Questions about shipped eggs


In the Brooder
Feb 15, 2021
Hello all! Usual newbie incubating nervousness questions here!

So I got a new moving air incubator and shipped eggs for the first time and wanted to do this in the best way possible for highest chance at hatching. Did the cold water temp test with a food thermometer to measure incubator temp several times a day, did the salt humidity test for my hygrometer so I can accurately read the humidity for once, got a food scale to keep track of eggs weight and I've been very hands off, only planning to take the eggs out to weigh and candle every 3 days. The eggs sat for a day to settle and incubator ran for two days before I set the eggs in.

Unfortunately the first scale I got wasn't very good, with numbers changing even with the egg holding still on it. I got a new one that is much more accurate but with the bad weight measuring previously I don't know how best to measure if they're losing enough weight? Even being generous and adding .9g to all 1st day weights they're only at about 3% average loss on day 6 and this is with humidity between 25%-35% with a temperature usually around 37.2 just under the eggs. Should I just be happy if the weight goes down in a steady way from now on?

Secondly the air cells looked to be almost nonexistant and extremely difficult to find when they arrived to me even though they were shipped on a Monday and I picked them up Tuesday and let them sit for a full 24 hours. I couldn't even do my usual air pocket marking so it's hard to tell how much the air cells are growing. And candling now on day 6 is almost looks like there's pockets on each end of the eggs. They are on an automatic turner that rotates them on their sides so I didn't have a way to turn them whole keeping the bigger end up. Do they still have time to settle and will this cause issues when hatching time comes?

So far I have 13/16 growing very nicely and being very active already, 2 looking unfertilized but I'm giving them until day 9 just in case and then this monster egg with dark floaty matter in it. Is this what a rotting egg looks like? I've never had one fail and look like this, especially so early in the incubation time so it is a new experience for me.

Any tips or advice is appreciated!


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Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
New Zealand
Shipped eggs can be heartbreaking, frustrating, or you can get a good hatch. It all depends on what sort of trip the eggs had to you.

You can weigh all the eggs together and take the average (divide that number by however many eggs you have) to estimate weight loss. Even if you need to remove eggs it doesn't throw off your calculations as you are taking the average. It's generally easier to weigh them all together and just subtract the weight of whatever is holding them (egg carton etc).

I wouldn't worry too much about the air cells. Shipped eggs can have very wonky air cells but the chicks seem to find a way. Even those that pip at the narrow end of the egg, or pip straight out, avoiding the air cell, seem to usually hatch without intervention.

Can you measure the temperature at the top of the egg? I'm wondering if they are a tad too cool. It should be at least 37.7C wherever the embryo would be sitting (at whichever part of the egg is highest). With the humidity being as low as you have it I'm wondering if a slightly higher temperature might help them lose a little more weight. I usually have my eggs more like 38C for simplicity's sake, and I've had them as high as 38.5C without a problem.

I would remove your very black looking egg there. If it looks very black inside that isn't a good sign.

I sure hope you get a good hatch from your eggs.


In the Brooder
Feb 15, 2021
Thank you for your reply! I measured the temperature on top of the eggs and it ranged from 38.1-38.3 depending on how far from the center I measured so I think that seems okay. The incubator is wrapped in Styrofoam and then sheets outside of that to help keep the temp stable because it is quite cool and dry right now in the house but the vent holes are still exposed for fresh air to go in.

I also removed the black floaty egg. Don't want to have my first rotten egg experience in a brand new incubator.

I'm trying to temper my expectations because I know even 50% is a good hatch rate for shipped eggs but I'm pretty excited how many are growing and active so far :)

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