Monday, April 30, 2012

What Eggs Do you Choose?

Having several Easter Eggers sitting (on & off as always...) we've got 4-5 nests going right now, we'll see if any of them actually hatch this time! I was asked on the weekend which eggs I would select to have the hens raise, which which is a really good question.

The first answer is all of them, we really want hens that can incubate their eggs naturally, a trait that seems to be largely bred out of modern chickens. Of course, if your hen is sitting she's not laying, so you don't want them all going broody all the time; but we want chickens who both lay really lovely eggs and will hatch some really lovely chicks!

So the second answer is that I pick eggs that have been given the best reviews by our customers, my own experiences as well as chickens I like. Hen will not lay eggs exactly like the ones they came out of, what they will la,y is a combination of their rooster & hen's eggs (look to the rooster's hen for an idea of what he would lay); but picking good eggs also gives you the best chance of getting good eggs from your future hens.
A rotten duck egg

You want to avoid any eggs that are cracked or excessively dirty. You also want to avoid any that appear porous when candled, partly because spotty eggs can be a sign of bacterial contamination as well as porous eggs being a symptom of weak shells that can break easily.

I usually don't get around to candling the eggs right away, but with 2 roosters & 3 cockrels running around, fertility is not a problem for us! I do try and candle half-way through or if any eggs appear discoloured. You want to remove any bad/rotten eggs as soon as possible so they don't contaminate the rest of the nest. Rotten eggs are usually fairly obvious, the inside looks dead.  
A good duck egg, about 3.5 weeks old

I try to record when the eggs should hatch so that I'm ready that day to check the coop a few extra time & check on the chicks (although I usually forget to write it down!!). I have found it completely necessary to write large Xs on all the eggs with a sharpie because of other chickens sneaking in to lay additional eggs. I've had one of my poor bantam easter eggs going from sitting on 6 eggs to 15 in one day. She was trying to cover them all as hard as her little chicken self could! 

No comments:

Post a Comment