always use nitrile gloves during handling and wait until day three to candle. I’m definitely guilty of excess candling though. I just can’t resist watching all of those tiny little movements.I’ve done two hatches so far with a success rate around 75%, so I might slow down on the candling but I doubt I stop…

Molly d April 1st, 2013

I have never had a good experience with eggs shipped, I have never had any hath! I will defiantly now be more careful using these tips! Thanks for the tips!!

Carolyn Thompson April 1st, 2013

I would love to hatch some eggs. I have not yet done that and think it would be an amazing experience for my kids.

Nicole Blodgett April 1st, 2013

That would be a lot of fun to try.

Sue L April 1st, 2013

Normally when I hatch I candle once or I don’t candle at all. Last year I hatched eggs using a broody hen. I candled twice because I was blogging about my experience. I candled on day 6 or 7 (depending on the egg) to document the developmentation. Sadly, when I picked up my hen she grabbed an egg with her foot and the developing egg fell to floor and cracked upen. I could have cried! I only candled one more time after that and I did it when we were moving her to a better location for hatching.

After a couple of bad experiences with discarding eggs that were still viable or having eggs accidentally break I plan on not candling in the future. Unless it’s starting to starting to get smelly in the incubator, I can wait 21 days to see what’s hatching.

Trish April 1st, 2013

I am relatively new to chicken keeping, but it seems to me that the potential problems outweigh any benefit in candling. That being said, I imagine it would be hard to resist. When I got my first chicks, I really had to restrain myself from constantly bothering them.

I currently have some Ameraucana girls in my backyard from a friend whose hen went broody last spring. I would love to win those Cream Legbar eggs and share the brood with my friend – she lives in the country and as such can keep any little cockerels we might hatch out. I think it would be fun having a flock who all lay blue eggs! I’m also curious to find out how Legbars compare to my girls in temperament, since the Ameraucanas are quiet but quirky.

Ryan Kelly April 1st, 2013

I actually prefer not too candle at all. I figure the less I touch the eggs and open the incubator, the better off everything will be.

Colleen April 1st, 2013

I only candle twice also unless I have some reason to watch a certain egg more closely.

Jeanna April 1st, 2013

My parents let me hatch chicken eggs as a kid, we candled them and it was always hard to accurately determine if the eggs were fertile or not. Would love to win the eggs so my daughter can experience the fun of hatching chickens, too!

Jennifer Share April 1st, 2013

I have a Brinsea Ovaview candler and Mini Advantage incubator. So far, I’ve only hatched button quail eggs, but my plan is to hatch some Cream Legbars. They are at the top of my “must have” list–pretty blue eggs, cute “hairdos”, and not to mention they are auto-sexing, so if I hatch a too, I’ll know right away and have time to find him a suitable home (not allowed here.)
My current flock is aging out of their prime laying years, and its a perfect time for me to add a few Legbars to to bunch.

Julie Parton April 1st, 2013

I have a broody hen right now and it would be great if I had some eggs for her to hatch. I’m a new chicken owner and don’t have any advice as of yet, but hopefully in the future I will be able to help other new owners.

Heather Clower April 1st, 2013

My recommendation for newbies at candling is if you’re unsure, give it a few more days. Do as much research as you can, ask questions, and look at sample photos of candling on line. Look over diagrams to show how things should be filling out in the egg to better understand the process.

Teresa Akey April 1st, 2013

I have had limted success with incubating but next I will add a fan to my system. I have 1 rooster and too many hens for him so that is a factor in my failure. i would love to have some fertilized eggs from proven parents so I will have more success.

Ryan Kelly April 1st, 2013

I prefer not to candle at all. I just figure, the less I handle the eggs and open the incubator, the better off everything will be.

Kristen Griffin April 1st, 2013

It all sounds so interesting. I am new to the chicken hobby and would love to hatch one of those eggs!

Dick Elliott April 1st, 2013

Set my first eggs last week. Trying to keep my hands off of them. Candled at one week and not sure what I was expected to see.

KC Douglas April 1st, 2013

I usually candle eggs at 7 and 14 days, then maybe around day 19, but usually just the two times. I do a lot of stuff for my kids classrooms, so I candle so that the kids can see the development and learn from it. I use a toilet tissue roll painted black and a flashlight now, but would love to win a candler! (or eggs to hatch!)

Kim April 1st, 2013

I would love to win the candler! It is so addictive, I know!!! I only candled on day 3,7, and 18. I didn’t discard any, though; too nervous I’d kill some body. 🙂 My chicks are peeping in the eggs right now!! 😀 😀 I feel like a mother!!!!

Lori Heidenrich April 1st, 2013

Would love to win the eggs. My sister is a science teacher and tries to hatch eggs in her classroom. These tips will really help. She hatches the eggs and I raise the chicks! It is a win win arrangement.

