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Thread: Storing fertile eggs for hatching

  1. #1
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    Default Storing fertile eggs for hatching

    We are planning on hatching some of eggs out in a few months to replace some hens, and butcher a few. My question is how long can I store eggs in the fridge before they go into the incubator? Right now the production has cut back so I am hoping I can refrigerate eggs for maybe a week to get enough for hatching the group we want. Any thoughts?

    TIA!
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 19, 1785

  2. #2
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    I may be wrong, but I think that you can store them on the counter for a couple of weeks and then incubate without problems, but not after being refrigerated. Maybe some more knowledgeable members will chime in.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Firebird. I did a search and couldn't find anything so I thought I'd ask. Hopefully I'll get some more responses. BTW glad to hear yours are working out so well!
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 19, 1785

  4. #4
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    DON'T refrigerate them. Store them as close to possible to 50-55, and turn the carton every day. Best way to do it is put the carton with one end up on something about 6" high, and then swap ends every day. (oh, and put them in the carton with the large end- where the air sac is- up)

    DO NOT WASH them, either. Toss (or wash and eat) any which are really dirty, and just brush off any loose "stuff" from the ones for hatching.

    You can keep them for up to 2 weeks and still get reasonable hatching levels.. a week would be really good.

    Summerthyme

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summerthyme View Post
    DON'T refrigerate them. Store them as close to possible to 50-55, and turn the carton every day. Best way to do it is put the carton with one end up on something about 6" high, and then swap ends every day. (oh, and put them in the carton with the large end- where the air sac is- up)

    DO NOT WASH them, either. Toss (or wash and eat) any which are really dirty, and just brush off any loose "stuff" from the ones for hatching.

    You can keep them for up to 2 weeks and still get reasonable hatching levels.. a week would be really good.

    Summerthyme
    Thank You! Somehow I new that you would have the answer. I believe someone asked you about writing a book a few weeks ago? My wife and I would absolutely purchase a book of all your farming wisdom. You are a constant source of wisdom for all of us here. Thanks again!
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 19, 1785

  6. #6
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    I have hatched washed eggs, and refrigerated eggs, so doing either won't totally destroy your hatchability. But they will generally lower your hatch rate. Some of the commercial hatcheries even gently wash their eggs before putting them in the incubators, for disease control purposes.


    But for home incubation, try to store them, unwashed and away from the refrigerator and not in a warm spot. Then get them in the incubator in less than 2 weeks.

  7. #7
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    You can almost always break "the rules" and have at least some success. And if you don't have much choice (your hens got eaten by a coyote, and you've got 2 dozen fertile eggs in the fridge, and you had washed some of them).. you use what you have.

    But I've had a washed egg explode all over the incubator, and contaminate every other egg in the hatch. I don't candle my eggs halfway through the hatch, though, and that would have prevented that disaster. (I just don't like disturbing them that much... given my "low tech" incubator, I don't think I have that much leeway to get good hatches as it is.

    The commercial hatcheries probably do wash eggs, with some sort of bactericidal solution. But I wonder about that... removing the "bloom" from the eggs really doesn't do hatching any good at all. It's just so much easier to simply set clean eggs... even if you have to gather your eggs 2-3x a day for a few days to get your hatching eggs before they get dirty.

    Summerthyme

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summerthyme View Post
    You can almost always break "the rules" and have at least some success. And if you don't have much choice (your hens got eaten by a coyote, and you've got 2 dozen fertile eggs in the fridge, and you had washed some of them).. you use what you have.
    When I first bought an incubator, I had trouble finding hatching eggs. I could buy all I wanted, at $18 dollars a dozen from a local fertile egg source. Which I did for a few eggs, so that I could have some good quality chickens. But I wanted to keep hatching, just didn't want to spend soooooo much.

    So I got the turkey eggs out of one guys fridge, and had a 50 % hatch rate. Which wasn't too bad, considering they were the first eggs those turkeys had ever laid.

    And I got some leftover eggs from a local eggs seller, and only had 30-40% hatch rate. But 30% hatch rate for free eggs beats 90% hatch rate for $18 eggs, which I couldn't afford to buy. (Washed and refrigerated eggs.)

    Surprisingly, I had 88% hatch rate with shipped quail eggs. Sadly that's before the cat learned to open the incubator. All those popcorn size birds were just too tasty to resist.

    Now, thanks to my incubator and lots of broody hens, I have lots of birds and lots of eggs. So when I start the incubator up, I can hatch anything I want. And if someone offered me some special eggs that were washed or not rotated, or were 2 weeks old. But I really, really wanted that bird, then I would put those eggs in my incubator.

    But I'm not going to freak out about every unhatched egg. I'm also the type to ignore the recipe when cooking, sometimes I get something wonderful, and sometimes even the chickens don't like the results. Life happens, you just have to be willing to enjoy it.

    If yo

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