Any advice for buying hatching eggs?

TheBirdBabe

Songster
10 Years
Jun 8, 2013
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I'm looking in to buying some hatching eggs, but it's my first time!

I'm genuinely curious to know how these sellers know that the eggs are fertilized. 🤔 Or are they just assuming? I know there's no 100% guarantee on hatching eggs, so I'd love some advice before either making a 4hr road trip or spending $200 for ONE DOZEN eggs to be shipped. 😥

Thank you for any advice in advance! 💕
 
As far as fertility - sellers are guessing fertility because of results of previous hatches. Shipped eggs are definitely a crap shoot. The seller has no control over what happens once eggs have been shipped. If possible, pick up of fertile eggs by the buyer is generally a better option. I realize that is not always possible. Good luck.
 
I would not buy shipped hatching eggs this time of year it’s too hot. Spring and fall are better times. Depending were you are fertility is going to be down too because of the heat, they breed less when it’s hot out.
There is no way to determine fertility before incubation without opening the egg and after incubating not being fertile is only one of many reasons for not egg developing. When it comes to shipped eggs I have a limit I’m willing to spend because 1) you have to except 0% hatch rate and be happy if you get 25-30% 2)you don’t really know the quality of the birds the eggs came from, you are only seeing pictures the seller wants you to see 3) health and care of the flock you are not seeing the birds environment.
I’m not saying buying shipped eggs is all bad but go in it with open eyes. I have had some really good experience with hatching shipped eggs and some really bad, my worst experiences were the most expensive. Now I ask myself am I ok with losing that money and having nothing to show for it in the end?
Check poultry show Central website for poultry shows around you a lot are back on and that’s a great place to meet people that are breeding the birds your interested in and many timers they bring extras to sell. Also look for a club for your breed and that’s a good way to find knowledgeable breeders and they can point you in the right direction for a breeder closer to you.
 
I would not buy shipped hatching eggs this time of year it’s too hot. Spring and fall are better times. Depending were you are fertility is going to be down too because of the heat, they breed less when it’s hot out.
There is no way to determine fertility before incubation without opening the egg and after incubating not being fertile is only one of many reasons for not egg developing. When it comes to shipped eggs I have a limit I’m willing to spend because 1) you have to except 0% hatch rate and be happy if you get 25-30% 2)you don’t really know the quality of the birds the eggs came from, you are only seeing pictures the seller wants you to see 3) health and care of the flock you are not seeing the birds environment.
Wow, this is ridiculously great advice! I didn't even think about any of this! 🤯 From watching my own flock, I totally understand. It's been 100°+ lately & everyone has been tired from the heat.
Thank you so much for commenting! I greatly appreciate it.
 
Most of what I have been hatching is shipped eggs. There’s been various problems from various different aspects, from the seller’s end all the way through my end through hatching. Overall, though, I will continue to hatch shipped eggs to get the breeds I want (space pending!) and overall have been rewarded.

I would NOT spend $200 on chicken eggs though!!

I haven’t found a difference between Spring-Summer-Fall and hatchability, though realistically I can’t rule it out either. If anything, the incubator doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain temp, and high heat doesn’t affect downy chicks like grown feathered adults (those are miserable unfortunately)

Most of mine come from eBay. No sellers have been bad per se, but there are some I wouldn’t buy from again for a few reasons. Really scrutinize them and the images they put up. I have decided to not buy from anyone less than 99% rating. There are some really great sellers though, too!

As far as fertility- there is no way to tell looking at an egg whether it is fertilized. Even if it’s fertilized, there are so many things that go from fertilization to chick. Most breeders can say pretty accurately an egg is fertile, because statistically if the fertile disc is present in x number of eggs they open up and/or x number of eggs are hatched, and they have a bigger rooster to hen ratio for breeding, they can say they offer fertile eggs. I can say I have fertile eggs, because just about every egg I open to eat has the bullseye disc! Unfortunately, you will not be able to open a “dud” after attempting to incubate and locate a fertile disc. It disappears after a while so you can’t say it’s a dud because it’s not fertile or some other issue.

I guess very general advice - 1) consider why you want to order shipped eggs. If you just want to experience hatching and breed isn’t a concern, find something local. If you are trying to get specific breeds and live chicks are like $100 a pop … yeah get the eggs. And expect some expense (but not $200!). 2) Have you hatched eggs before and have a reliable incubator with all the kinks under control? If not, I highly recommend trying local eggs first before killing off expensive shipped eggs because some hatching variable was off (yeah, I’ve killed some eggs and learned some things). 2) Whatever you hatch, you must have a plan for males, because you will get them if you hatch anything. 3) For shipped eggs, expecting a 50% hatch rate is pretty decent. If you get a higher hatch rate, be pleasantly surprised! 4) Getting eggs shipped from somewhere closer to you as opposed to across the country does not correlate with less PO damage! I can attest to this - it seems my less damaged eggs come from farther away rather than from states right next door! 5) Look for that NPAI or whatever that health certification is. It means more in some states than others, but at least it’s a tiny bit of guarantee - just a little - on flock health, and means the breeder is at least somewhat serious to have gotten their state out to their place to take a look. It’s not a guarantee for perfectly healthy and husbanded chickens, but it’s something.
 