Kimberly April 1st, 2013

I fully agree with this article!!! I’ve learned the same things by over candling. Thrown out viable chicks-yep I’ve done that! Dropped an egg-that too! And I’ve contaminated eggs by candling/turning after putting face cream on!!! (Wash my hands and face, moisturized…turn the eggs…oppps)

Therese Wilson April 1st, 2013

They will hatch into beautiful chickens and from what I have researched will make a great addition. I want pets as well as layers. Showing may be an avenue explored later. As far as candling I feel the eggs due best with minimal handling. Love your blog and all of the great info.

Lucille Heidelmark April 1st, 2013

I have a Hovabator incubator and a small candler it works good for the first half of the incubation, but once the chicks inside got larger I could not really see much of them. So I only candle early in the hatch. I would love to try to incubate the blue eggs of the Cream Legbar .

Susan Dietrich April 1st, 2013

I would love some new chicks . The hen is pretty nice looking color wise. Thanks for all you do

ann bartley April 1st, 2013

Very informative blogg. I learned some good tips with zero risk! And now I am curious about Cream Legbars

Janice April 1st, 2013

Great info and advice from so many others. I guess I need to candle less, it’s really hard to just be patient!

Calvin April 1st, 2013

We have never candled eggs before but are planning to let our girls & rooster hatch some eggs this spring.

Cindy Bishop April 1st, 2013

Blue eggs are my favorite color for hatching baby chicks! Okay, so I have never actually hatched any chicks before, but I would like to try

Faith Bean April 1st, 2013

Thank you for your article. We tried hatching out eggs last year under a broody hen and I didn’t candle the eggs. I wish I would have, we ended up with five chicks out of 13 eggs and the rotten ones stunk and could have contaminated the other eggs although none of them broke. I ordered eggs online and should have let them sit longer I think before placing them under the broody. Live and learn. We are going to try again this year but it would be nice to have some eggs ( we are trying to have a variety of colors) or a candler, I would be happy with either.

Judi Kuhl April 1st, 2013

To-date my husband and I have only raised hens as 2-3 day old chicks. I would love the experience of hatching them myself and the Cream Legbar hens are beautiful – they’d make a lovely addition to our current backyard flock!

Suzanne Mandel-Mosko April 1st, 2013

I also usually candle about two times during the incubation. During our first incubation we wore gloves to turn the eggs, but have since given that up. Unfortunately we still tend to get quite a few fully developed chicks that never hatch out. We suspect we are not keeping the humidity high enough. We have now started helping chicks hatch out starting at 24 hours after the first chick has hatched on its own. This has worked very well for us and had resulted in much higher hatch rates.

Kim Tolfo April 1st, 2013

My 1st attempt at hatching so any information is great!! Tried to candle decided just to wait & see afraid I’d toss a good one!!

Karen Wood April 1st, 2013

I’m not commenting to win, just to thank for the info. I have to move before I can have chickens and I want some really really really badly. Glad to know about the candling and the cream leghorns for future reference.

Aimee Taylor April 1st, 2013

Looks like my chances of winning are low, but I’d love to win the eggs. Sorry I have no pointers on hatching, but thanks for the great tips!

Robin April 1st, 2013

I would love to try to hatch chicks! Very informative blog.

Gust Front Farm April 1st, 2013

Your arguments for reducing the number of times you candle make sense. I personally candle on day seven and about every other day after that until the eggs go into lockdown. That is mainly because I can’t resist candling. I love seeing the development!

Either prize would be great, but I’d rather get the candler because I have Cream Legbar chicks coming to me soon. 🙂

Jennifer Sronce April 1st, 2013

I’ve only tried hatching once, and it was with a styrofoam incubator. It did not go well, but I learned a lot. Ironically, excessive candling was not one of my mistakes. I’d love to win a Brinsea so I can try again some day!

Alaina Sims April 1st, 2013

I am a candling my eggs too often after reading this I will slow down. I raise chickens and ducks and geese. I would love to have the candler to safely check my eggs, less often!

Cheri April 1st, 2013

I would LOVE to have some of these eggs to hatch!

Wade April 1st, 2013

I’ve been addicted to candling, but you present some very valid reasons to cut back. Thanks for the info and the chance to win some neat eggs for hatching.

Sadie Brunfeldt April 2nd, 2013

I candle 3 times usually. I’ve incubated chicken eggs quite a few times now and filled the memory card on the camera with enough ‘dancing embryo’ videos and ‘vein-ie pictures’ that I’m ok and no longer need to look every night. That first batch in the brand new ‘bator though! Oh! = ) That bunch was so watched over! I check on day 7, usually around day 14, and then once more when moving over to lock down. The only time they are picked up out of the turner is when I’m moving to the brooder. My eggs are usually shades of brown and it is harder to see, so no maybe egg gets discarded until around day 14. I am half way through my first batch of duck eggs in the bator, and these poor Quacks have been handled a lot! They won’t be next time! But It is like being the ultrasound technician to your grand babies! BTW, seeing a tiny duck foot get pressed up against the inside of an egg shell is THE most adorable sight in the world!
I would love to be the contest winner for the cream legbar hatching eggs! My Easter Eggers are 2 rescue birds that I took from someone who did not raise them well and they came to me incredibly malnourished. They still don’t lay that well because of it. The other 2 were given to me as young pullets and while healthy, they are also mutts, simply Easter Eggers, and the eggs are more tinted than colored. I would love to collect a rich hue of blue egg everyday to add into the assortment!

jennifer stewart April 2nd, 2013

I have to agree with the article I some times become addicted and the second guess weather I should have thrown out eggs that looked nonviable.

