Common Sense in shipping hatching eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by frenchblackcopper, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. frenchblackcopper

    frenchblackcopper Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    East central Illinois
    Okay,we have all probably bought fertile hatching eggs that have to be shipped to us.I have a few questions about shipments that I have got and poor hatching results that I think was a direct result of poor packaging.

    First off,the eggs were wrapped perfectly,none arrived broken to my residense.Many people give great praises on the packing of the eggs,,but this is what happened to me. I bought 20 eggs from a well known breeder.They sent 24. The eggs arrived to me,both dozen inside a larger box,,but both dozen was placed inside the box on their side,,immediatedly after I got the eggs,I sent them an e-mail saying they arrived and none were broken,but did mention then about the eggs being sent laying on their side. They never replied back to me,,but the hatch date was Sunday or Monday and from 24 eggs,,I got 3 chicks that hatched.

    So tonight,I finally candled the remaining 21 eggs,and in all the eggs that didn't hatch from this seller,every one of them the air sacks was moving around in. I wrote them about this a few days earlier about the poor hatch,and they replied they had shipped thousands of eggs this way,and no complaints,,well thats fine,but I now have close to $25 each,in the 3 chicks that did hatch out.

    Gravity can be a great or a very bad thing,and in my opinion,when an egg is placed on it's side,and then subjected to vibration,and rough handling on it's trip to you,doesn't it make more sense if the egg was placed in the box air sack side up? At least this way,gravity is keeping the yolk down inside the egg shell,and not against a fragile air membrane. If the shipping box is marked THIS SIDE UP,and NO X-RAYING,HATCHING EGGS,,at least if the package is positioned right during shipping,isn't it a lot less likely to rupture the egg air sack?

    I feel I threw my money away with this seller,although they did offer to send me 6 eggs,if I paid the shipping,I thought why waste that money,if their still going to lay the eggs on their side and ship that way again? BTW,these were not $3.99 a dozen eggs,,

    Today I got 36 eggs shipped to me and tonight before putting them inside the bator,decided to candle them,7 air sacks was moving,and of those 7,5 were placed in the carton with the air sack placed DOWN in the egg carton,,it makes me wonder if all the eggs were placed air sack up,if my final result would have only been two eggs,with ruptured air sacks? Opinions?

    In my opinion,wrapping an egg against breakage is only 1/2 the issue,and if something as easy as placing the egg in the carton air sack up,and marking the shipping box on the outside THIS SIDE UP,, will enhance the number of eggs that actually do make it thru shipping and stand a chance to hatch out. I personally now am instructing sellers that I buy from to package eggs this way to me and ship,,If they do otherwise,and lay the eggs on their side,or the egg carton on it's side,and then I get 85% ruptured air sacks,would this not be cause for disputing the sale thru Pay Pal and demanding full payment back? I also think the seller should candle eggs before shipping,, looking for this as well.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    You might be correct about positioning the eggs, however, here's what my post mistress told me: Most of the handling is done by machine, and the machines don't read the fragile or this end up markings, which my boxes have. The boxes get put on conveyor belts that drop them from one belt to another, three foot drops. When they fall, they can land any which way.

    Makes you wonder why they bother with fragile markings at all.

    I ship mine small end down, each egg wrapped in bubble wrap, centered in the box, padded all the way around, with no space for movement. I label boxes "Live embryos, handle with care", "This end up", "Fragile", and I put photos on the box of the eggs, what the chicks should look like, and what adult birds look like. With cute captions. My PS said that was good, it would the the attention of the people during the bits of the journey that they actually do get handled by people, and that would most likely get them somewhat better handling. But they'd still get the machine handling, too.

    So you see, the position in the box may or may not be of much importance. Except that when people do see it, they might flip the box right side up. Maddening, isn't it? This year, with eggs I ordered, I had 7 out of 26 hatch, then 0 from 14, 0 from 6 replacement eggs, and 0 from 15.

    With the last one, I had 3 eggs, from my own hens, in with them, all three hatched. None of the others even pipped. Then I hatched 2 more batches of my own eggs, hatched 17 out of 23, then 10 out of 11. Started with 24 and 12, had 2 infertile, or at any rate, that were non-starters. So with the ones of my own eggs that did hatch, and all the chicks are healthy and have done very well, I know it wasn't my incubating that was at fault.

    I agree that if the egg is small end up, or sideways, when a jolt occurs, it's more likely to damage the air cell. I just don't know if packing them upright and marking the box accordingly will help much. It wouldn't hurt, though.
  3. gamebirdsonly

    gamebirdsonly Crowing

    Mar 5, 2007
    I have received eggs in all different packaging and in the end even the best packaging and positioning did not save the eggs.
    Like was mentioned above a machine handles the packages and writing on them does not make a difference. I have received around 100 boxes of eggs in last 2 years and some boxes had all the stuff written on them don't drop, be careful live embryos, fragile eggs and it didn't make a difference what position the eggs were in the air sacks were detached, eggs busted, scrambled. I have spent just this year on eggs $1000.00 and not had that great of success most of the eggs have been scrambled.

    But that is how it goes with shipped eggs. It only bugs me when some one charges way to much for shipping and the eggs are not properly wrapped.
  4. jacyjones

    jacyjones Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    I have only done one hatch so my experience is small. I got 6 eggs from Ebay, well packaged in a poly box point down, and hatched 1 (a roo, of course!). I also had 5 eggs from the farm next door and 3 of them hatched. I am now keeping the pedigree roo, as long as he stays non aggressive, so I will hatch my own eggs when I try again.
  5. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Crowing

    Jan 25, 2008
    Northern KY
    I've both bought eggs from others to hatch, and shipped hatching eggs myself. As others have said, it seems to make no difference if you mark the box FRAGILE or related things. In fact, I have a funny feeling that in some cases it might make things worse (I have this vision of grumpy postal workers acting like the gorrilas in the suitcase commercial.)

