Marking Eggs With A Lead Pencil

Aaron : I have a white Silkie. We call her Mrs fluff and the rooster Mr fluff. We have 60 chickens of all breeds ( 4 roosters and 56 hens ) 2 guineas and 2 Peking ducks. Free range. Mrs fluff is sitting on 10-12 eggs. I noticed a few days ago that there are now 18 eggs. For future sittings what should I do? Isolate her? Mark the eggs? If I mark them what should I use? My Dad said to not use a lead pencil. Thank you. Aaron in Monrovia, Indiana Love the newsletter

My Reply : I have seen a lot of people in the forums mention they use sharpies which are supposed to be non-toxic for ‘normal uses’ and seem to work quite well but in many other places such as here (question 57) they say that a lead pencil is the only thing that should be used to mark eggs. It seems counter intuitive to mark anything with ‘lead’ (worries of lead poisoning etc.) but strangely enough as the following article points out, there isn’t actually any lead in a lead pencil : Ever wondered about the lead in pencils? It can help to keep a broody hen in her own secure area so she can hatch her chicks in peace, and that would ensure that no new eggs were added to her nest. If she is already settled on her nest then moving her could potentially disturb her enough to make her leave them. Depending on the flock it may be worth that risk as if they pester her that in itself could cause her to abandon her eggs and they may even attack the chicks once hatched. Likewise, she can potentially be a menace to them by trying to scare them away from the nests. Often all will get along just fine and the chicks can grow up with the flock  which can be lovely to watch – as ever it can still be handy to have a ‘plan b’ ready in case things don’t continue to go as smoothly as hoped.


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