I would love to hatch some eggs.

Jim Cox April 2nd, 2013

We all have different incubators and equipment so we have to manage with what we have. I’m an old man and my first hatch years ago was in a round trash can with a light bulb hanging over a cup of water with eggs in a circle around it. I probably candled several times a day at that time. I was lucky to have about a 60% hatch then in spite of myself. My advice if you have an incubator with removable trays is to take the trays out one at a time and closing the incubator while you are candling these eggs. I usually turn the heat up in the room a little while doing this. I haven’t hatched a white egg in years. With the dark eggs and my old eyes, I mostly just look for the shadow of the growing chick and the size of the air cell against the dark shadow of the chick. I never check before the 7th day as you are just going to be guessing that you see something in these dark eggs. Sometimes I do a second check at 14 days but usually wait until lock down day. There are some young boys in my area that have just became chicken addicts in the last couple of years. One problem they have is not only wanting to candle the eggs everyday but at the same time messing with the temperature control because it went down while they were messing with the eggs. If you know young ones like that try to get them to understand to just leave things alone.
I like rare breeds of chickens as well as the most common. The young lads are so thrilled at seeing the different kinds and have became interested in starting different breeds and keeping them going. That is always my main desire in getting new breeds and making them available to people out here in the country that have never seen or even heard of them. Hopefully soon these rare breeds will be common again for everyone to enjoy. That is the reason I would like to win the eggs. Good luck and happy hatching to all you people just getting into hatching.

Pamela Tippett April 2nd, 2013

Would be a nice addition to our flock. Candling would help us figure out just how long we have to wait for pipping to start, instead of guesstimating.

Jade April 2nd, 2013

Very informative article. It makes me want to incubate some cream legbar eggs!

Sharleen April 2nd, 2013

I love candling. Very addicting . Would love to hatch those beautiful birds!!!

Cathey Greer April 2nd, 2013

Would love to be entered in the I’ve away thankcathey Greer

Bruce April 2nd, 2013

I have a question concerning gathering fertile eggs. How long can they go unattended in the nest and still be viable for hatching. Air temps are around 60 degrees.

Jarod Morrison April 2nd, 2013

My motto is “If in doubt, don’t take it out!” If I’ve got one that looks like it might be developing then I put it right back in. I usually only candle on about day 15 to prepare for lock-down. By then it is easy to see which ones are clear and which ones have a chick in them. I cull the clears at that time that way I’m not taking up space in the bottom of my bator during hatch.

Also, I’ve found with dark eggs it is easiest to candle through the air cell. If you take the light and shine it down through the air cell it is very easy to see where the chick is and detect movement. I just hatched some Black Copper Marans over Easter weekend. All I need now are some cream legbars to have a very colorful egg basket and start breeding olive eggers!

Tawni Winters April 2nd, 2013

Who wouldn’t want to?

Kim April 2nd, 2013

My chicks are hatching!!!!! Two out and three on their way!!!! I am holding two on my lap right now!!!!:) 😀

Kim April 2nd, 2013

Scratch that; they fell asleep. 🙂

mary gilbert April 2nd, 2013

new to chickens so don’t have any advice (would love the eggs though, if you can include me in the drawing)

Question: do you HAVE to “cull” the “quitters” or bad eggs? I can understand that if it is rotten, smells, it could be bad for the rest of the hatch but…since you can’t ADD to an existing hatch (or can you?) what do you gain by removing?

I just wonder if candeling at all…as you stated doing it too much…will mess with the temp and humidity and cause problems you might not have had?

Just wondering. Hoping to SOON have some of my own eggs to hatch 🙂

Stephanie Pool April 2nd, 2013

Great advice! This information definitely saved a newcomer like me from causing undue stress to myself and my eggies!

Shreyas Yagalla April 2nd, 2013

For those who candle, I recommend that you leave the work of determining egg viability to the incubator or broody hen. In the future, maybe incubators could have a candler hooked up to a photo sensor to compare the development to stored photos of fertile and infertile eggs. If the egg is infertile, an led light next to it would flash red to notify the keeper. If you feel the need to candle, use it like an x Ray. Although egg candlers don’t produce radiation, it is best to use them sparingly. I would like the cream legbar eggs because I would like to start a home flock and sell the eggs streamers markets. Excess eggs and 12% of the funds would go the local homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

Shreyas Yagalla April 2nd, 2013

Adding on to the previous comment: crossing a silkie with another extremely bloody breed such as the sumatra, Cochin, or brahma may yield the ideal broody hen. Also, I recommend using the r-com 3 incubator, as it is very intuitive and user friendly. The incubator also comes with an add on candling apparatus.

