Candling My Marans Eggs

Last week on Thursday, Day 10, I candled the Marans eggs with my neighbors. We were able to see veins and the shadows of the embryos in 6 out of 7 of the eggs. The 7th egg was completely clear, my belief is that it was not fertile.

Tonight, Tuesday, Day 15, I candled again. This time with my partner and my neighbors. We were still able to see veins. I was really amazed at the amount of movement we could see! I’ve been doing my research on candling Marans eggs (and other very dark egg shells) for awhile now and nearly everything I’ve read has proven that people can’t see much inside eggs this dark. The chicks themselves were not distinguishable, but we were able to see a great amount of movement along the edge of each chick’s body. It was unclear which parts of the chick we were seeing, but it was very clear that these eggs were alive and growing! I have to say it was an amazing experience, that I’m glad I got to share.

I made my own candler. I did a lot of Google searching, and looked at many DIY candlers before I started to look at the objects I had on hand.

My homemade candler in words:

I found one homemade candler that I really liked. It was made of wood and had a sliding cover with three different sized holes. Since I don’t have a rooster the likelihood of me needing to candle eggs much is pretty low, so I decided to use a cardboard box instead. Next, what light? I wanted to use a CFL bulb since they don’t generate as much heat as an incandescent. What light fixture? I had read about people using their heat lamp fixture, but mine is still at a friends house. So instead I used a shop light, loaded with an 100 watt equivalent CFL, the kind with a wire cage on the end of an extension cord. I took the wire cage off and threaded the cord through the bottom of the box. When I folded the bottom of the box back up I didn’t need to make any cuts, instead I just pushed the cardboard against the cord until the bottom of the box was closed. That provided me with a leak proof bottom. Once the light fixture was in, I cut a small hole over the bulb. Then I covered all the seems on the top of the box with strips of cardboard from a cereal box and taped it all tight with masking tape, thus providing a leak proof top (aside from the hle the egg will sit on). I used a small plumbing fixture to trace a circle around the small hole I had previously cut. I took some time to get the hole the right size. Lastly I tested it out with the 8th Marans egg that I had cracked the very first day (saved for just this occasion). The egg lit right up and I could see all the way through it so I figured it would work well enough.

I waited until full dark to candle due to the dark nature of the Marans eggs. The hatch rate on these eggs is notoriously low, so I don’t expect all 6 eggs to hatch.

My homemade candler in pictures:

I didn’t want to cause any harm to the Marans eggs so I didn’t take the time for pictures of them during the candling.

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