It was a sad event at the cottage tonight, when we decided to stop the incubation of half of the eggs. We are both very inexperienced about these things but we hope we made the right decision. We have delved into what little books we have on the subject and then used the internet to give us the confidence that we needed on the matter of the candling of eggs.

Candling eggs gets its name from the use of candle light long ago. In a dark room the egg is viewed with the candle source of light behind it. The development, or lack of development, of the embryo can be viewed in this way. We could have bought a modern candling device which emits a very bright cold source of light. Instead, we opted for or LED head torches which are bright enough to have  stickers all over the package saying ‘do not stare in beam’. At this point I don’t think I need to mention what the lovely Sharon and I both did upon reading these labels.

Three out of the half dozen incubating eggs showed the outline of the spidery veins of a developing embryo. And two of these three visibly moved about on their own under the bombardment of intense light.

The sad news is that the other three showed no signs of the beginnings of life. Two of them had no shadows at all, and were instead mottled with the dots of a large pore structure. From our research we have been led to believe that this is not a good sign.

The last remaining egg showed signs of a well defined ring inside the egg. This is a bacterial ring which is essentially a ticking bomb. This one bad egg must be removed to ensure that it does not detonate and spread contamination to the rest of the developing eggs.

We knew the risks when we started on this adventure. Our egg supplier admitted that the fertility had not yet been tested and invited us to have a go with the eggs at half the price. Even if the fertility had been tested, the fertility can never be guaranteed. However, we do know that we if we get two, three or zero little chicks from this little experiment; we will be trying again. Unfortunately it is all about the struggle for life, and it is not a Disney film.

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