Shreyas Yagalla April 2nd, 2013

Sorry meant broody instead of bloody

Shreyas Yagalla April 2nd, 2013

I also meant farmers markets instead of streamers markets

Than Angell April 2nd, 2013

Thanks for having th contest. I have incubated eggs before, and done just fine without candling at all, although I can see it might help rooty out the eggs that eventually get pulled out for stinking. I’d love to start a flock of Cream Legbars; I think an auto-sexing breed is a great thing to have for small flocks.

Sister Gabriel April 2nd, 2013

Well, when hatching eggs in my classroom, I always like to candle for my students so that they can see the various stages of growth of the chick. However, after having a no hatch of 26 eggs, I’m beginning to think I did too much candleing. Having a candler would be much easier and would create less handling of the eggs as it wouldn’t be done as often. Having the eggs, would be an increase of excitement and enjoyment for myself and my students.

Sally Mulcahy April 3rd, 2013

I let the kids look through a candler at an egg, we got distracted, and left the in the candler for almost 24 hours out of the incubator on day 14. We were mortified and thought for sure it wouldn’t hatch. We put it back in the incubator anyway and hoped. A week later a healthy chick was born! We named her “Hope “.

Allison Phillips April 3rd, 2013

Just got my first chicks. I have enjoyed reading and learning from your experiences. Can’t wait to hatch my own eggs!

Ginger Dover April 3rd, 2013

I have always wanted to hatch chicks, we have gotten babies from the farm store but I have never seen them hatch, my six grandchildren and I would be thrilled at the experience. And to candle the egg and see the chick beginning to developing….amazing!!! I would know how to do it properly thanks to everyones comments. Nothings sweeter than a new chick, the age old symbol of new life!

Kim April 4th, 2013

I hatched 7 out of 12! Not bad, huh? And only one got stuck to the shell, poor thing. 🙁 That one passed later in the night. 🙁 🙁 Oh, well. I’ll [try] get over it. I named it Clicket; it make a clicking sound. Good luck on all your hatches 🙂

Melodie April 4th, 2013

I admit it I am a candling addict! This is my first hatch and I couldn’t wait to candle.

Makayla Whitney April 5th, 2013

Very informative! I let by broody hens hatch the eggs and normally don’t candle our eggs.

Kim April 5th, 2013

I couldn’t resist posting this thing a friend said:
A hen is an egg’s way…..of making more eggs.——:D——
Think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Shreyas Yagalla April 6th, 2013

How will we be notified of the contest winner?

Angel Perkins April 6th, 2013

After our first batch of chicks, we decided not to candle anymore. We rely on the
“sniff” test and trust that we’ve done our best-the rest is up to God. Our last batch
had a HUGE mishap-one of our cats unplugged the incubator overnight and it wasn’t discovered for several hours.This was at day 16. One chick hatched (out of 5 eggs we
set), so we named him “Lazarus” 🙂 We’d love to try some Legbar eggs in our incubator!

Karen Parsons April 6th, 2013

This was a very informative article. I am a new hatcher and when I candled my eggs I was so scared. I probably will not candle them again and just let them hatch. I would love more eggs.

Sarah K. April 7th, 2013

I am new to chickens but I love them-they are beautiful and funny and a great way to show my son the food cycle. I have been thinking that hatching our own eggs would be a great learning project.

Lane Hudson April 7th, 2013

I would like to win the incubator so that I can have the joy of hatching my own chicks and watching them grow from birth, instead of buying older chicks.

Jennifer April 7th, 2013

I agree with the article-minimal handling is going to be best! If anything I’d probably end up not candling enough out of fear of messing with the eggs.

Beth Clure April 7th, 2013

I’ve candled but also ignore them most of the time if the eggs are almost ready to hatch. I have some eggs in my incubator now and haven’t candled yet. I also candle the eggs to teach my daughter on how they grow inside.

Kristina Friend April 7th, 2013

I would love cream legbars

Barbara April 7th, 2013

I don’t candle till about a week before hatch. I haven’t made any mistakes so far, other than dropping an egg (not good), but by then I know which eggs are and are not fertile and no mistakes of tossing fertile eggs out by mistake. I am no pro by any means, but like to know before I go into lockdown how many chicks to expect out of my set.

David Sapp April 7th, 2013

Very concise article. When candling I do it very quickly and wear rubber gloves being the utmost gentle. Having the opportunity to try this egg candler being given away would be nice in comparison to the methods I’ve used before and presently.

Elizabeth April 7th, 2013

I have Marans I’m interested in seeing if I can candle with this.

deana April 7th, 2013

When i candle I put on a pair of hosp gloves this way no oils of any kind get on the eggs. I do not candle my eggs at all till day 18 Then i take out each tray and as i candle they go into another tray that is used for hatching. This way I can remember what eggs were good and what were not. I also lay a rubber mat down on my hatcher tray so the eggs do not roll to much into each other when they start to hatch. makes clean up alot easier too.

