I know what you are thinking. HOW CAN YOU BE SO CLUMSY?? I can't believe it happened either. Here is how the process normally works.
Each day I head out to the coops to pick up the eggs. I carefully place them in my basket and bring them inside. They are marked by date and set in order and rotated each day until it's time to place them in the incubator.
After 3 days in the incubator, I candle the eggs to determine which are developing, and again at day 10 for confirmation. After that they sit tight until day 18 when they are "locked down" and await hatch day on day 21.
And, normally, it all goes very smoothly. Except this time, there was a glitch. After candling on day 10, I was returning the very full tray to the incubator housing which was in mid-rotation and tipped about 45 degrees. I usually try to do this quickly as the eggs have already been out for a few minutes and opening the incubator allows the heat to escape. So, as I manuevered the tray to fit back into place, I watched in horror as an egg slipped out of position, rolled off the tray and landed with a sickening thud onto the table. Noooo!! %@#*&!!!
I stared at the egg knowing what that meant. Eggs cannot hatch with cracks in the shell. I've tried it before. Several times when I've received hatching eggs in the mail, eggs have been cracked in shipment. I tried gluing them to seal the cracks, but to no avail. If the moisture loss doesn't terminate development, bacteria can get inside and cause rot. It is a death sentence.
Unable to accept it's fate, I picked the egg up and recandled it. Yep, the little embryo was still swimming around, oblivious to its dire situation, which was a crushed spot on the shell, about the size of a quarter. My brain kicked into overdrive. What to do, what to do?
So, I did what came to mind since there was nothing to lose. I cut the corner off of a plastic sandwich bag and taped it over the crack. My logic was that even though I was sealing off critical air flow through a portion of the egg shell, I needed to prevent the massive moisture loss that would have occurred through the crack. I hoped that there was enough egg surface left to handle the natural moisture depletion and oxygenation that occurs during incubation. I put the egg back into the incubator with the cracked side face up. Then, I waited.
On day 18, my cracked egg still showed a developing embryo, so I put it in lock down with the others.
I'm not sure why there wasn't an issue with bacteria, as the incubator conditions are perfect for egg rot, should the shell be compromised. And my shell "repair" was completely amateurish. But, somehow, it worked.
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