You may have heard a lot about egg candlers, and if you are new to incubation or have just set up your poultry business you may be curious to know what the candling process is all about, what exactly an egg candler is, and how and when should you be using egg candlers in your poultry practice.
This guide has been developed to help poultry farmers as well as hobbyists to understand what an egg candler is and its importance in poultry care. The guide also walks you through the process of candling and how you can do it easily in the safety of your home itself without using any fancy tools. The guide also lists and reviews the top ten leading egg candlers available in the market today to help you make an informed purchase based on your requirements.
What is candling?
Candling is the process by which you can study the development of an embryo inside the eggs during incubation as the days go by. The process involves using a bright source of light placed behind the egg to illuminate it so that the viewer can observe the details of the growing embryo through the shell. Candles were originally used as the source of light for testing eggs. Hence, the term candling came into use.
Egg candlers work on the same principal and use bright, concentrated beams of light, to observe what is going on inside the eggshell. Most egg candlers have a LED light and are preferred instead of other light alternatives because they are very efficient and have a longer life. The bulbs do not need replacement, which lowers the cost of maintenance.
Egg candlers are extremely portable, and while some need to be plugged into an electrical socket to function, some candlers are powered with battery units making it possible to use them in the incubator or the nest itself without having to move the eggs around. Egg candlers are also much safer to use than other traditional equipment because they use a cool light for illumination instead of heat thus limiting the likelihood of damage to the eggs.
Readmore: What is candling
Why must you use egg candlers?
Imagine that you buy a batch of eggs. You are obviously hoping to hatch those eggs and bring up some healthy birds. You may have even invested in an expensive incubator to aid in the incubation process.
You place the batch of eggs in the incubator, and for days on end, you wait patiently, till you know it is time for the chicks to start breaking the shell and showing their delicate little faces. Only, you don’t see any activity in the incubator. You cannot figure out what is wrong since you have had the incubator working correctly for weeks and have been making sure that the temperature and the humidity levels are consistent at all times. They were no power failures, so your incubator couldn’t have stopped working in the middle of the night either.
So why haven’t your eggs hatched yet?
Some eggs are late hatchers, so there may not be anything to worry about. But what if the worst happens? What if you have been working with a batch of infertile eggs, to begin with, or your eggs have stopped developing somewhere during the incubation phase. How can you know for certain what is wrong?
It is important to employ the usage of the candling process to keep track of which eggs are fertilizing and which have stopped developing. The technique of egg candling is also used in the poultry industry to assess the quality of eggs.
Not every time you hatch eggs, can you expect a 100% hatch rate. It is important to keep track of eggs that are infertile or which those in which the embryo has died. Such eggs must be removed and separated from rest of the eggs you are incubating. Otherwise, there is a risk of the eggs going bad and contaminating other eggs inside the incubator.
Besides determining the fertility of eggs, candling also allows you to monitor the development of the embryo to detect any early warning signs as well as the weight loss rate.
Egg candlers are safe to use in the candling process, and they give accurate results. Egg candlers can either be battery-powered or plug-in devices. Some high-tech egg candlers have a rotating stand on which the egg can be placed, and you can observe the egg through an eyepiece for better, detailed inspection. Other varieties of egg candlers might be portable and lightweight and look like small flashlights.
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How do you use egg candlers for testing the eggs?
Farmers use the candling process to determine which eggs are fertile and will hatch into chicks. You do not need extensive knowledge or expensive equipment to conduct the candling process. You can candle your eggs using an egg candler efficiently.
Candling of eggs is perfectly safe when done in the right way. In a natural setting, a mother will leave her nest full of eggs for a short period each day. In the same way, you can also take your developing eggs out of the incubator to test the progress of their growth without causing them any harm.
As moisture evaporates from the eggs during incubation, the size of the air sac within the egg should increase. Eggs need to lose about 13% of their original weight during incubation. While some people candle their eggs every single day to watch the progress of the development of the embryos, it is recommended that you wait until day seven of the incubation process, for two reasons –
- Eggs are very sensitive to variations in humidity and temperature. Moving them around, or in and out of an incubator daily could risk their development, especially during the early stages of incubation as they are exposed to fluctuating temperatures or humidity.
- It takes approximately seven days for the eggs to start developing properly and you will be able to differentiate between the good eggs and the ones that are problematic only after this time.
After the first test is done on day seven, you can check the eggs once again on day fourteen and discard any suspicious eggs if you find that the embryo is not developing. It is suggested that you refrain from candling the eggs after day sixteen as the eggs must not be touched after this point until the chicks have hatched.
- Every egg candler comes with its set of instructions for use. Outlined below are the general steps in the candling process –
- Set up the egg candler near the incubator to minimize the time taken between inspection and returning the eggs to the incubator.
