Egg Hatchability

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Egg Hatchability

Post by Katy on Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:55 am

When our hatch rates are low even when conditions seem perfect during incubation, we need to go back to the egg quality to see if improvements can be made. The quality of the eggs set can be a huge factor. This information may prove interesting or useful.

Hatchability – Egg Quality

When collecting fertile eggs for incubating, bear the follow in mind:

A. Collect eggs in season when the days are long and light.
B. Breed from healthy birds.
C. Feed breeders a top quality diet.
D. Collect clean eggs from clean nests.
E. Store eggs in cool dark place with point end down.
F. Rotate stored eggs twice daily
G. Highest hatchability is from eggs less than 7 days old.
H. Handle eggs very gently.[/color]

Just because an egg is fertile doesn’t mean that it’s going to hatch. Many eggs don’t hatch because of incubation problems, but there’s many more that don’t hatch because they possess defects or deficiencies.

A poor quality egg cannot be improved after it is laid.

The quality of the egg can be affected by:

1. Age of parent breeders.
2. Genetic inheritance.
3. Health and environment
[/color](housing, season, temperature, light intensity, weather, hygiene, parasites, diseases, medications)

Light stimulates the commencement of breeding in most birds. The reproductive organs are effected and the entire metabolism of the hen is changed to make available the necessary constituents of the egg from her own body. Insufficient light can result in a poor quality egg.

Nutrition in the breeder is also a very important factor, as she must lay an egg that has everything in it that the developing embryo needs. The diet of the hen can affect this. The egg is made up of water, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals and all of these come from the maternal diet. The hen needs the right combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals to produce a good quality egg. If something is missing, she may still lay an egg of poor quality. Other factors such as stress can cause deficiencies also.

Once a good quality egg is laid, they must be uncontaminated, clean and fresh. For optimum hatchability, nest boxes should be clean and dry and eggs collected frequently (ideally 3-4 times daily), dated and stored correctly. Washing can remove the protective bloom and reduce the egg’s viability by providing an opportunity for germs to infiltrate the shell and infect the egg. If you have no choice but to wash an egg, do it gently and quickly using water that is warmer than the egg and dry well before storing. It is better though, to dry clean by wiping with a towel to avoid wetting the egg. Never handle your eggs roughly or with dirty hands – to safeguard their health and hygiene use clean, dry hands and a gentle touch.

Storage: For optimal fertility, eggs that have been stored in a cool dark place with pointy end down, rotated daily, and are less than 7 days old are best. Longer storage – up to 14 days - is possible but requires cooler temperatures (10 – 17C). A practical method is to store them in an egg carton and rest one end on something to keep it higher. Change when rotating. Choose regular sized well formed eggs. Eggs that are excessively large or small, cracked or irregular in any way will have lower hatchability and should not be selected for hatching.

Posted or transported eggs are not ideal, however, if you ordered your fertile eggs through the mail they will need to be kept still (pointy end down) for 12 to 24 hours to settle their air cells prior to being set in the incubator. Wherever you get them from, allow the eggs to warm to room temperature (70-80°F) for 24 hours before you set them in the incubator.

Summarised from:
‘The Incubation Book’ by Anderson Brown
“Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry’ by Leonard Mercia

Posts : 130
Join date : 2011-09-30
Location : Morayfield QLD

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