Egg question

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Chellester, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. Chellester

    Chellester Songster

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nor Cal

    I've been lurking for a while and this is my first time posting. I really enjoy reading all the posts from everyone; so nice to see such a friendly forum!

    I'm sure my question has been answered here before many times over, but I've looked through here and the FAQ's and can't find anything.

    My question is: How much time can a fertile egg "live" between being laid and incubation? In other words, how long will a fertile egg keep between it being laid and putting it in an incubator, and it will still be alive and hatch?

    The reason I ask is that I noticed a popular way to buy chickens is to purchase fertile eggs on the Internet and having them mailed. Since this must at least take a couple a days, I was curious on how long a fertile egg can last before beginning to incubate it.


    Last edited: Jun 22, 2007
  2. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    hey michelle..I dont know the exact answer to this but I have just set my first "mail order eggs" --> 11 bearded silkie eggs of various colours. The breeder I got them from told me that it is not a problem at all to send eggs which are a week old or more. Someone correct me on this if i am wrong.
  3. joannamarie

    joannamarie Songster

    Jun 17, 2007
    im not sure on this but i did see a feedback on ebay for eggs they got lost in the post for a week none developed
  4. Chellester

    Chellester Songster

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nor Cal
    Thanks aran and joannamarrie for replying. [​IMG]

    I think your posts show that it's not an exact science (which is what I expected). And I'm sure there are a lot of factors that play into it (breed differences, humidity and temp where eggs are stored/shipped, etc.). I am just looking for an average range of how long eggs will last.

    Actually, this brings up another question: is there ways to store eggs to make them last longer prior to incubation? Do they need to be kept cool, warm, or ?

    Thanks again!

  5. chrissieg

    chrissieg Songster

    Pretend your a chicken laying eggs :eek: just you! You'll probably lay 8 or 10 eggs and then start sitting, so the oldest egg will be 8-10 days old - no problem!! Newer is probably better if you have a choice. Eggs through the post are generally OK, but be prepared for a 50% hatch rate. Let them sit for 24 hours before you try to incubate them.

    Keep the eggs cool until you want to set them, rounded end up in an egg box, you can angle the box by putting something under one side and tipping them one side then the other - I understand this helps - Good luck!
  6. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    chrissyg--just one question. What do you mean tipping the settling eggs from one side to another??? [​IMG]
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    So basically, for human incubation practices, eggs have the best fertility for the first week of their post laying. After that, the fertility begins to drop and development will take longer for the chick.

    I've hatched chicks out of eggs that were a month old. Hatch rate was only 20% though and only 30% were still viable.

    Ideally, to keep eggs for such a long period of time, you want to keep the humidity at about 60% so they don't dry out, and at about 15 deg Celsius. Varying too hot or cold from that temp will cause the viability to decrease faster. If you keep eggs for one week, temp isn't as bad of an issue.

    Now, if you get shipped eggs, they will go through ALOT of abuse during shipping which can decrease fertility. Not to mention great temperature fluctuation which will cause a decrease in viability. If you do choose to get eggs shipped, find a person that is closest to you or try to pick them up.

    As for turning eggs. I think it is good practice to rotate the stored eggs once a day and flip them so the yolk doesn't get stuck the the shell. In addition, they should be stored pointy side down so the air sac remains in the right place. When incubating them you'll have to turn the eggs about 3 times a day for the first 18 days. Keep the humidity at about 50% or so and keep an eye on the air sac to make sure it is not growing too fast or slow. Then when the last 3 days arrive. Stop turning, raise humidity to about 70% and be patient. Don't open the incubator!!! And when you do. You should have little fluffy balls popping around!

    Oh, as for letting shipped eggs sit, it helps them settle a bit. Over night is usually sufficent.
  8. paulee

    paulee Hatching

    Jun 22, 2007
    If you buy them from ebay make sure they have a good feedback. Also make sure it's not the first time they are selling eggs, meaning they can have a good feedback for selling t-shirts,electronics etc. If they know what they are doing they will send them out to you shortly after being laid (1 -2 days). Conditions of where the eggs and hens are kept are also very important, clean, eggs sitting in the sun etc. I've heard they can last up to 2 weeks in the perfect condions(clean,cool temp). Hope this helps.[​IMG]
  9. FluffyChickenMama

    FluffyChickenMama Songster

    Jun 13, 2007
    Im thinking some of the handlers along is way to rough on hatching eggs because I have had absolutely NO luck with shipped eggs.. out of 52 quails only 5 hatched and out of 5 silkies only 1 hatched and no silver seabrights hatched out of 5. (However, in all fairness I have been told that its very hard to hatch seabrights). When I hatch my eggs I collect and rotate them for a week, I hold them until the 7th day pick the best ones and incubate. I have a 90% incubation rate on my eggs which I figure is pretty good..
  10. Chellester

    Chellester Songster

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nor Cal
    Wow! Thanks to everyone who posted for all the great information! Glad to see so many friendly and knowledgeable people here!

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