I've wanted some breeds of birds that weren't available in my area or were too expensive so I started looking into shipped eggs of those breeds. I've bought a lot of eggs and I've learned information along the way. I've been seeing several people post questions about incubating shipped eggs and having insecurities about it too.
Hatching your own eggs rarely seems cut and dry, and hatching shipped eggs may seem entirely daunting. However, with a few adjustments you can hatch shipped eggs successfully.
No matter how you incubate eggs your hatch rate could be reduced by circumstances out of your control. Focusing solely on shipped eggs here are some of the reasons:
1. Infertile
2. Frozen or too cold
3. Shaken severely/ Scrambled
4. Improper Nutrition of Hens
So let's get started.
After you have gotten your eggs, unpack them carefully. You will need an egg carton to set your eggs in, fat side up. People can get pretty creative when packing and sending the eggs. Let the eggs sit in the egg carton overnight preferably in the same room you will be incubating in. Have your incubator running and calibrated. I have mine set to 99.8' and 40% humidity and they usually always hatch on their due date.
The next day is the time to candle your eggs to check for wobbly air cells, or what looks like water in the air cell. I've only had eggs sent once that didn't have them, so you can be pretty sure that you will have some.
If you have wobbly air cells the next steps are crucial for your success.
Now is the time to cut up a paper egg carton to put into your incubator. I start by cutting off the lid completely and the tabs in the front. You need to cut the carton to the size it will fit in your incubator even if it means individual cups.

Put the carton in your incubator and set your eggs in them fat side up. Do not turn the eggs or shift the eggs for 5 days. This goes against normal incubating rules, I know. We are trying to fix a wobbly air cell problem that can't be fixed by jarring it around at this time.
After 5 days you can put the eggs into the egg turner or start hand turning as normal until lockdown.
Three days before hatch date, known as lockdown, candle the eggs to check for any persistent wobbly air cells. If you still have some get your carton back out and put your eggs in it fat side up to hatch them inside of it. Alternately you could turn the eggs pointy side up so the chicks position themselves to hatch at the opposite side of the egg but you may need to assist in the hatch at some point. I have chicks that get out just fine out of the pointy end, but other that stall and need help. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching.64660/
Some eggs won't hatch no matter what you do, but with these steps you can increase your hatching rates for the ones that can be.
  • Like
Reactions: ShannonsChimkens