Are you are trying to hatch shipped eggs? It is important to know that they require different care as compared with farm fresh hatching eggs that you pick up from a local farmer. Upon arrival, they need inspected for fine cracks, candled to see if the air cells are intact and depending upon the status of the air cells, time to “rest” before placing into the incubator.
Prior to ordering your fertile eggs for hatching, make sure that you have your incubator and all of your incubator supplies ready. Calibrate your incubator to make sure that the temperature and humidity are accurate.
Let’s take a closer look at what the requirements are for hatching shipped eggs.
What is the Best Way to Hatch Shipped Eggs?
It’s so exciting to go online and pick out different breeds of fertile eggs for hatching. There are so many varieties to choose from! Depending upon which breeds you choose, eggs average anywhere from $2-$7 each plus shipping.
Many companies will take into consideration that the hatch rate for shipped eggs is not as good and they will “throw in” a few extra.
You put a lot of time, thought and money into purchasing fertile eggs for hatching, so you want to make sure that you do everything just right to get the best hatch rate possible.
What to Expect When Ordering Shipped Fertile Eggs?
If you decide to purchase fertile hatching eggs online:
- Check the reviews before jumping in to order. Read other buyers comments.
- Find out how fresh the eggs are.
- Find out the fertility rate.
- Ask how the eggs are wrapped for shipping.
- Consider the climate, humidity and temperatures that the egg will travel through. The more variations, the more it can decrease the hatch rate.
- Consider purchasing at a location closer to you, to cut down on transit time.
- Pay for the fastest shipping method.
- Get a tracking number.
- Remember, cracked or “scrambled” eggs are not the suppliers fault.
- Calibrate your incubator before you receive your shipped eggs to make sure it is in top working order.
Finding a reputable company with a lot of good reviews is key. People will give a good review if they find a company responds to their questions promptly, packages the eggs well and are repeat customers.
Ask the supplier what the fertility rate has been for the eggs your are purchasing as well as how fresh they are when shipped. Eggs will lose their viability as they age.
You are always taking a risk with getting shipped eggs. A box labeled, “FRAGILE,” is often dropped, thrown and mishandled by the postal service. This is how eggs become cracked, “scrambled” and air cells become detached. The less distance that the eggs have to travel, the better.
If you have a choice, choose a shipping method that will have the eggs in transit for the shortest period of time. Also, choose a time of year that the eggs will experience the least amount of temperature and humidity variances during their travel.
Ask for a tracking number to be sent to you so you can keep an eye on the delivery date and time. This way you can pick them up at your local post office first thing in the morning or get them off your door step right away.
I have ordered eggs from Papas Poultry in Redbluff, CA, several times and have had great success whit them. The eggs are each individually bubble wrapped and placed within a box that is filled with shredded paper. Bubble wrapped eggs are placed in the box, pointy side down. That box is then put within another box filled with more shredded paper.
How Do I Candle Shipped Eggs?
Candling shipped eggs requires you to use a candling device, a very bright light, to shine through the egg. This should be done in a dark room and will allow you to see if the egg has any hairline cracks or detached air cells prior to incubation.
Your package has finally arrived! The first thing that you need to do when you receive your fertile hatching eggs is to carefully remove them from the packaging for candling. Take your time doing this. The last thing you want to do is accidentally drop one of them.
Step by Step Instructions for Candling Shipped Hatching Eggs
- Wash your hands before touching fertile eggs.
- Carefully remove each fertile hatching egg from the packaging, discarding any obviously cracked eggs. Place the remaining into an egg crate, pointy side down.
- Find a dark room to candle the eggs.
- Wipe down your candling device (flashlight) to sanitize it.
- Holding an egg in an upright position, shine the light through the fat end of the egg. You can cup your hand around the outside of the flashlight to help illuminate the inside of the egg better.
- Inspect for any fine lines. Fine lines are tiny cracks and can occur during shipping. Fertile hatching eggs with fine cracks require special care.
- Tip: How to Save a Cracked Chicken Egg
- Gently rock the egg back and forth. Inspect air cell at the top of the egg. The air cell should remain intact (not move). If it moves, the air cell has become detached and needs extra care prior to incubating.
- Separate the eggs with detached air cells and the one’s with fine cracks for proper treatment.
- All shipped eggs must sit a minimum of 24 hours and must be at room temperature prior to incubation.
Tips for Hatching Shipped Eggs
How Long Can Eggs Sit After Shipping?
When hatching shipped eggs, for the best hatch rate, shipped eggs should sit 24 hours prior to being placed into the incubator. They need extra time to settle after being jostled around during transportation.
Letting the eggs “rest” prior to incubation allows the air bubbles that may have developed during shipping to settle. Place the eggs pointy side down, in an egg crate. Gently rotate 45 degrees every 8 hours.
For eggs with detached air cells, place pointy side down in an egg crate and do not rotate. If they are fresh eggs, consider letting them rest for an additional day or two. Candle each day to see if there is improvement.
Sometimes eggs can become scrambled or cracked if they have been shaken too much during transportation. This makes them unviable.
How Long are Shipped Eggs Viable?
10 days after being laid, eggs begin to lose viability. This is why it is important to find out how fresh the eggs are when they are mailed. Eggs that are 1 week old and take 3 days to ship are already 10 days old by the time you receive them.
If you can, find a company that is able to gather and ship eggs to you within a day or two of being laid. Finding a company that is closer to you will cut down on transit time. Or pay for quicker shipping time.
What is the Hatch Rate for Shipped Eggs?
Shipped eggs have about a 50% hatch rate. There are many variables that can affect this rate. Eggs that come from a breeding stock with a good bloodline and have been fed a healthy diet will have a better hatch rate. Eggs that have been mishandled during shipping or have not been kept at the appropriate temperature and humidity will have an even lower hatch rate.
It’s a risk that you will have to take if you are going to purchase shipped eggs for your incubator or broody hen. There is no way to predict how the mail carrier will handle your precious cargo.
If you are planning on putting your eggs into an incubator, I highly recommend doing your research to find a really good one. I have been using the Brinsea Octagon 20 for several years now and have had a very high hatch rate with shipped eggs. Some of my hatches were even 100%!
Pretty much the more money you spend on an incubator, the more handsfree it will be for you. If you are a busy person, I recommend getting an incubator with an automatic turner.
Can I Wash Shipped Eggs?
No, you should not wash shipped eggs. About an hour before an egg is laid, a protective coating called a cuticle or “bloom” is deposited. This cuticle protects the egg from bacteria penetrating through the pores of the egg. Washing an egg will remove some of the bloom, predisposing it to becoming contaminated.
The best eggs for hatching are eggs that are shaped properly, pointed on one side and fat on the other. “Double yolkers,” “torpedo eggs” or any other misshaped eggs will have a lower hatch rate.
If the egg that you receive is heavily soiled with dirt or poop, you can very gently scratch it off with a dry cloth. Don’t get the egg wet. Any moisture on the outside of the egg will break down the bloom and make it easier to transfer the bacteria from the poop or dirt through the pores of the egg, contaminating it.
For more helpful tips on incubating chicken eggs, read some of my other articles:
Conclusion: Now You Know How to Hatch Shipped Eggs
Taking your time to find a reputable seller of fertile chicken eggs is the first important part of having a successful hatch. Remember that it is always a risk purchasing eggs that require shipping, but oftentimes the end result most definitely out ways the risk that you take.
Nothing is more precious than watching the eggs that you waited to arrive in the mail, took care of for the past 21 days, finally have adorable chicks break out of their shells and make their appearance!
It’s so addicting that you will want to do it again and again!