Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LTygress, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    I actually work part-time for the postal service as a rural carrier associate (aka substitute driver). So it kinda bites to hear the negative comments about the USPS and how they handle packages. But at the same time, I know it's true. In the past two weeks alone, I've received eggs that were delayed during shipment and arrived later than they were supposed to (but they were sent priority which is NOT a time-based service, no matter what it says the expected delivery date is), AND had detached air cells.

    I'm still pretty new to the postal service (two months) but I've been dealing with poultry for several years. So I called everyone in my office together and asked: If you see a box that says "fragile, hatching eggs" what should you NOT do with it?

    Everyone answered that you shouldn't drop it. Well, duh. I asked why, and the answer was the same - the eggs might break. I asked if they thought it was okay to X-ray it (which is done regularly since 9/11), shake it, slide it across a warehouse-type floor (think: smooth, shiny concrete), etc.

    GUESS WHERE THE FAILURE WAS? Everyone, yes every last person there, thought it would cause no harm to shake a box with hatching eggs. They actually thought it might be useful to find out if the eggs were cracked - like they were broken glasses or something!

    But I knew better. Shaking and rough handling is mostly HOW the air cells become detached. I did explain to everyone in my office why they shouldn't shake hatching eggs. And BY PURE CHANCE I happened to receive goose eggs through there with detached air cells, and they were there with me in the office when I asked this of everyone. So I actually SHOWED them what the shaking did, and candled the eggs where they could see the moving air cells!

    Also, no one in my office knew that immediately after hatching, the yolk could be "busted" inside of the chick's belly by shaking, and it would die almost immediately.

    So it was a learning experience for everyone that day - but especially for me. I found out WHY the postal service usually "damages" our hatching eggs when we send them. And that means from now on, I'm still going to label my boxes with "FRAGILE: HATCHING EGGS" but I'm going to put "DO NOT SHAKE" on there as well. Maybe it will let the postal service employees know that shaking the boxes like a gift under a Christmas Tree can cause damage. And if we can educate our carriers this way, MAYBE we can increase the typical hatching rate of our shipped eggs.

    So I strongly encourage anyone and everyone who is shipping hatching eggs through the postal service, to start putting "DO NOT SHAKE" on the boxes they use to ship them.
    4 people like this.

  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    It's always interesting where the disconnects are, to me fragile also = don't shake, but I can see people thinking about broken eggs along the same lines as broken glass. Has anyone ever done an experiment where you label a box with all the please do not things, and another box with nothing and see how it turns out.
    Sorry about your goose eggs, hope they hatch for you.
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    I'm tempted to do that experiment one day...

    But it would require one local trip and one cross-country trip.

    Everything in the post office that isn't "local" travels by air. And local is, say, within the same state. So while you might be paying that extra money for express, the only thing you're really getting is a GUARANTEE that it will arrive by a certain time - and that's assuming it makes it to your post office to be delivered that day. It still travels the same way as your plain old hand-written letter to Aunt Jane, or as that catalog from the company that sold you a single item you ordered 10 years ago. All of it travels the same way (except SOME ground-only hazardous materials, but I won't go into that).

    So I'd have to test one set going through the actual airport, and one set just traveling by truck, to see where that break-down might be, if there is one.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  4. Chic_girl

    Chic_girl Songster

    Jul 23, 2011
    Near Columbus OH
    I can see you becoming a post-office activist for all of the potential egg shippers here on BYC!
    Develop a good presentation, and show it to all of your local post offices, and others in the state- Spread the word! End the detached air cells!

    Well, maybe that would work?
    1 person likes this.

  5. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    Only for the ones smart enough to listen and learn... lol
  6. PrincessFig

    PrincessFig In the Brooder

    May 15, 2012
    Woodland, WA
    I just recently received eggs that travelled by air and all 100% of them have very firmly attached small air cells and all of them are developing so far. They were double boxed with foam in between the two boxes. The smaller box containing the eggs was packed tightly with bubble wrap with each of the eggs individually wrapped with bubble wrap and pointing big end up. Completely worth the $15 for shipping. :p (Eggs were from luckydux22 on Ebay.)

    The two that we had delivered by truck all had detached air cells. (individually wrapped in foam + bubble wrap and packed in wood chips.)
    1st 1/18 survived and the rest were all scrambled. (The one that survived of course was a *bonus* egg that turned out to be a mean little cockerel.)
    2nd 18/24 hatched and 6 weren't fertile but all of them had moving air cells.
  7. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    I receive a stack of shipped eggs. I currently have in excess of 300 in the incubator.

    I think its great that you are educating PO employees.

    I would like anyone willing to grab an egg out of the fridge and shake it. Check the air cell. See how much effort it takes to dislodge it. Its not that easy.

    There is a thread

    It has loads of experiences.

    here is a bit on my last posting


  8. Chic_girl

    Chic_girl Songster

    Jul 23, 2011
    Near Columbus OH
    Just a question- does anyone know why shipping is correlated with oddly shaped or saddle-shaped air cells? I know that some hens lay eggs that naturally have air cells that are a little weird, but shipped eggs usually develop them. Does shipping cause the air cells to become such shapes, or does something else? Lack of gas exchange in the packaging?
  9. sepaditty1

    sepaditty1 Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    I've only had eggs shipped once, so far. The eggs were wrapped very well and shipped very well. Hatch rate was great!

    One thing I noticed is that, on the outside of the box, he had written not just "Fragile" but "Fragile, live embryos."

    Maybe making it sound more serious/scientific/whatever really got the attention of the workers. Like "Hey, this is something important, I'd better be careful."

    Most people don't intend to do a bad job. Just like the rest of us they get into a routine & do whatever gets things done the quickest. Knowledge is power.

  10. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    Here is my theory on saddled air cells

    most shipped eggs travel by plane.

    even though the hold is pressurized, its not at sea level - ever had a water bottle expand on a plane?

    the air cell expands on the plane applying pressure to the edges. this is more pronounced when the box is on its side or if the eggs are older and have already expanding aircells.

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