Candling Eggs

Candling is a technique used to examine the growth and development of the embryo inside the egg.  A bright light is placed behind (or underneath) the egg in order to see details inside. Although candles are not generally used anymore, the term still remains.

During the 21 day incubation period, I would candle the eggs once or twice in order to discard eggs that weren’t fertilized or developing.  Although commercial candling set-ups are available for purchase, I asked around the farm and found there are simple and very inexpensive homemade candling options available. My favorite candling set-up was a cardboard box, LED flashlight and roll of toilet paper.  When I was ready to candle, I would first set up my lab.  This involved shutting the blinds and turning off the lights in the Polyface Farm store office, borrowing the brightest flashlight I could find, getting the box from the box discard pile, obtaining a roll of TP, and getting the eggs out of the incubator.


Homemade egg candler





After about a week in the incubator, you should be able to see veins developing. After a couple weeks, you can see the embryo forming.


After about a week you can see a spot with veins developing.



After ten days or so, you can see the chick embryo developing.


There is a lot of information available on the internet and in books about candling. Brinsea, the maker of the incubator we use, has a more comprehensive article on candling here.



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About Heather Juda

Heather was born in Atlanta, GA, but spent 19 years in Colorado before moving to Virginia. She came to Polyface for the 2012 internship and has stayed on as the first female apprentice. She became interested in the food industry when she was in high school, and over the years sought to eat in a healthier way through community gardening, hunting and supporting local farmers. She had a very blessed and “comfortable” life in Colorado complete with a good IT career and condo, but on a calling from the Lord, she left it all to start a new life in farming at Polyface. She looks forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for the future and hopes to use what she learns at Polyface to provide healthy food for people!

2 Responses to Candling Eggs

  1. GrassFood says:

    Thank you so much! This will come in very handy this summer.

  2. Nice.. I would like to try this..