How to Tell If Chickens in Eggs Are Still Alive

When you hatch chickens, the eggs need monitored to determine if they have fertilised. Candling the chicken eggs involves shining a light through them to inspect the contents inside. The eggs are generally candled after four days of incubation. The eggs then can continually be candled to monitor the growth of the young chickens up until it is about time for them to hatch. Inspecting the eggs allows you to remove any dead ones from the incubator, so you can focus on raising the live chickens.

Place a ball of modelling clay onto the centre of a paper plate.

Insert the base of a flashlight into the centre of the modelling clay. The modelling clay will keep the flashlight in an upright position. Use more modelling clay if the flashlight does not stay straight.

Cut the base off a pint-sized plastic milk carton and then wrap it with black construction paper. Tape the construction paper in place. Cover the bottle with the construction paper completely so that all the light shines toward the top.

Turn the flashlight to the on position. Place the milk bottle over the flashlight. Wrap more clay around the top of the milk bottle to seal the gaps between the top of the milk bottle and the construction paper. The clay will also help to create a base for the egg.

Place the wide end of the egg onto the opening over the beam of light. Turn all the lights off in the room so that you can inspect the egg carefully. Handle the eggs carefully to prevent damaging them.

Inspect the egg to look for small veins that will protrude from a dark centre in the eggs. Eggs that do not have any veins will appear clear. An egg that appears to have small blood spots indicates that the embryo died.

Inspect the chicken eggs carefully to monitor the growth. Live chickens will show some type of movement in the eggs and they will appear as black silhouettes. Care for the chicken eggs properly and wait for them to hatch. The chickens will hatch within 21 days, and they can sometimes take up to 35 days to hatch.

Discard eggs that have not fertilised properly. Discard any eggs that have a foul odour because the chicken inside has died.


Purchase an egg candling torch if you plan to hatch a lot of chicken eggs. The torch has a cool light and a focused beam that allows you to quickly inspect the chicken eggs.


Always follow the directions that come with the incubator carefully to ensure that you do not damage the chicken eggs.

Things You'll Need

  • Modelling clay
  • Paper plate
  • 6 inch LED Flashlight
  • Pint-sized plastic milk carton
  • Scissors
  • Black construction paper
  • Tape
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About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.