Or night, to be more accurate.
Armed with my trusty LED desk lamp and a metal canning funnel turned upside-down over the thing, I was able to cup one hand around the eggs and use the other to gently rotate the egg until I could see how many potential chicks we have waiting in the wings. The ReptiPro has been a darling, purring along and holding it's temperature and humidity beautifully.
I had one dozen Dark India Cornish eggs bought off ebay and shipped...and unfortunately, because of several different issues, will NOT be using this particular breeder again. More on that later, but out of 12 eggs, I saw embryos in only 2, 6 were clear duds that never developed, and 4 others I was unsure of but gave the benefit of the doubt and returned to the incubator. The 'unsure' ones I strongly suspect are duds with broken yolks, though. We'll keep our fingers crossed.
Out of the 13 eggs from our hens, I saw embryos in 6, 6 I was unsure of (one may have quit, 5 others are too dark to candle positively but I think *do* have embryos), and 1 was a dud.
I will do a breakout on the 'dud' eggs to check for fertility, lack of freshness and other causes later on.
So right now we have 8 embryos for sure and 10 others that *might* have embryos! I will candle again on day 17 (this Sunday) and remove any other eggs that have not progressed. But I think I can safely say we will have about 13 chicks!
Now, back to the shipped eggs if you want to read the whole sad story...before I bid, I first contacted the seller weeks ahead of time and asked if he could ship the eggs within a certain date range so I could get them a few days before I planned on setting eggs. No problem, he said. So I went ahead and bid on one of his auctions and won it, sending him a message right away reminding him NOT to ship the eggs for another two weeks, as we had agreed.
A few days later (two weeks ahead of time), I was unpleasantly surprised to find a USPS box on my doorstep. Not only that, but it was completely lacking any kind of 'Fragile' or 'Hatching Eggs, Do Not X-ray' stamp. Box kinda crunched on one end, but eggs packed well and no harm done.
OK, contacted the seller, said I can't use these eggs in two weeks (every chicken breeder knows Rule #1: you NEVER set old eggs to hatch). He said, sorry, he got mixed up. He also said that marking the package 'Fragile Do Not X-ray' would have made it 'suspicious' and subject to being opened and inspected (what do I care?)...he said the eggs should be 'fine'.
OK...contacted him again and said nope, I'm not gonna set 2 week old eggs, his mistake, so he needs to send a replacement shipment.
He said OK, but MADE ME PAY HIM ANOTHER 25 CENTS for him to print out a new shipping label before he'd do so!
Criminy. OK, done. Eggs shipped and received, box still not marked as 'Fragile' or 'Do Not X-ray'. *sigh...* But again, eggs packed well and seem in good condition.
Meanwhile my egg set day arrives and the new eggs and some of mine are started in the incubator, well and good. I decided to do a breakout on the first shipment to check for fertility.
YIKES. Only 60-70% fertility. Four of the eggs I opened were obviously very old and had started to
rot--they hadn't gotten to the 'green and smelly' stage yet, but were
clearly nearly there with weak yolks and foul, yellow whites with dark
solids floating in them. About 1/3 of the rest of the eggs were clearly not fresh and had started to turn with the yolk mottled and discolored, but the albumen as yet unaffected. Not fresh--not candidates for hatching. To be fair, the eggs had good strong shells.
I took some pictures of what I'd found and sent them and an email to the seller to let him know...that was 11 days ago, no response yet. It's really disappointing to run across a chicken breeder such as this, most are very proud of their eggs and would never send old eggs or a shipment that isn't clearly marked, 'Fertile Chicken Hatching Eggs--Please Handle With Care And Do Not X-Ray'. It's dead standard marking for the outside of the box, and no one I know has every had an issue with it. It's how I mark my egg shipments when I send out eggs.
So...that's my sad little chicken egg story. Geez, I think I would have done better to take my money and throw it into the street...