- For the best results, eggs should be candled in dimly lit conditions or a darkened room.
- The egg must be held above the source of the light, with the larger end of the egg positioned directly against the light.
- Take notes on your observations so you can compare any differences between the first and the second candling and see variations in the development of the embryo.
- Return the eggs to the incubator within twenty to thirty minutes to avoid any risk of damage or exposure.
Image via: Pinterest
In fertile eggs, during the initial days, you will be able to see a small spot which is the embryo with a network of blood vessels surrounding it. As the days progress, the web of veins will continue to spread and expand fully. The growing embryo will reflect back as a dark mass under candling, taking up most of the space inside the egg during the days right before it is due to hatch.
Infertile eggs, on the other hand, will remain clear and if the embryo has died, it will show up as a dark ring of blood.
What to consider when buying an egg candler?
Depending on your specific requirement you may choose to invest in an inexpensive, hand-held egg candler that looks like a flashlight and plugs into an electrical socket. Or you may opt to buy a more expensive variety of egg candler if you run a larger business and want to test eggs regularly to check them for their fertility and development.
The important thing to consider when buying an egg candler is that the source of light should be cool as otherwise, a strong, hot beam of light could damage the eggs.
Also, some eggs are thick-shelled or dark, in which case you will want to buy an egg candler that works well with such eggs.
Reviews on top 10 egg candlers
1. OvaScope High-Intensity Egg Candler
Manufactured by Brinsea, the OvaScope high-intensity egg candler is the number one favorite egg candler based on user reviews. It is expensive in terms of price, but its popularity is based on the fact that it provides the highest possible visibility of the growing embryo inside the egg. The OvaScope can be used to observe eggs that are lesser in size than a small goose egg. The OvaScope is also suitable for testing darker, mottled and thick-shelled eggs.
The higher light output from a higher spec LED, compared to a standard OvaScope, ensures that you won’t have to waste any time in replacing the bulbs, and so the cost of maintaining the candler is low. There is also no risk of overheating the eggs during testing.
The Ovascope provides the viewer with very clear images of the contents of the egg, by blocking out ambient light and magnifying the image of the egg. The viewer can rotate the egg on the OvaScope with touching it, and observe the details from several different angles. The OvaScope is powered by batteries and needs 4 AA batteries to operate. It can also be fitted with a webcam and is thus ideal for demonstration purposes or can be used in a classroom.
2. OvaView High-Intensity Egg Candler
The OvaView high-intensity egg candler can accommodate eggs of any size making it a perfect choice for you if you have a poultry business consisting of different types of birds. Since the LED light is bright but also soothing and cool, it ensures that the eggs do not come to any harm, thus allowing for prolonged observation.
3. Yosoo High-Intensity Egg Candler Tester LED Cool
The Yosoo High-Intensity Egg Candler Tester is reasonably priced making it an affordable product. It is extremely safe to use and is highly durable. It consists of a long electric cable with American plug and can be operated easily with an on and off button. It has been made from the best quality materials and is thus very robust.
4. Incu-Bright Cool Light Egg Candler
The egg candler from Incu-Bright is an affordable candler. The light of this candler is super bright, and it is very easy to test eggs using this product.
The Incu-Bright candler consists of a universal silicone rubber ring that seals against eggs of any size, making it possible to work with different varieties of eggs.
The low temperature of the light from the candler ensures that the eggs are not harmed during observation.
5. Cool-Lite Egg Candler
Since the eggs do not need to be hand held when testing with this candler, it is easy to move the candler over the eggs for longer periods of time, giving you more time for observation.
6. Magicfly Bright Cool LED Light Egg Candler Tester
This gives you greater freedom to operate, making it convenient for you to use at any time as per your needs.
7. Farm Innovators Model 3300 Egg Candler
The egg candler from Farm Innovators is an affordable candler that plugs into a standard US 120V electrical outlet. Because it is light in weight and is very easy to use, the Farm Innovators Model 3300 egg candler is perfect for use in educational purposes and by kids.
8. E-FirstFeeling Egg Candler Bright Cool LED Light Egg Tester
9. WENDSIM Incubator Partner Bright Cool LED Light Egg Candler Tester
If you use a flashlight to candle your eggs, this bright LED egg candler tester is a much safer and robust alternative.
10. Flexzion Bright Cool LED Egg Candling Light Candler Tester
Every user will have his/her unique requirements, but we advise investing in the Brinsea OvaScope High-Intensity Egg Candler as it is extremely advanced in its functionalities and can be used to work with several different varieties of eggs. So you won’t need to worry about having to buy different candlers, as OvaScope will sufficiently meet all your needs, whether you need to use it in your poultry business to test your eggs or you want to utilize it in a classroom to teach your students.
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