How to Candle to Tell if a Chicken Egg Is Fertilized

Embryos that have stopped growing are called "quitters."
Embryos that have stopped growing are called "quitters." (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The purpose of candling an egg is to make sure that there is an embryo inside. Candle the egg after seven days to indicate the presents of an embryo. Today people use "egg candlers" or bright flashlights rather than an actual candle. The main reason being is that using a candle can cook the egg if it is held too close for too long. Candling an egg is easier than you think, you just have to know what you are looking for.

Things You'll Need

  • Bright flash light
  • Incubator
  • Dark room
  • Soft cloth

Wait until the eggs have been in the incubator for one week. Wash your hands. Remove the egg from the incubator carefully. Place it on a soft cloth. Place the flashlight over the larger part of the egg.

Rotate the egg to get a good view. Look for spider veins or an embryo to indicate that the egg has been fertilized. Look for a small dark cloud in the egg -- this is the embryo. Look for a blood ring around the yoke to indicate that the embryo has died.

Repeat the same process for each egg in the incubator. Discard the dead or infertile eggs.

Recandle the eggs after two weeks. Look to see if two thirds of the egg is covered. This indicates that the embryo is developing into a chick. Check each of the eggs in the incubator to make sure all of them have developed. Look for bad eggs. A bad egg will look the same as it did after seven days or have a blood ring around the yoke.

Tips & Warnings

  • Holding the light to the egg for more than eight seconds can cause the egg to heat, killing the baby chick.
  • If a dead egg is not removed from the incubator, the egg can explode and infect the other eggs.

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