Tip on shipping Eggs. When u get your eggs out and unwrapped put them large side up in an egg carton and let them sit and settle for 24 -48 hours this way the egg has the chance to get in the correct postition before you start incubating them

Pete Lawrence April 7th, 2013

We candle three times. At 3, 7 and 14-16. We are fortunate that we only hatch our own eggs so we don’t have shipping to worry about.

Nice articles, certainly food for thought.


Collette April 7th, 2013

I would love to win these eggs, sadly all my green egg layers that everyone wants are both canible and I have to catch her laying to save it. They will have to put these gills in the Naughty Pen, Thank you for the heads up on candling, I started showing everyone, Not good but so addictive.

Megan April 7th, 2013

I am just completing my 1st year of chicken raising and am looking forward to start hatching my own eggs! Great article for a beginner like.

Sue C April 7th, 2013

I would love to add an incubator to my classroom. Now I know to resist egg candling for my third and fourth grade students. Thanks!

Tracy April 7th, 2013

I started my candling with budgies =) I was the “crazy bird lady” and took in the birds people didn’t want. However, I had a male get in with the females and sure enough eggs started being laid on the floor of the cage. I usually wait a week before candling (I use a mini mag light) and then checked once a week or so. Now after reading this I will cease candling my chicken’s eggs to see if there’s any sign until we actually get ready to hatch some eggs. (my wishful thinking for baby chicks is still going strong)
Thank you for your great informative posts!

Melissa Martinez April 7th, 2013

My family is just getting started in the world of raising chickens. My son started the movement at age 4 and persisted until the whole family got on board with the idea. It’s one of the best ideas our family has ever had! I love what the girls teach my son about responsibility and caring for animals so they can care for us. Candling has been fun, but a definite challenge for us and we’d love to have the candler to make the process a bit easier. The blog article was excellent, by the way. I appreciate the tips and will definitely make some strong efforts to reduce handling of the eggs. Thanks!

Donna Boyce April 7th, 2013

I don’t candle untill day 18 when I take the turner out because I can’t tell for sure if they are growing untill then plus you loss to much heat and humidity every time you open the bator. I would love to win the candler because my eyesight is poor and this would help me see thru the shell a lot better.

deana April 7th, 2013

I do not candle my eggs until day 18 but now and then I have an egg I am not to sure about so I only mess with that one. Before I touch my eggs my hands are clean and I were surgical gloves can never be to careful. On Day 18 I pull out 1 tray at a time and candle them as quickly and safely as I can. I have a free tray next to the one that the eggs are in. I have a rubber mat laid down on it and as i candle and the eggs are good they go onto my hatching tray and the rest if not good they go in the trash can i have under the table. Then into the hatcher they go.

Armando Rojas April 7th, 2013

I have been hatching out eggs for about 4 years now. I too started with the foam bators both homemade and store bought. I would spend hours trying to find the best spot for them in my house to maintain the temp and humidity. I was over candling trying to identify growth within the egg. My first hatch was 98% and went down from there. I had to manually turn the eggs and all this together i think was causing multiple problems. I decided to build an incubator from a wine fridge and slowed candling to the 10th and 18th day. I also moved the bator out of direct drafts. My hatch rate has been steady between 95 and 99%. I have Ameraucanas, EE, Astrolorp,Blrw, Slw, Glw, Silkies, Silver Phoenix, minoracas, Ancona,Speckled Sussex, Blue Sumatra, RI white, Barred Rock, Favorolles. I just got some 2 kinds of Marans and having trouble candling these dark eggs. I could use a good candler.

Cathy Vredeveld April 7th, 2013

I have a turkey sitting on some eggs right now and we’re on day 11 or so. I am fighting the urge to candle them… I have decided to leave everything to the momma and hope that even though she’s a first timer, that she’ll be able to deal with any problems. As we get closer to D-day, I’ll be fighting the urge to candle even more I think.

So if I win, I was going to say candler, but then I saw the eggs. Wow. LOVE the blue! I have EEs and none that lay a very good blue…. So hands down, EGGS. 😀

Beth April 7th, 2013

I have stopped candling so much also. I love seeing that they are growing but made myself stop.
I candle on day 10 and once again at lockdown. I have to say also that it is much easier now that I have a flashlight with the rubber end that fits perfectly over the end of the eggs. I can remove the turner, turn out the light and candle all in under a minute. Then put them in lockdown. Least amount of time possible. I do it quickly but figure I am faster than the hen getting up to take care of business and eat and drink!!
I loved your post!!

Beth April 7th, 2013

Me too! I take a peek at day 10 and not again until day 18 when I am getting ready to put them in lockdown. I lift the turner out, get the incubator ready for lock down and put water in then I use my little flashlight with the rubber end and place it on top of each egg and then pick the egg up and place in the incubator….done.

