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Egg care for the conscientious poultry keeper interested in incubation hatching

Selection and care of the eggs is crucially important if one is to see success in incubation hatching. Generally speaking, egg care includes not only the selection of the egg, but also careful storage. Firstly, let's talk about selection. Now you obviously need to avoid misshapen or obviously defective eggs. Such eggs are unlikely to incubate successfully, or even if they do, the hatchlings may not survive for long. Eggs whose shells are too thin are also not to be incubated, because they usually do not retain moisture effectively during the warmth-intensive incubation process, even despite high levels of humidity. And of course, eggs that are cracked are out of the question if you have to make a choice.

If you have a very large incubator, you might indeed decide to try incubation hatching them anyway, but if you're strapped for space, I'd suggest that you give the cracked eggs a miss. This is not to say that a cracked egg can't develop, because it can, but there's an overwhelming possibility that the egg will become infected during the incubation process because of the cracked shell, and that the chick within it will die or be ill at birth. And remember that disease is easily transferred among chicks in the first days of birth, so those cracked eggs might cause losses out of all proportion to their percentage of your breeding egg stock.

Other than this, there are certain basic point s to bear in mind when selecting eggs for breeding. First, look at the breeders, and only choose the eggs of the healthiest birds. Avoid inbreeding if at all possible, as this can cause a higher than average number of genetic defects in the hatchlings. Don't choose eggs that are not of an average size, that is eggs that are bigger or smaller than the norm, as these cause issues at hatching and afterwards.

Sanitation is absolutely the key to success. You must make sure that your hands are perfectly clean when you handle the eggs. Of course, the eggs aren't too susceptible to disease at this point, unless they happen to be cracked, but you must still handle them with clean hands. Above all, don't try to wash the eggs, even if they look dirty. Eggs actually have a coating that protects them, and wiping or washing them will remove this, and actually increase the chances of failure in incubation hatching due to disease.

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