Shipped Eggs Getting a Bad Rap?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mdees88, May 2, 2018.

  1. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

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    So I hear it all the time. "Shipped eggs have bad hatch rates"....

    I know a guy who incubates pretty regularly and he has never bought shipped eggs and reccomends against it. You find mixed results when searching this website. It seems most people here tend to agree that hatching shipped eggs is an uphill battle that usually ends up with poor results.

    Well I guess I must have beat the odds, 5 times in a row???

    I'm brand new to incubating and as of today I just completed my 5th hatch ever. I did plenty of research (on here) before attempting my first hatch. I waited until I found a deal on a reputable incubator instead of going out and buying a mediocre one. I read up on all of the "best practices" and I used multiple devices to verify the temp/humidity. All the eggs I've hatched so far were shipped from Ohio, Georgia, and Louisiana to Alabama.

    I personally think the typical reported bad hatch rates on shipped eggs are due to "operator error" or "faulty" equipment more than the shipped eggs themselves. Maybe shipped eggs have less room for error but I believe with a properly tuned incubator and good practices anyone can get good hatch rates with shipped eggs...

    I would like to share my process and results of hatching Coturnix Quail.

    Here's my setup and what I do: I have a very old GQF 1266 cabinet incubator. I have 4 thermometers and 3 hygrometers. I also have a GQF water reserve system. I candle the eggs when received to check for obvious cracks. I have never let the eggs "rest" for more than 3 hours. I set the eggs and they turn automatically for the first 14 days. I run my incubator between 99.1 and 100.3 degrees F. I keep the humidity between 45 and 55% (typically right around 50) for the first 14 days. During lockdown I raise the humidity to 65-72%.

    Once I set the eggs I do not open the incubator until day 14. I candle the eggs and remove any clear (infertile) ones. I stop the turners and remove the eggs from the trays. I lay them on their side and add a humidity pad to the water pan. I close the incubator and I do not open it until I have at least half of my chicks hatch. I typically only open the incubator once or twice (very quickly) during hatching to remove the quail.

    Here are the results of my hatches:

    Hatch #1 (first ever): Ordered 50 Jumbo Pharaoh eggs from Orchard Hill Poultry. Received 52 eggs with 2 cracked. Set 50 eggs. At lockdown I had 36 eggs (removed 14 clear, infertile ones). I hatched out 31 quail. 62% hatch rate, 86% on fertile eggs.

    Hatch #2: Ordered 50 Italian eggs from Myshire Farm. Received 60 eggs with 1 cracked. Set 59 eggs. At lockdown I had 50 eggs. I hatched out 50 quail. 85% hatch rate, 100% on fertile eggs.

    Hatch #3: Ordered 50 Jumbo Pharaoh eggs from James Marie Farm. Received 60 eggs. Set 60 eggs. At lockdown I had 41 eggs. I hatched out 37 quail. 74% hatch rate, 90% on fertile eggs.

    Hatch #4: Ordered 100 Jumbo Pharaoh eggs from Orchard Hill Poultry. Received 106 eggs with 1 cracked. Set 105 eggs. At lockdown I had 93 eggs. I hatched out 86 quail. 82% hatch rate, 92% on fertile eggs.

    Hatch #5: Ordered 50 eggs from James Marie Farm. Received 54 eggs 1 cracked. Set 53 eggs. at lockdown I had 41 eggs. I hatched out 39 quail. 74% hatch rate, 95% on fertile eggs.

    #3, 4, and 5 were staggered hatches and conditions were not ideal. #3 hatched Fri/Sat, #4 Sat/Sun, and #5 was Mon/Tues. I had to open the incubator several times during lockdown and I think this resulted in some of my quail getting "shrink wrapped" in the shell. I will not be doing staggered hatches that close to each other again.

    Well I don't know about ya'll but I was very pleased with those hatch rates. Over 5 hatches I averaged a 74% hatch rate on the total eggs set and a 93% hatch rate on fertile eggs. I'm looking forward to hatching some of my very own eggs in the coming weeks.