Cyndi April 7th, 2013

Thanks for the great info. I have just set my first eggs and was debating if I should candle at 3 days or wait til 10. After reading your article I will wait til day 10. I think I would to win the Brinsea candler to aid us in having a successful hatch!

Judi Knight April 7th, 2013

It is so hard not to just peek to see what is going on inside the egg. However, I completely agree-the less handling (especially after shipping) the better. Let Mother Nature do her job! 🙂

Carrol Horne April 7th, 2013

I really do HOPE I WIN!!! I have 4 hens setting out of 55 and they just keep pushing each other off the eggs…Would LOVE to incubate some. I have Chickens, a Mallard a couple Muscovy and Geese and it would just be so so awesome to win!! We had a house fire and they are under so much stress right now as we are, would be super to win… Thanks so much for the Chance!! <3 <3 <3 😀

Vickie A April 7th, 2013

I loved candling my eggs BUT was terrified of dropping them and of lowering the temp/humidity. Set the mail order eggs in a cardboard egg holder for a few days, large end up to settle the air cells. If you are using a Styrofoam incubator, this wait is especially crucial to get your incubator up to temp and property humidity. Really no other advice, except…don’t touch the eggs or jostle the incubator – just sit on your hands and start talking/cheering them on, start trilling or cheeping!

Jayzandra April 7th, 2013

It was always really hard to NOT candle the eggs all the time for me since I’m so excited and anxious. Now days I just leave them alone. I don’t really have any advice; just try not to habdle them too much.

The reason I’d love to win is because I get my chicks here locally instead of ordering from the large hatcheries and I can’t for the life of me find any cream legbars. And I so very badly want some!

Karen April 7th, 2013

I would love to have eggs to hatch! We got all of our chickens at a day or two old so eggs would be a great new experience. Thanks for the information here, I am now a little more equipped to try!

Heather O'Keefe April 7th, 2013

I don’t have an incubator yet, so I’m relying on one of my female turkeys to do the job…And the advice given to me was to wait 2 weeks before candling any of the eggs, as it would make it much easier to see the veining and know which eggs were viable…So far, no luck with any hatching eggs, but my female turkey is a great brooder and patiently collects any eggs laid by the rest of my flock…So there’s still hope we’ll have a 2nd generation using this method.

Nick Benevento April 7th, 2013

I recommend every first time hatcher to candle 3 times. Day 7, day 10 and day 18 as they go into lockdown. All future hatches, just day 10 and 18. You saw it the first time, now pay more attention to better hatches.

Kayla April 7th, 2013

I only candle twice, once about a week after setting and again right before lockdown, and I always have really good hatches. For a cheap candler I use a high power flashlight and a toilet paper tube.

Cheryl Zahn April 7th, 2013


Ann April 8th, 2013

Good advice! I usually wait til day 7 to candle. Then again at day 18. Would love to win some cream legbars!

Jessica April 8th, 2013

This is the best article I have read. I know I have messed up hatches because I can’t keep myself from keeping the lid open to candle. Guess sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else….I will stop it.

Sheryl April 9th, 2013

Kind of blows you away considering how a brooder does her eggs. She gets up & leaves them a bit & knocks them around some but yet we have to be so gentle. No constant humidity or heat or anything with a brooder. This is my first time with eggs in an incubator but because 12 were shipped I am candling every other day especially 3 eggs I am keeping an eye on. I snatched a few from my hens & have candled them a couple of times. I am pretty pleased I seem to maybe have only lost 3 out of 12 in a shipping process.

Kim April 14th, 2013

What am I supposted to do with a batch of unfertile quail eggs that have been sitting in my incubator for three weeks because I didn’t candle them and see they were clear?

Stacy Guidry April 19th, 2013

My tip to others would be to place some soft towels down before you candle, so if you drop one, it probably won’t crack open!

Danielle Earl July 15th, 2013

I use broody chickens to hatch eggs. Because I’m candling with an impatient mama in my arms, I do a quick candle at 10 days and only get rid of the clear ones. Then another at day 14 or 15. Then again after most eggs hatch to be sure the left overs are duds. Yes I have sat there moving good eggs around shoving them back under mama as she is taking her babies around on a tour of the coop until they hatch out!

mags March 31st, 2014

thanks for this post. It was very informative.

Sonya Morris April 7th, 2014

We just put our Silkie eggs in the incubator and need a candler! This would be perfect, thank you!

Meghan Monaco April 9th, 2014

So sad I missed your 8th dead line I would have loved to win them 🙂 I have 10 eggs in my 1st incubator right now and I have to agree 100% with you. I tried candling and I was so excited!!! Got addicted right away and then almost dropped one of my poor baby eggs. I cried so hard. Now I just pray it hatches and will give it a very special name like Lucky or something it will never be used for meat after it cant lay anymore. That is for sure lol. One close call is all she/ he needed and if he shall make is and be a rooster he will be me baby 😀 Good luck with all of yours.