    There are so many factors that can impact hatchability of shipped eggs, including handling and temperature during shipment (too high or too low), it's always just a crapshoot.

    For me, I figure if I get even a 10% hatch, I'm doing well, especially with expensive birds.

    Compare what you get to what it would cost to have started birds shipped, and even your $25 chick is cheap. Started birds cost at least $50 to ship, not including the cost of the birds themselves!
  6. frenchblackcopper

    frenchblackcopper Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    East central Illinois
    I am keeping a record of the total I have spent on eggs,and I'm sure that budget will be more and more.I wonder if a private courier service exists that does pay attention to the inside contents of a package? UPS,Fed-Ex,DHL handle packages personally? Can insurance be bought that will cover eggs that do get scrambled before arrival to you? Even if that is the case,if your looking to start 20 birds from one bloodline that alone,at least with my record so far,would take about 40 dozen eggs shipped to me.

    I think I will ask about this,and see about insuring the package.Even if 1/2 a dozen looks okay on arrival and only 2 hatch possibly insurance would cover the costs of the other 6,thus giving you money to put towards the next dozen. Anyone know if insurance on a package such as this can be bought and cashed in upon damage to eggs?

    Maybe it would be easier to just plan a long weekend road trip to several breeders farms and pick up as many eggs as possible and bring them back yourself.The area of the USA most of my eggs are coming from is also where my mom now lives and I could drop by for an extended stay over a long holiday weekend.
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:I think that's the best way, if you can find the breeders close enough. I'm working on that myself.

    I'm not willing to continue spending money to not hatch eggs. I'd much rather do some driving and get a better hatch rate. Anything I can find close enough to make the round trip in one day, I'd be willing to do. Or further, if I find something near a friend I could spend the night with.

    There are some folks here on BYC, that have wonderful feedback on the hatch rates from the eggs they ship. Many buyers have reported 100% hatch rates, or close to it. Dipsy Doodle Doo is one of ones with high hatch rates from the eggs she sells and ships. I know there are others, but the names escape me at the moment. I would eggs from them, if they have any of the breeds I'm looking for. That's something I need to check out, and see who has what. You might want to do likewise.

    What part of the country are you in, and what breed(s) are you looking for?

    Air cells won't be damaged prior to shipping, unless they've been handled really badly. I've never seen a bad air cell in my own eggs, though once in a great while I see one that's off on the side of the egg rather than in the big end where it belongs. You can ask sellers if they candle, and what criteria they use to select hatching eggs. I candle and select carefully, and I know some others do as well. There's a thread on the subject, I think it was started by either Dipsy or Miss Prissy, you could do a forum search for it.

    I sold and shipped several packages of guinea eggs this year, I think they all hatched at least half, but I'm not certain of that. One buyer never got back to me to let me know. I'm pretty sure she would have told me if they didn't hatch. So I'm looking for people who pack eggs the way I do. I'd be thrilled with a 50% hatch on shipped eggs. Heck, I'd have been happy to get 2 or 3 hatched out of the shipments that I got 0 from.
  8. frenchblackcopper

    frenchblackcopper Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    East central Illinois
    I live in Illinois,about a 2 hr drive str8 south of Chicago.We're starting with French Marans,,We are getting as many straight bloodlines as we can from the possibly 5 people that imported them in the beginning.They must have feathered shanked parents,and the lines must be seperate,we don;t want anything that has another breed mixed into the Marans.

    Many breeders have strict policies about even allowing another person that smells like chicken,on their property,,to bad there isn't a "travel board" thread that could be started here,so people that may be driving to another state,could post the whens and where to's on here,and if someone wanted eggs from a breeder that lived close,possibly those eggs could be picked up,and brought back close to the buyers home. All the good Marans breeders live way south of me,way south,,
  9. Kelso

    Kelso Songster

    Aug 6, 2009
    Excellent topic and great information. Thanks
  10. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Actually most arguments are for laying eggs on their side. I don't believe them or any other arguments about egg position. That box is not going to stay one way up or another. The only luck you'll have is if the delivery person actually sets it right side up in the truck and on your doorstep. I do not think position of the egg in the box makes a noticeable difference at all.

    What does make a difference is that the eggs cannot move. If the eggs can so much as wiggle or shift then every impact or vibration on the box is going to be magnified. Everytime the box moves the eggs will move a little more than the box if they have the space to. Eggs need to be tight. They need to be crammed in there to the point the person packing them is worried they are going to break one shoving packing materials together. Those are the best eggs I get and the ones I get high hatch rates out of.

    Loose air sacs in my experience aren't actually a big deal. So long as the air sacs are small (which they should be in fresh eggs) and they are whole (which they should be if packed right unless your package was treated extra rough) then the air sac moving a bit doesn't do any real damage. These eggs should be put put down in cartons or turners for an extra few days and often if the damage is minimal the air sac will stop moving around and settle back out again. I've had plenty hatch that arrived with loose air sacs and even good hatch rates on entire batches that were like that. The only time it seems to make a difference is if the air sac was large and moved a lot pushing the membrane away from the shell. Then you get really large air pockets that seem to cause trouble. Or if the air sac scrambles into little pieces. In that case there's a good chance the yolk is scrambled or damaged too and the air sac is most likely not going to settle out in eggs where it's badly scrambled.

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