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Poultry: Reproduction & Incubation

Hatching egg storage period

Eggs saved for hatching are very perishable and their viability is greatly affected by the quality of storage conditions. If properly stored, the number of hatching failures can be kept to a minimum. It is recommended that most eggs be stored no longer than 1 week. Storing eggs longer will produce a greater incidence of hatching failures.

The maximum storage period for chickens is about 3 weeks. Some turkey eggs will survive for 4 weeks, but quail will have difficulty developing from eggs stored longer than 2 weeks.

Hatching eggs should be collected soon after lay and maintained at 50-65o F. The eggs must not warm to above 65o F. unless they are being prepared for immediate incubation. Relative humidity in the storage facility should be maintained at 70 percent and daily egg turning or repositioning is recommended to prevent the yolk from sticking to the inside surface of the shell.

Refer to one of the incubation related publications listed previously for a more thorough discussion on hatching egg storage.