Testing the Eggs

| 9/17/2014 9:26:00 AM

The Historic FoodieAbout half way through my first trial at incubating eggs with five Bourbon Red turkey eggs and an assortment of Buff Orpington and Ameraucana chicken eggs, I am trying to learn how to candle the eggs. I made the candler, which works pretty well. I grew up with poultry, in fact, one might say I was raised in a hatchery.

My dad could not pass the physical to join the military due to having severe asthma, but no one wanted to hire him to work because they were afraid they’d train him and then he’d be called up for service. My parents were newly married and having a hard time financially until Mr. John Joseph Neidert hired both my parents to work in his hatchery. They couldn’t afford to pay someone to keep me so they took me to work with them. Mom would spread a blanket out on the floor and I’d sit on the blanket and play with some toys while she and Daddy did their work. Mr. Neidert had no problem with the arrangement and, in fact, if he needed one or both parents to come in to work up eggs he’d tell them to bring me along.

At home it was left up to the hens whether or not they wanted to sit on a clutch of eggs so incubation is foreign to me, but I’m determined to master it.

photo:  Meyer Hatchery 

Photo:  Meyer Hatchery

For the candler, I used a round Quaker Oats box and wired up a porcelain lamp base, which sits inside the box to provide the light. I cut a small slit to allow the electrical cord to protrude, covered the lid in aluminum foil to block unwanted light after cutting a round hole in the plastic lid for the eggs to sit in. It was more effective after Martin lined the inside of the box with aluminum foil, seemingly reflecting all the light up through the hole in the lid.