Hatch­ing hitch

Country Smallholding - - Poultry Pen -

QMy hatch­ing has been quite good, but I had a rot­ten egg which burst and took a long time to clear up. Should I be wor­ried about the con­tam­i­na­tion of other eggs?

VR SAYS: The short an­swer is yes. Virkon is a good dis­in­fec­tant, but it needs to be in touch with the eggs for 10 min­utes to be sure all pathogens are con­trolled. If you use wa­ter warmer than the egg then the shell mem­brane ex­pands and blocks the pores in the shell. When you are can­dling eggs at the sec­ond week of in­cu­ba­tion, how are you go­ing to know if the chicks are still alive? If you see, in­stead of a spi­dery web of blood ves­sels a com­plete cir­cle of blood ves­sels, this one’s de­vel­op­ment has been kicked off by a hen brood­ing it, but it then stopped when the tem­per­a­ture dropped at egg col­lec­tion, so it has died. The eggs that have a solid area at the pointed end of the egg and the airspace at the top one third, with a very well-de­fined line be­tween the two, are grow­ing well. If this line is fuzzy, the em­bryo has died for some rea­son, which may be an E. coli in­fec­tion from its mother — a com­mon cause of ‘dead in shell’. This egg should be dis­carded. If you are not sure, leave it in, but mark it and check that it has not hatched with the oth­ers. Do not break it open as lots of path­o­genic bac­te­ria will be re­leased. If the par­ent stock is healthy and has been fed on a breeder ra­tion, the em­bryo has a greater chance of be­ing healthy and strong as well.

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