info needed on storing eggs for incubation : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was wondering how to store eggs needed to be incubated. I am trying to collect 48 eggs from my flock of certain birds. So it will take about a week to get the right number of eggs. Should I collect the eggs within a couple of hours of laying(it is still cold in WI, the barn is running about 40 F.), and if I dont get them right away, will this hurt if they get cold(35-42 F.). Then, I have been told to put them in a paper egg carton(which end up), and put them in the basement(stays at a steady 52 F., about 55% humidity). Is this correct? Do I need to rotate them, how often? How long can I keep them like this? Thank You so much for the help. Craig S, PS, still looking for a supplier of hatching eggs of one shipment of fifteen each of Welsummer, Barnevelders, Marans, and Americaunas.

-- craig swanson (, March 19, 2002


Craig: I'm no expert (just now inbubating my first eggs) but I wanted to give you some chicken sites that may have alot of information just in case all your questions are not answered here.

I've been told by someone with lots of egg experience that the earliest you incubate the better. I've heard that many people keep their eggs in the refrigerator until they have the number they want to incubate.

I believe that 40 degrees is too cold (seems to me the temp must be between 45-65) for ideal conditions.

And that's a good point too--I've read here many times that people have had success with less than ideal conditions--but I understand you'd like to do the best you can.

Placement in paper egg carton: You always want the large side up (even when turning)

Rotation: We've been doing it three times a day, always keeping the large side up while we turn.

MY QUESTION ABOUT ROTATION: We are rotating three times a day--would it hurt things if we missed rotation for 48 hours in the middle of the incubation period?

Here are some helpful chicken websites. If I can't find a thread about helpful chicken websites in the archives, I'll start a thread.

Best of luck--please tell us your success rate. Also, what breeds do you have?

-- Ann Markson (, March 19, 2002.

Oops! Here are those sites:

Extensive site for raising backyard chickens for your home and raising chicks Wonderful Poutry site Backyard poultry project toward self-sufficiency An on-line zoological garden of domestic poultry e.html Wonderful site full of extensive information Informative site of a urban poultry farmer The world of chickens Love and care can turn your chicken into a loyal follower Chickens in general The Hen House One Stop Chicken Information Center Good Chicken Tractor

-- Ann Markson (, March 19, 2002.

Seven days is said to be the limit for holding eggs before you start to see a decrease in hatachability.

Placing the large end up allow for better gas exhange, as a larger number of pores (gas exchanging openings) are on the large end of the egg.

Turning is more important for eggs that have been shipped or handled roughly, and it is said that eggs need to be turned for at least the first 18 days of incubation, for chicken eggs.

-- BC (, March 19, 2002.

Despite many claims to the contrary, I still don't think it's wise to store eggs in the refrigerator before hatching. If you do, I would make sure that your refrigerator is not set too cold----I have always heard that the eggs need to be kept in the 55 degree range. At a certain temperature (not much colder than that) the embryos will die, and I believe that even ones that make it will not be strong. I once hatched some eggs that someone gave me, and I didn't know until later that they had been in the refrigerator----had a really poor hatch and two of the chicks were crippled. Good luck, though.

-- Jeff (, March 19, 2002.

I've hatched eggs quite a few times. I put the eggs in paper egg cartons on the kitchen counter. Till I get thirty eggs. That's what my incubator holds. I turn the cartons over twice a day (top to bottom and back again). I wouldn't do this longer than a week and definately would never put them in the fridge or wash them. Hope this helps.

-- Harmony (, March 19, 2002.

I gathered my eggs each day and put them in egg cartons in my laundry room. at least 65 degrees in there. they were in styrofoam cartons. That just happened to be what I had. I was going to put them in the basement but never got around to it. I never turned them at all but they got moved around to put in more eggs and when they were in my way. they were in there almost two weeks.At least some of them were.I put them under two silkies when they finally got broody. I didnt expect them to hatch after all that time but yesterday and today they all hatched. Every one of them!

-- Corky Wolf (, March 19, 2002.

I've hatched many eggs. Hatch rate depends on a lot of conditions. I store the eggs in an egg carton at room temp. Chicken eggs up to two weeks. With the big end up, turning doesn't seem to matter. Make sure you have water in the incubator. I've gone on a fishing trip for the week-end and still had good hatching. As long as the eggs don't freeze in the nest pick them up once a day, leane none overnight. The milder temps. indoors ( 70-75) won't start the incubation process.

-- Robin in East Texas (, March 19, 2002.

I've collected eggs for up to a week, just put them in a basket. The only movement they got was when I took out the basket to add more eggs. I've never used an incubator, but I put the eggs under hens that were setting. Most everyone has always hatched. I've been doing this for several years. I don't think letting them get too cold would be a good idea, I just keep mine on the floor in the basket and I don't wash them. I've never kept them waiting for more than a week before putting them under the hens.

-- Sharon (, March 19, 2002.

Egg hatchability does not go down considderably until they are two weeks old. After that it goes down quickly.

Keep all eggs on their sides, with the pointed end slighly tipped down.

Turn the eggs once a day until put in the incubator and then follow the incubator instructions.

Eggs should be stored at 10-15 degrees C (sorry, don't have Farenhiet) any colder or warmer will decrease hatchability, sterilize the egg, or decrease vitality. A refrigerator is way!!! to cold.

Last piece of advice is, if you do not already have one, invest in an egg turner. Hatching rate definitely increases!

Good luck,

-- Chenoa (, March 20, 2002.

Here's my 2 cents on hatching eggs. They can take far more abuse than what you think. I did a test hatch last month with mixed breed eggs and leghorns. I had 15 out of 24 eggs hatch in the still air Little Giant incubator. 5 of 11 eggs had been in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. I've hatched eggs as old as 5 weeks with good results. The eggs were never turned before or durring the hatch. Other than opening the bator every few days to add water I didn't touch it. 13 of the eggs were from a rir that was laying in the loft of my barn. Temps durring the 3 weeks or so they were up there were in the low 30's and never above 40. My other Little Giant has a fan and auto turner. I started 23 leghorn eggs at the same time in that incubator. Those eggs were also in my barn on the floor for up to 3 weeks. They were filthy dirty with poop and muck. I washed and scrubbed them hard to get the filth off. I had 19 healthy chicks hatch. One egg did go bad durring the hatch, so yes you can introduce bacteria to the egg by washing. Out of hundreds of eggs I've washed I've only had 2 go bad. I know this goes against what most have read or thought about hatching eggs. I do what I can to provide the optimum conditions in hatching eggs, but sometimes that isn't possible. Try a hatch without turning the eggs and do some of the "don'ts" and you might be surprised.

-- Kent in WA (, March 20, 2002.

A few tips:

Incubate and store them with the large end up. When incubated they grow with their head in the large end so it would kill them to set them on their delicate heads.

You can store them for about a week in cool room or I've heard even the frig.

For getting purebred Ameraucana eggs you can contact Barbara by e- mail:

she is selling Ameraucana eggs(not sure if standard or bantams)

-- Char (, March 25, 2002.

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