    Hopefully this encourages someone who was skeptical of buying shipped eggs to order some and give them a try...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

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    Here are some thoughts,,,,,
    Are you hatching chickens, or quail??
    You may be running a VERY LUCKY STREAK. with your success. :thumbsup

    I know peeps doing the hatching process for many years, and they DO NOT LACK HATCHING KNOW HOW. They always get poorer results with shipped eggs.
    Here is something you may want to try for yourself. Shake the heck out of a batch of eggs to simulate the treatment shipped eggs get received by most of the others here. Then If your hatch results are still great, well then it is operator error. Transit has nothing to do hampering the hatch rate.
    WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
     
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  3. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

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    I'm hatching Coturnix Quail not chickens and true most posts are about chickens. Hatch rates on shipped eggs will obviously be poorer. That's a given, but HOW MUCH poorer is the real question.... Everything I read lead me to believe I should be absolutely overjoyed with a 50% hatch rate and I should realistically expect less than that.

    Many of the posts I have read on shipped eggs end up going south, some VERY south. Then a few pages into the thread you realize that the OP never verified the incubators temp or humidity with a calibrated thermometer.... Or that they had significant temperature fluctuations during incubation.... Or that this was their first ever hatch... Or that they opened the incubator many times during lockdown... Or that they candled eggs early on and might have accidentally discarded some viable eggs. Some posts have the chicks hatching several days early or several days late. Some have chicks being born with deformities and others die in the shell or need to be helped out of the shell... then die.

    My point is the majority of what you read ends up with shipped eggs having poor hatch rates. But if you actually "read the fine print" (the entire thread) you might realize that there were other factors involved... which I think gives shipped eggs a bad rap.

    I obviously don't hatch shipped eggs for a living but I consider setting 327 eggs from 5 different shipments, from 3 different states a reasonable sample size. I actually expect noticeably better hatch rates than these once I start hatching my own eggs. I will update this thread with my future hatch results...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

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    Well ,,, newbies get incubators and then mail order eggs. They are still green at it and like to put the blame somewhere.
    Chicken shipped eggs do get a rough ride sometimes. Many that I know about came broken. That just assures there was a rough ride, or handling in the process. Boxes do get thrown around. Other boxes get sorted by machinery. It all adds to a song By Elvis,,,,, I'm All Shook Up.
    If you were incubating your own fertile quail eggs, I think you could achieve 80%.. or better.

    ETA. I just seen your edits with your hatch rates. Very Nice. :thumbsup
     
    mdees88 likes this.
  5. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

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    Thanks, I was only halfway through writing this up when I accidentally posted the thread... :he. I had actually added to what you quoted me saying before I saw your post to include "faulty equipment" (inaccurate thermometers/hygrometers) as one of the primary reasons why I think that the hatch rates tend to be very low.

    Yep, that's pretty much what I'm getting at.... "bad rap". I think with a properly tuned and tested incubator, if people follow the basic guidelines of incubation they can have a MUCH higher hatch rates than the "typically reported" rather low rates of shipped eggs.

    All of my quail eggs came very well packed in open cell foam shippers which may have given them a smoother ride than your typical chicken egg ship job...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  6. dannygirl1

    dannygirl1 Chirping

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    Just put 24 shipped copper black Marian in my brinsea octagon . They were shipped eggs, just a day in transit, but when you see the track and trace information, they get handled A LOT. They were very securely packed and are lovely clean eggs, I candled before setting and no cracks detected. They are my first shipped hatching eggs, this is my fourth hatch, my best hatch was my own barnevelder eggs, 90% rate. Will keep you informed how things are progressing
     
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  7. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

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    okay............. but you're going to have to hatch AT LEAST 21 eggs or we're going to have to delete your profile to make it look like you never existed.... :lau just kidding

    A 90% hatch rate is awesome. I hope this hatch goes very well for you...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  8. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

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    :yuckyuck
     
  9. JudysMuscovy

    JudysMuscovy Songster

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    I bought eggs off of eBay and every one I paid for hatched. The extras they sent did not. I have a Brinsea Maxi II incubator and just read the directions and Wala they all hatched to my surprise I must say! I had a few that the air cells were wonky and I put those upright and they hatched also. These are all chicks
    I must admit I was pretty sceptical because of what I have read
     
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  10. Duck hunter

    Duck hunter In the Brooder

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    I hatched some quail eggs from james marie farms in a borrowed little giant Styrofoam incubator, because my cabinet incubator was out of service. And I got about a 75% hatch from shipped eggs
     
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