Some Tips About Egg Incubation

Correct Incubation Conditions Are Important For Development And Hatching Of Eggs. The Required Conditions Vary Considerably Between Species, And Some Species Appear More Exacting In Their Requirements Than Others. Minor Deviations In Correct Temperature May Lead To A Slightly Shortened Or Lengthened Incubation Period, While Greater Variation May Cause Failure To Develop Or Hatch, Or Result In Weak Chicks. Incorrect Incubation Conditions Have Also Been Implicated In Some Developmental Problems Of Neonatal Birds.

In General, Correct Incubation Conditions Are Most Crucial Early In Incubation, With Small Variations Being Tolerated Better By The Embryo Later In Development. For This Reason, Eggs Are Sometimes Left With The Parents Initially For Seven To Ten Days Until They Have Been “Set” And Transferred To An Artificial Incubator After This Most Crucial Period, In The Hope That The Birds Will Then Lay Again. Alternatively, Eggs Are Placed Under A Broody Initially, Before Being Placed In An Artificial Incubator. Both Procedures May Improve Hatching Success Compared To Complete Artificial Incubation.

Egg Cleanliness Is Of Vital Importance; It Has Been Shown That Poor Hygiene And Dirty Eggs May Significantly Reduce The Percentage Of Eggs Hatching Successfully. It Is Important That The Laying Sites Are Clean As Well As Conditions Following Egg Collection. Eggs Cool Down Once Laid, Therefore The Contents Shrink And Air Is Drawn Into The Egg: Bacteria May Be Drawn In At The Same Time. Invasion Of Bacteria Such As Staphylococcus Spp., Salmonella Spp. And Escherichia Coli May Lead To Death Of Embryos Or Neonates. Eggs May Be Cleaner If They Are Collected Immediately After Laying Rather Than After They Have Been “Set”.
Eggs Which Are Deformed Should Not Be Incubated.

Eggs Which Are Noted To Be Cracked At The Time Of Collection Are Generally Discarded, And Grossly Contaminated Eggs May Also Be Discarded At This Time. If Such Eggs Are Particularly Valuable, They Should Be Separated From Other Eggs For Incubation, Due To The Greater Risk Of Infection.

Eggs Which Become Cracked During Incubation May Be Repaired, If The Crack Is Small, With E.G. Surgical Grade Cyanoacrylate Glue, Candle Wax Dripped Onto The Crack, Nail Varnish, Correction Fluid Or Sticky Tape (It Has Been Suggested That Products Containing Acetone Should Be Avoided, Due To Possible Toxicity . Eggs Which Are Cracked Should Be Incubated In An Incubator (Not Under Parent Or Broody), With Extra Care Taken In Their Handling And Monitoring. It Is Important To Ensure That The Material Used To Cover The Crack Is Applied To The Minimum Surface Of The Shell Required To Seal The Crack. A Thin Layer Of Bone Cement May Be Applied Over A Crushed Area Of Shell And A Hole In The Shell May Be Repaired By Gluing An Appropriate Piece If Sterilized Shell, Parafilm, Tissue Or Gauze Over The Defect. Care Should Be Taken To Avoid Sealing Over Larger Areas Of The Shell Than Absolutely Necessary As This Prevents Necessary Gaseous Exchange.

If The Shell Membranes Have Been Penetrated The Egg Is Likely To Have Become Contaminated With Pathogens And The Yolk, Embryo Or Blood Vessels May Have Been Physically Damaged. Hatchability Is Greatly Reduced.

A Pipped Egg Which Is Being Parent Or Broody Incubated And Becomes Damaged Should Be Moved To A Hatching Incubator.
Records: Accurate And Detailed Records Are Very Important In Incubation. All Eggs Should Be Individually Identified And Details Recorded Including The Identity Of The Parents, And Details Of Their Pedigree, Nutrition And Breeding And Incubation Behaviour, Initial Weight, Date Of Setting, Details Of Incubation Such As Results Of Candling, Incubator Used, Weight Loss (If This Is Being Monitored) Expected And Actual Hatching Dates, As Well As Evaluation Of The Hatched Chick Or Results Of Investigation Into Eggs Which Fail To Hatch.

Parent Incubation Generally Provides The Ideal Conditions Of Temperature And Humidity For Development And Hatching. However, Not All Species Or Individuals Are Equally Good Sitters, Particularly In Captive Situations, In Which Birds May Be Disturbed And Not Feel Secure. Additionally, Small Species In Particular Are Vulnerable To Predation While Sitting, Especially If Nesting In An Open Site. Also, Normal Incubation Behaviour May Not Be Suitable For Birds Being Maintained In An Environment Very Different From Their Native Habitat.

If Allowed To Sit, Hatch And Rear Their Chicks, Most Birds Will Produce Only One Clutch A Year, Whereas Two, Three Or Even More Clutches Of Eggs May Be Produced If The Eggs Are Removed.

It May Be Less Easy To Monitor Parent-Sat Eggs For Fertility And Continued Development, With An Attendant Risk Of Disturbing The Birds.

In Captive Conditions It May Be More Likely That Nesting Materials Will Not Be Fresh And Clean, But Contaminated With Droppings, Or Include Mouldy Vegetation.

Post time: Mar-27-2017
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