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Chicken Egg Hatchability Problems Part I

There are a number of problems that can arise for the hatch ability of eggs, though they will typically be problems with the hatchery, the handling of the eggs, or the breeder flock. Identifying these problems quickly is essential, and requires the cooperation of hatchery, egg handling, and breeder farm personnel. When working to identify the hatch ability problems that may be occurring, detailed and accurate records are essential. Every piece of information that can be obtained will help you locate and resolve any issues. Here are some general issues you may encounter, and their potential causes.

Problem: Infertile eggs with no blood and a small, white germinal disc that, when candled, show clear.

Causes: There are a number of things that can cause this problem, many of which can be easy to solve, some of which are unfortunately beyond control. Some examples include extreme weather conditions, inadequate lighting, and inadequate floor space. You should also check the breeder flock for problems such as parasites, feet and leg problems, excess body weight, or breeders which are too young or too old. You will also need to check for disease in the breeder flock. Signs of this may include rough, misshapen, or thin-shelled eggs. Exposure to certain drugs, pesticides, toxins or mycotoxins can also cause the issue, as can nutritional deficiencies. Also ensure that proper artificial insemination procedures are being employed, if artificial insemination is being used.

Problem: Fertile eggs that have no blood, have a germinal disc which appears enlarged, and which candle clear may be referred to as "blastoderm without embryo."

Causes: This is another issue that can be caused by breeders that are too young or too old, a disease in the flock, or exposure to drugs, pesticides, etc. However, many other causes of this problem are related to handling. These can include the eggs being stored too long, being held under improper conditions, washing the eggs at too high a temperature, fumigating incorrectly, or being jarred or exposed to sudden sharp changes in temperature during transport.

Problem: Eggs that, when candled, show clear, containing a blood ring or an embryo which died within three days of incubation.

Causes: This issue has many of the same causes as the previous issue. However, other causes may include inbreeding and nutrient deficiencies.

Problem: Embryos that have died within three to six days of incubation, an embryo on its left side, with a yolk sac circulatory system and no egg tooth.

Causes: Sharing many causes with the blastoderm without embryo, this problem has the additional potential causes of a lack of proper ventilation, improper turning, or vitamin deficiencies.

Problem: Embryos that have died within seven to seventeen days of incubation, each with an egg tooth, feathers/feather follicles, and toenails.

Causes: With this issue, it's important to check incubator conditions. There may be a problem with the temperature, humidity, turning, and/or ventilation. This problem can also be a sign of contamination, nutrient deficiencies, or lethal genes.

Problem: Embryos that have died past eighteen days of incubation.

Causes: Incubator conditions can again be an issue, as can contamination, particularly from molds. Improper fumigation techniques, transfer temperatures, handling of hatcher can also be a factor. There could be an issue with shell quality, or a broken shell.

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