Buying fertile eggs for hatching is such an exciting process. Knowing how to buy fertile eggs can greatly increase your hatch rate. I would like to share with you several pro tips that you can use for a more successful hatch.
Whether you buy from a local farmer or order you eggs online, there are several things that you should be aware of before you make the purchase.
1. Buy From a Local Farmer
By far the easiest way to increase your hatch rate is to buy fertile hatching eggs from a local farmer. If you can eliminate the middle man, the post office, you don’t have to worry about the mishandling of eggs.
Find out where your local farmers are. A good way to find them is to talk to other people that own chickens. Especially if they own a rooster!
Look for local people that are selling eggs. You can find people that are selling eggs on Craigslist and OfferUp. Shoot them an email and ask them if they also sell fertile eggs.
2. Ask How Fresh the Eggs Are
By purchasing the eggs from a local farmer, you can get the freshest eggs possible. Ask the seller how fresh the eggs are that you will be purchasing.
You will want to ask for the most recently laid eggs. Eggs begin to lose viability after about 10 days.
Depending upon how many different breeds of eggs you will be purchasing and how many hens they have laying the eggs, you may have to wait a few days or even up to a week to get the amount of eggs that you want.
As long as the seller is storing the eggs properly,(see #11 below) and you can place them into the incubator by day 10, you should be ok.
3. Ask Breeder the Fertility Rate
A good breeder will know the fertility rate of their eggs. There are many things that can affect the fertility rate.
Roosters that are either too thin or too fat are likely to have a lower fertility rate.
A rooster that is ill or has an injury to his let is likely to have difficulty mating, decreasing the fertility rate.
Roosters are at the peak of their sexual maturity around 6 months of age and it begins to drop around age 2-3 years of age.
Fertility will also drop when the weather is really hot and in the winter, when the days are shorter.
|WHAT CAN AFFECT THE FERTILITY |
RATE IN CHICKENS?
|TIME OF YEAR|
4. Ask How Many Roosters are in the Flock
Find out how many roosters are in the flock. If there is only 1 rooster and 20 hens, the fertility rate is likely to be low. This is because one rooster will have a very difficult time fertilizing 20 hens eggs.
If there are too many roosters in the flock, you are likely to have a lot of fighting. This is stressful for the flock and will decrease the fertility rate.
The ideal ratio is no more than 10 hens for 1 rooster. This way the hens are not bred too much, but are bred enough to make sure the eggs are fertilized.
5. Meet the Parents
If you are able to “meet the parents” of the eggs you will be purchasing, this is great! You can see how many roosters are in the flock, the type of feed they are getting, how healthy and happy they look.
6. Mail Order Transit Time
If you aren’t able to find a local farmer that is selling fertile eggs, you can order from a hatchery or farmer online and have it shipped to you. There are 100’s of people selling fertile eggs online.
Find a seller that is closer to you. The less days it will be in transit to you by the post office, the better. You never know how the post office is going to treat your package.
It doesn’t take much jostling or even dropping the package of eggs, to ruin the viability.
If shipment takes 4 days and it took 7 days to collect your eggs, by the time you receive the eggs they are already 11 days old and losing viability.
If you are in California, I highly recommend Papa’s Poultry to purchase your eggs online. They take great care of their customers and package the eggs very professionally.
7. Ask Seller How They Package the Eggs
The way your seller packages the eggs is so important and it can mean the difference between the eggs being delivered fully intact or cracked.
Most sellers that I have purchased from wrap each egg individually in bubble wrap, place them pointed side down in a box filled with shredded paper.
One of my sellers even places this box within another box, filled with more shredded paper to provide a really good cushion for the eggs.
It is important for the package to be labeled “FRAGILE” and “TOP” or “THIS WAY UP.” This way the post office (hopefully) will handle it with care.
8 Ask Seller to Send a Shipment Tracking Number
Knowing that you will be receiving a shipment of fertile eggs is so exciting! Ask for the seller to send the shipment tracking number to you when they receive it.
Being able to track your package will allow you to make sure you are prepared at home.
I always have my incubator sanitized and calibrated before the eggs arrive. For more information on how to use and incubator and how to improve your hatch rate, read my articles 15 Essential Incubation Tips – How to Improve Hatch Rate and How to Use an Incubator to Hatch Chicken Eggs.
9. Can You Pick Up at Your Local Post Office?
Check with the seller if it is an option to allow you to pick up your shipment of eggs at your local post office. This is especially nice if you are at the end of your mail carriers route. It can shorten the transit time by several hours.
Check with your post office to see if they will accept packages like this. Not all do. One year I had my fertile chicken eggs returned back to the sender from the post office.
By the time they were delivered to my home, they were already 10 days old. Most of this time was in transit. Most of the eggs were “scrambled” with detached air cells.
10. Can You be Home When Eggs are Delivered?
If you are having the eggs delivered to your home, it would be best if you can be home when it is delivered.
Most carriers will leave packages on your doorstep. Not being aware of what the contents are, they could leave them in the sun.
Try to be home when the carrier is dropping your package off. If you can, have him hand them directly to you.
11. How to Unpack and Store Fertile Eggs
As soon as you receive your shipment, you should unpack the eggs. Take your time unpacking the eggs. They are likely to each be individually bubble wrapped and sealed with tape.
It is very easy to drop an egg when unwrapping, so be careful!
Get an empty egg carton ready to store your eggs in.
Unwrap them and inspect each one for both obvious and fine cracks. Use a flashlight in a dark room to candle the eggs to check for fine cracks. Discard any eggs with obvious cracks.
Eggs that are shipped need to sit for 12-24 hours before placing into the incubator. Shipped eggs develop little tiny air bubbles during transportation and allowing this time allows the air bubbles settle.
Conclusion: How to Buy Fertile Eggs[Increase Your Hatch Rate]
Whether you are getting some fertile hatching eggs from a local farmer or are ordering your eggs online, there are several things that you should know before you buy.
Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions about their breed stock and if they are being shipped to you, find out how they package and ship the eggs.
There are 100’s of people that sell fertile eggs. Don’t just settle because it’s convenient. Find a seller that will give you the best odds of increasing your hatch rate.
|FIND A SELLER THAT MEETS|
AS MANY OF THESE
REQUIREMENTS AS POSSIBLE.
|BUY FROM A LOCAL FARMER|
|EGGS ARE FRESH|
|GOOD FERTILITY RATE|
|GOOD ROOSTER/HEN RATIO|
|LETS YOU “MEET THE PARENTS”|
|SHORT TRANSIT TIME|
|WILL SEND TRACKING NUMBER|
|CAN YOU PICK UP AT POST OFFICE|
|WILL YOU BE HOME FOR DELIVERY|
|EGGS HAVE BEEN STORED PROPERLY|