Kendra June 16th, 2014

I found a turkey egg just laying in the middle of my yard, so I made a incubator, and I candled my egg two days in a row, I saw a air sack and a blob on the top of the egg, now from this article, I am making myself stop candling the turkey egg, because I don’t want my excitement to kill it. Thank you so much, I will only candle once more in like 10 days, I don’t know how many days it is, so I hope it hatches in the next two weeks.

Laura August 8th, 2014

I agree with this article that candling should be minimized, but some of the points here are not entirely logical. Consider that the hens climb in and out of the nest with dirty, poopy feet while collecting a clutch before they start brooding them; there’s plenty of possible contamination there. Also, the hen gets off the nest at least once daily while brooding, to eat, relieve herself, etc. In fact, in the Brinsea you can program in this type of “hen off nest” period as an option. So if you candle once a day, wash hands, handle eggs very gently… shouldn’t be a problem. My non-hatchers (from my own hens here) are generally not quitters but non-fertilized. The quitters may have had a good reason to quit other than being improperly handled by humans. It’s nature’s way of culling when something is wrong with the egg or embryo.

I do like the schedule of 10 days and 18 days but I personally candle about 4 – 5 times per incubation period.

CC Sweet September 23rd, 2014

I won’t lie–I started my egg incubator 8 days ago when I accidentally stumbled upon a warm egg (I was out collecting and saw one of my little hens fluffy and still… when she moved, there was a very, very warm egg!).
In hopes that it was still alive, I popped it into a homemade fish tank incubator (very last minute as I was NOT expecting any good eggs).
I candled it every day (shame on me! but I didn’t know). I could tell from day 3 that something was inside and since then I’ve watched this lovely little baby growing fast!

Thanks for your advice–I’ll certainly cut back on candling. I’d hate to lose so much progress

Bonnie December 8th, 2014

My recommendation? Don’t candle often at all. But, thinking naturally, doesn’t a broody completly disagree woth the ‘candling to often’ subject? Broodies probably get there feet quite dirty, and
leave the nest for a while. But yet, the babies all hatch. In fact, our hands are cleaner then the broodies feet. The only mistake people make is tossing the eggs to soon.

[…] It turns out, there are some good arguments for being less aggressive about candling. Check out this post at My Pet Chickens about why it might be preferable to candle less. So I’m risking leaving a bad egg in and […]

sharon adams January 31st, 2015

great advise..i too over candle,but after reading this I will try to control myself..lol…

Beth Stewart March 5th, 2015

I couldn’t agree with you more! I also candle on day 10 and then day 18 for chicks and day 21 for duckling eggs right before lockdown! I have in the past followed written advice to candle on day 7 but found too many eggs that were questionable! By waiting just a couple days I was able to confirm fertility and a growing baby in those questionable eggs! Plus I hate having the incubator opened for so long to candle all the eggs so I usually do it in groups of 10 and spread the first candling over a couple days, especially with the duck eggs!
I’ve been hatching eggs here for 7 yrs now so I also candle before I place eggs in the bator just to check air cells & to make sure that one of those eggs hadn’t been started by one of the hens before I found it. Silkies are notorious for hiding a nest and kicking an egg out of their hiding place if it’s died just for me to find it!
If I were to win and it’s my choice then I would love to win the Brinsea candler! None of mine are strong enough to see inside my Black Copper Maran eggs! I know Brinsea’s a great brand. I have one of their incubators and I love it!

Beth Stewart March 5th, 2015

OOOOOPS! I’m 2 years late for this drawing LOL! But that’s ok. I’d still give the same advice! Candling less is better for the growing embryo! I always used to get a kick out of watching babies bouncing around inside the shell on day 14. But figured their little eyes don’t need all that light shining in on them. Less is best in my opinion! 😀

LYNN April 4th, 2015


alora goodwin September 30th, 2015

When my daughter and I first started incubating eggs we would candle alot we hatched lots of ducks . We have learned not to candle.We are incubating quail. I have health problems and it gives us both something fun to look foward to. We love hatching our babies. I ordered eggs recently for the first time apparently they were handled to roughly because the company I bought them from had me candle them and they had bubbles in them we are on day 11 . I candled and no babies at all. We are really disappointed not to mention I spent alot of money on them.

Sonny April 11th, 2016

Removable egg tray large dark box pass candler over and under the eggs at 5 days and then randomly until lockdown culling after 7 days no blood veins showing

Mrozy July 19th, 2016

If the eggs gone for more than 7 days without being puting them in incubator wil they hatch?

Lissa July 22nd, 2016

Yes. In general a hen will take a couple weeks (-ish) to lay and gather a clutch before beginning incubation, so you’re a week up on her. 🙂 However they will hatch best if stored in a cool (not cold) place–about 60 degrees–and turned every day before incubation. (Turning the eggs helps keep the yolk from settling to one side and makes it easier for the chick to develop.)

