Fertility in Eggs

Donna Jeanne

Songster
Nov 18, 2017
122
100
131
Can shipping affect the fertility of eggs? I purchased two dozen eggs. 12 Brahma and 12 Barred Rock (received 19 BR). I waited 24 hours before incubating because they were shipped. I checked on day eight and only 5 Brahma and 14 Barred Rock eggs were fertile. Seems really high that a dozen of 31 eggs weren’t fertile so thought I’d ask about possible causes other than being send unfertile eggs. Thank you.
 

Donna Jeanne

Songster
Nov 18, 2017
122
100
131
It's not necessarily that they weren't fertile. Shipping is very, very hard on eggs. Lots of things can happen in shipping that render a perfectly good fertile egg unviable.

Thanks for the information. It’s hard wrapping your head around only 48% of the eggs hatching. I think my next batch won’t go through the mail.
 

song of joy

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 22, 2012
1,191
664
281
Central Pennsylvania
If you're sure they aren't developing, you may want to crack open the eggs to check for blood rings. They are a sign of death during early stages of development.

Also, did the eggs have damaged air cells? This can be the cause of early quitters and poor hatchability.

I've only attempted to hatch shipped eggs once. Lots of damaged air cells, most were early quitters, only 1 pipped, and zero hatched. I'd consider 50% to be a very good hatch rate for shipped eggs.
 

Donna Jeanne

Songster
Nov 18, 2017
122
100
131
Thanks. I did not check the air cell. Not sure how. I just waited 24 hours, put them in as usual, watched humidity, and then checked on day 8. I threw away 12 eggs that weren’t fertile. Of the remaining, their air cells were a bit bigger than expected so ran the humidity around 55 instead of 50. Of the 19 left, only 15 hatched. Four were almost fully formed when they died. One from bleeding. Not sure of why the others died. How do I check for intact air cells? Is there anything I can do to fix that? Thank you.
 

oregonkat

Crowing
7 Years
Oct 5, 2012
2,003
2,828
377
Southern Oregon
Thanks. I did not check the air cell. Not sure how. I just waited 24 hours, put them in as usual, watched humidity, and then checked on day 8. I threw away 12 eggs that weren’t fertile. Of the remaining, their air cells were a bit bigger than expected so ran the humidity around 55 instead of 50. Of the 19 left, only 15 hatched. Four were almost fully formed when they died. One from bleeding. Not sure of why the others died. How do I check for intact air cells? Is there anything I can do to fix that? Thank you.
You would check the air cell development with a candling device. A super bright flashlight or a specific incubation flashlight works fine. Shine the light, preferably in a dark room through the fat end of the egg and the air cell should become apparent. There is a great series of photos on BYC of the progression of incubation that will give you the things to look for. Shipped eggs are really, really, tricky. Most of the time a 50% hatch rate is considered very good. Sad, I know. Usually best to try to get eggs locally or at least from your own state. As to the question of fertility, when you cracked the eggs you considered unfertile did they have the ringed bullseye on the yolk? Shipping does not affect fertility but as another poster said, the shipping trauma can render them useless.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,049
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Please read all of "Hatching Eggs 101" in the learning center. Much valuable information there that will help you to have a successful hatch. If you have not calibrated your thermometer and hygrometer, that MUST be done, even if the thermometer is built into your bator. There is a whole section dedicated to shipped eggs.
 
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Donna Jeanne

Songster
Nov 18, 2017
122
100
131
You would check the air cell development with a candling device. A super bright flashlight or a specific incubation flashlight works fine. Shine the light, preferably in a dark room through the fat end of the egg and the air cell should become apparent. There is a great series of photos on BYC of the progression of incubation that will give you the things to look for. Shipped eggs are really, really, tricky. Most of the time a 50% hatch rate is considered very good. Sad, I know. Usually best to try to get eggs locally or at least from your own state. As to the question of fertility, when you cracked the eggs you considered unfertile did they have the ringed bullseye on the yolk? Shipping does not affect fertility but as another poster said, the shipping trauma can render them useless.

Thank you for the information. I didn’t crack the eggs,
but may still have them entact in my compost bin so will check. I’m finding that shipped eggs don’t do well, but the breeds I want I can’t find locally. ‍♀️
 

Donna Jeanne

Songster
Nov 18, 2017
122
100
131
Please read all of "Hatching Eggs 101" in the learning center. Much valuable information there that will help you to have a successful hatch. If you have not calibrated your thermometer and hygrometer, that MUST be done, even if the thermometer is built into your bator. There is a whole section dedicated to shipped eggs.

Thank you.
 

oregonkat

Crowing
7 Years
Oct 5, 2012
2,003
2,828
377
Southern Oregon
Thank you for the information. I didn’t crack the eggs,
but may still have them entact in my compost bin so will check. I’m finding that shipped eggs don’t do well, but the breeds I want I can’t find locally. ‍♀️
Yes, here in lies the rub. We are all in this boat, we all want the breeds that, for some reason, are not right here:barnie. One other important thing to remember about shipped eggs IMHO, because you will succumb to the temptation again, we all do:), is to try to hatch them in an upright turner. This helps keep the air cell where it belongs if it has become detached during shipping. I have found that while my hatch rate has never gone above 70% approx. it definitely improved once I kept the eggs upright. As lazy gardener said, read up on incubation 101, it has masses of great info. Good luck with your next hatch.
 

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