1) consider why you want to order shipped eggs. If you just want to experience hatching and breed isn’t a concern, find something local. If you are trying to get specific breeds and live chicks are like $100 a pop … yeah get the eggs. And expect some expense (but not $200!). 2) Have you hatched eggs before and have a reliable incubator with all the kinks under control? If not, I highly recommend trying local eggs first before killing off expensive shipped eggs because some hatching variable was off (yeah, I’ve killed some eggs and learned some things). 2) Whatever you hatch, you must have a plan for males, because you will get them if you hatch anything. 3) For shipped eggs, expecting a 50% hatch rate is pretty decent. If you get a higher hatch rate, be pleasantly surprised! 4) Getting eggs shipped from somewhere closer to you as opposed to across the country does not correlate with less PO damage! I can attest to this - it seems my less damaged eggs come from farther away rather than from states right next door! 5) Look for that NPAI or whatever that health certification is. It means more in some states than others, but at least it’s a tiny bit of guarantee - just a little - on flock health, and means the breeder is at least somewhat serious to have gotten their state out to their place to take a look. It’s not a guarantee for perfectly healthy and husbanded chickens, but it’s something.
I just love this site for so many reasons.. one being that there is so much knowledge to be shared among... chicken tenders. :lol:

To answer some of your advice 1) I want to buy hatching eggs for a few reasons. One being that eggs are a bit cheaper than chicks & two, I'm so afraid of shipping live chicks! Especially this time of year. 2) We always expect males. 😬 In my last batch of chicks, we had six out of ten end up being roos! 🙃

I have had great hatch rates on my incubator! Also, the reason I was spending close to $200 was because I was looking at buying one dozen Lavender Orpington eggs along with two Ayam Cemani eggs! Shipping tends to run high too.

Thank you for all the info! This is truly helpful!
 
Looks like you are all set then!

Though I will comment that most of the time there aren’t problems with shipping chicks, depending on your location. Of course there are horror stories, but the majority are fine.

I’m still a little skeptical of $200 though … Ayam Cemanis were very pricey, and still are, but have really come down in price. At least last I looked. Everyone is trying to cash in on them now. As for the Lavender Orpingtons, they are a little pricier than some but not $200 or even $100 for a dozen! Shipping shouldn’t be more than $20 or so. Most I’ve paid for shipping this year so far was $18.

EDIT: Let me amend this - I’m thinking in terms of eBay. If you are thinking of ordering directly from a small farm, then yes, I’ve seen some pricey eggs. Generally these pricier birds/eggs are or should be well bred from excellent breeding stock, and there is a little bit of better service and guarantees (or should be!). If you are looking for those breeds just for something interesting and fun, then you can find cheaper, though!
 
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Looks like you are all set then!

Though I will comment that most of the time there aren’t problems with shipping chicks, depending on your location. Of course there are horror stories, but the majority are fine.

I’m still a little skeptical of $200 though … Ayam Cemanis were very pricey, and still are, but have really come down in price. At least last I looked. Everyone is trying to cash in on them now. As for the Lavender Orpingtons, they are a little pricier than some but not $200 or even $100 for a dozen! Shipping shouldn’t be more than $20 or so. Most I’ve paid for shipping this year so far was $18.
Thats good to know. I've looked through a TON of sites & the Lav. Orpingtons generally all seem to be priced the same. Usually $5-$10 per egg. 😵‍💫
I think I'm going to look a bit more before I buy though.
 
I haven’t found a difference between Spring-Summer-Fall and hatchability, though realistically I can’t rule it out either. If anything, the incubator doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain temp, and high heat doesn’t affect downy chicks like grown feathered adults (those are miserable unfortunately)
My biggest concern with shipped eggs in the summer is the heat during shipping, the back of those mail trucks are not air conditioned and can get very hot.
It’s just me but I would not spend $200 a dozen for shipped eggs. Even if you did have a great hatch of 50% that’s over $30 a chick. Lavender Orpington and Ayam Cemani are not really all that rare anymore at least around me in NY. Maybe you are having a hard time finding them because they don’t do well in your area. I know people do raise Orpington in hot parts of the country but in the summer they struggle without a lot of help keeping cool.
 

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