Keira August 25th, 2016

I’ve never tried the smell test and am going to in a few minutes. In my opinion it’s best to leave the eggs under and broody hen and let nature take it’s (hopefully positive) course. 😉

Linda March 10th, 2017

I was overzealous when I first began using an incubator as well but time and wisdom from mistakes along the way have now cumulated in a seamless hatching process. I have two incubators set at the moment with 78 eggs and they were staged 2 days apart. Will be buying a cabinet model soon.
I did not candle at all the last time I hatched eggs and I had a great success rate, hatching 35 0f 39 eggs. And two of the ones that did not completely hatch were piped but to weak to get out of the shell. When I first began this venture of chickens and hatching eggs, I would ‘help’ those little guys that could not get out by themselves but learned that was not a good thing to do. Now I just say a pray and let divine intervention work for me and the chicks.
Your contest date is funny since it was about 4 years ago but if you want to send some of the hatching eggs to NC, I will surely hatch them..:)
I built my own candling box to prevent much contact with the eggs during candling. I will candle the current ones at 10 days and most likely let them finish on their own. I have never had an egg explode in my incubator and I have hatched LOTS of baby chicks.
Also, I recommend wearing surgical gloves to prevent skin contact with the hatching eggs if you handle them. It is better than having the oil from your skin contaminating the unhatched bird.

Rebekah March 18th, 2017

I love hatching chickens and I used to candle every day. It had no effect on the eggs. They all hatched on the 20th day. I don’t use incubators. They never worked for me. I use broody hens. My first hatch was with Prissy and she hatched 5 healthy chicks. I never got bad eggs or exploded eggs.

Skye September 19th, 2017

Wow!thanks for sharing this! I have the worst problems with candling, but after reading this, I’m gonna do the same thing as you. Seriously, this really helps me understand what over candling can do.

melody beal December 3rd, 2017

I also found Kendal lighting addictive there was nothing like looking at that fetus inside moving around but in the long run I did more harm than good there’s too big of a chance of contamination or harming your eggs I’m with you twice and what hatches plenty

melody beal December 3rd, 2017

I know how you feel the first time I candlelighted my first batch off eggs I got stuck in the bathroom it was the coolest thing I had ever seen I couldn’t quit looking but I did more harm than good I am with you two times is plenty

Carrie April 7th, 2018

I know this post was 5 years ago, but I needed to hear it! I have a pekin sitting on her eggs, I was obsessed with candling every few days… but did make the mistake of opening an egg I thought was dead only to find it was perfectly fine. Did weed out some rotten ones, but now I’m down to one a week from hatching & various stages ( we have several pet ducks), I’m going to leave them alone! Thank you

kimmy kervel November 12th, 2020

Thanks for sharing this precious information with us this help me a lot in my project as well.

Linda J Vician October 14th, 2021

OK; I have to admit that I am hooked. I saw an ad a year ago selling fertile eggs for some kind of fancy chicken breed. I ordered them and tried to make an incubator in my bedroom using my old heating pads, a cardboard box, about 6 thermometers and a pile of blankets. Hatch rate was ZERO. So then I bought a simple 9 egg incubator and ordered eggs from halfway across the continent in the middle of the winter. (I live on the Left Coast.) From 9 eggs, I managed to hatch one Rhode Island Red chick and named her Little Red. I also bought 4 chicks from the local feed store & had an older hen who had not laid any eggs in years. Miraculously, I found a nest in the corner of the coop with eggs in it, but the young hens were too young to lay eggs!?!? Somehow having all those young gals around had induced Auntie Hen to start laying again. We had a nice egg supply for a few months before we went on vacation and had to leave the coop under a friend’s care. I forgot to tell him to always pull the door tightly shut until he heard it latch. Disaster struck. The door was left ajar and In a neighborhood where you never see a dog roaming free, one managed to paw the door open and filled his tummy with Little Red, Auntie Hen and the other four young hens. Boo-Hoo!!! I bought another 9 egg incubator, 8 Easter Egger eggs, 3 White LegHorn eggs and 3 Rhode Island Red eggs . Four of the EE eggs hatched a week early and now I am waiting for the White Leg Horn & Rhode Island Red eggs to hatch. I just candled them and maybe will have 2 or 3 chicks pecking their way out into the day light this weekend.

It is always imperative to only handle your hatching eggs with very clean hands. Over-handling, e.g. over-candling, will increase the potential of an egg getting contaminated from dirty hands, a sneeze or anything else! Contaminated egg shells create dead chicks or an egg that could explode in the incubator!

It is always imperative to only handle your hatching eggs with very clean hands. Over-handling, e.g. over-candling, will increase the potential of an egg getting contaminated from dirty hands, a sneeze or anything else! Contaminated egg shells create dead chicks or an egg that could explode in the incubator!

Over-handling, e.g. over-candling, will increase the potential of an egg getting contaminated from dirty hands, a sneeze or anything else! Contaminated egg shells create dead chicks or an egg that could explode in the incubator! via

It is always imperative to only handle your hatching eggs with very clean hands. Over-handling, e.g. over-candling, will increase the potential of an egg getting contaminated from dirty hands, a sneeze or anything else! Contaminated egg shells create dead chicks or an egg that could explode in the incubator!

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