I found myself asking the question, “what do you use to write on hatching eggs?” It may seem like a silly question, but it’s actually an important one. Whether you have a broody hen or an incubator, marking your eggs can help keep track of which ones you want to hatch and which ones you plan to eat.
In this article, I’ll share with you some of the most popular methods for marking eggs, including pencils, grease pens, Sharpies, and more. I’ll also explain why it’s important to choose the right marking method to ensure the safety of your developing embryos.
Pencil or Grease Pen
One of the most common methods for marking hatching eggs is to use a graphite pencil or grease pen. These writing utensils are a popular choice because they are easy to find and use. With a pencil or grease pen, you simply write your mark or label on the egg and it will stay put throughout the incubation process.
The benefit of using a pencil or grease pen is that they are unlikely to seep through the eggshell and harm the developing embryo. Graphite pencils are a great choice because they won’t bleed through the shell and are easy to read. Grease pens, on the other hand, are a bit more durable and may be a better option for marking eggs that will be handled frequently.
Another popular option for marking hatching eggs is to use a Sharpie marker. Sharpies are permanent markers that create a bold, easy-to-read mark on the eggshell. They are also water-resistant, which means that they won’t smudge or fade during the incubation process.
However, it’s important to note that some people caution against using Sharpies on hatching eggs. While the ink is unlikely to seep through the shell, there is a risk that it could harm the developing embryo. Some people recommend using only fine-tipped Sharpies or only using them on the blunt end of the egg to minimize any potential risks.
Dry Erase or White Board Marker
If you’re using an incubator with a clear window, you may prefer to use a dry erase or white board marker to mark your eggs. These markers are easy to write with and can be wiped off with a damp cloth when you’re ready to remove the marks.
Dry erase markers are also a great choice if you’re working with a broody hen. Simply write your mark or label on the eggshell and it will stay put until you’re ready to remove it.
Pencil, Permanent Marker, or Dry Erase?
So, which marking method is the best for hatching eggs? The answer depends on your personal preference and the type of eggs you’re working with. For most people, a pencil or grease pen is a safe and effective option. However, if you prefer a more visible mark or need something that will withstand handling, a Sharpie or dry erase marker may be a better choice.
When marking hatching eggs, it’s important to choose a method that won’t harm the developing embryo. Make sure to avoid using any markers that are known to seep through the eggshell or contain toxic chemicals. Additionally, always wash your hands before handling eggs to avoid transferring any harmful bacteria.
Why Mark Hatching Eggs?
Now that we’ve covered the various methods for marking hatching eggs, let’s talk about why it’s important to mark your eggs in the first place. There are a few reasons why you may want to mark your eggs:
- To keep track of which eggs you want to hatch: If you have a broody hen or an incubator, it’s important to keep track of which eggs you want to hatch and which ones you plan to eat. Marking your eggs can help ensure that you don’t accidentally discard an egg that you wanted to hatch.
- To track the development of the embryo: By marking your eggs, you can keep track of how long each egg has been in the incubator or under your broody hen. This can help you determine when the eggs are likely to hatch and plan accordingly.
- To identify any potential issues: If you’re hatching eggs, it’s important to be able to identify any potential issues that may arise. By marking your eggs, you can keep track of which eggs are developing normally and which ones may need some extra attention.
- To ensure genetic diversity: If you’re breeding chickens, marking your eggs can help ensure that you’re maintaining genetic diversity in your flock. By keeping track of which eggs come from which hens and roosters, you can avoid breeding siblings or parents with offspring.
Frequently asked questions related to marking hatching eggs
- What kind of pen or marker should I use to mark hatching eggs?
- It’s important to use a pen or marker that won’t seep through the eggshell and harm the developing embryo. Pencils, grease pens, and whiteboard markers are popular options. Permanent markers like Sharpies can also work, but be sure to use them lightly and avoid drawing on the entire surface of the egg.
- Can I use food coloring to mark hatching eggs?
- While some people have used food coloring to mark their eggs, it’s not recommended as it can seep through the eggshell and harm the developing embryo. Stick to using pens or markers that are specifically designed for this purpose.
- How should I mark my hatching eggs?
- There are many ways to mark hatching eggs, but some common methods include writing the date or a letter/number code on the eggshell. Some people also draw small symbols or pictures on the eggs to help identify them.
- How long will the marking last on the egg?
- The marking should last throughout the hatching process, but it may fade over time. If you need to refresh the marking, be sure to do so lightly and avoid applying too much pressure to the egg.
- Is it necessary to mark hatching eggs?
- While it’s not necessary to mark hatching eggs, it can be helpful in keeping track of which eggs you want to hatch, tracking the development of the embryos, identifying potential issues, and ensuring genetic diversity in your flock.
Marking hatching eggs is an important part of the hatching process, whether you’re using an incubator or a broody hen. While there are several methods for marking eggs, it’s important to choose a method that won’t harm the developing embryo. Pencils and grease pens are popular options, but Sharpies and dry erase markers can also be effective. By marking your eggs, you can keep track of which ones you want to hatch, track the development of the embryos, identify potential issues, and ensure genetic diversity in your flock.