Shipped Eggs Getting a Bad Rap?


Mar 25, 2018
Hatboro Pa
I'm using a borrowed Brinsea mini to incubate a dozen eggs, we're on day three.....we'll see what happens!!!!! They are my eggs and were not shipped, I'll be happy with 30%!!!! I've only had my quail for a month and never worked an incubator!!


Sep 21, 2017
Upstate NY
I have shipped goose eggs right now. They were well packaged. I received 13, one broken, 5 more with fully detached air cells, basically half the batch was destroyed. I wonder how much of an issue egg size might be.


11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
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...

It has to do with specific routes and certain transit centers. I lived in a postal "dead" zone for four years. It didn't matter where I got the eggs shipped from the hatch rate was horrid. 3 of 18 set was the norm. Moved back to Vermont (hour drive distance of move) and the hatch rate of shipped eggs was around 70%. Same methods, same origins but a different route to destination. That was the difference. Obviously there was a postal hub that was destroying my hatch rate that was taken out of equation in that short move.

There are plenty of success stories with shipped eggs from Texas going to Alaska with over 80% hatching. It can happen. It comes down to if you get a poor hatch from shipped try a different origin. If you repeatedly get horrid hatch from shipped give up with them and accept the fact your in a "dead" zone. The problem is local to you.

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
I think there are 3 sets of variables at work here:

Poor egg collection and packaging vs. excellent collection and packaging.

Poor incubation practice vs. excellent incubation practice. As mentioned, some folks buy shipped eggs without having any experience with incubation management. They toss the eggs in the bator, believe the readings on the thermometer and hygrometer, never calibrate equipment, even follow the often pathetic hatching instructions that come with the bator. They don't know how to candle an egg, are not familiar with the bator, don't check for warm/cool spots. I could go on and on about how folks mis-manage their incubation. An experienced hatcher will make adjustments to accommodate for porous eggs, large air cells, saddle or misplaced air cells.

Shipping: I live at the very end of the line, no matter what is being shipped, or where it is coming from. Be it eggs or chicks, they receive rough treatment and spend a LONG TIME in transit. I believe my last shipment of chicks had 3 separate flights before arriving in Maine. They missed every single connecting flight, which resulted in adding DAYS to their travel time. Every leg of such a journey results in being handled in not very gentle manner. I did try 2 batches of shipped eggs. One came with multiple smashed eggs in the box, in spite of being bubble wrapped. The second box had a few cracked eggs, but hatch rate was still poor by my standards.


Jun 23, 2017
My first time, I did not use shipped eggs, and had 95% fertile when I locked down, but you better believe that I lost power in my house and the 'bator went down to 68 degrees farenheit and I lost every chick one day into lockdown. I have a friend who gets shipped chicken eggs every year, and almost always has an 89% or greater in fertile egg hatch rate. I think that really, it might be worse to ship eggs, but if handled and incubated correctly, your results can be very close or the same as if you did not ship eggs to your house.


Mar 15, 2018
Lower Alabama
My Coop
My Coop
All the quail eggs I've received were packaged the exact same way... in very soft, spongy open cell foam. They had a layer of cylindrical foam cores in the bottom, a flat layer of foam, the main section of foam with each egg placed in a hole, another flat layer of foam, then more cylindrical cores on top.

Out of 327 eggs I only had 5 cracked ones (and 3 were hairline cracks I found when candeling), I never checked for detached air sacs though...


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Mar 15, 2018
Lower Alabama
My Coop
My Coop
I finally hatched some more shipped eggs about a month ago so I figured I would update my results...

HATCH #6: Ordered 100 jumbo wild eggs from Myshire Farm. Received 119 eggs with 1 cracked. Set 118 eggs. At lockdown I had 90 eggs. I hatched out 84 quail. 71% hatch rate, 93% on viable eggs at lockdown.

So my biggest issue has been dealing with shrink wrapping after I open the incubator and remove the first group of chicks. I wait 24 hours after the first chick hatches before I open it up but I have to remove the entire tray from the incubator to get the chicks out. This exposes the pipped and zipped eggs to low humidity in the room. At the end of my hatch I always have a couple eggs that pipped but never hatched out.

I came up with a solution. I moved my cabinet incubator into the bathroom. Next time when it's time to move the chicks to the brooder I'm going to get the shower going with hot water and raise the humidity in the bathroom. This way I should be able to open the incubator and remove the tray without exposing the eggs to a low humidity environment.

I can't update my original post but I now incubate at 32% humidity instead of 50%. I started weighing my eggs to calculate the % weight loss and 32% humidity gives me 12% weight loss during incubation which is ideal for quail eggs. Since I have reduced my humidity I haven't hatched out any splayed leg or curled toe chicks. At 50% I usually got 1 or 2 splayed leg or curled toe chicks in every hatch.

I have 59 eggs from Myshire in the incubator now and they should be hatching in a couple days. We'll see if the shower eliminates my shrink wrapping problems....
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Jun 12, 2018
Seneca Falls, NY
I have almost entirely hatched shipped eggs. I can tell you they do have some bad hatch rates at times. It really does depend on where they are coming from and the postal hubs they have gone through.

I just got 12 eggs that had no cracks, that was shipped in the same foam you get yours shipped in. I have 8 badly saddle shaped air cells, and 4 which look completely detached even after incubating several days upright. I have properly calibrated equipment. I can say I have had only 1 or 2 cases of shrink wrapping, but several cases of malapositions.

With shipped eggs it really has lots of additional factors that play into it. Like I don't think I am going to ship eggs any more from NJ because the route it takes seems to be a nightmare on my air cells. But I have had great looking air cells from Chicago, and Texas.

I am glad your hatch rate is awesome. I think that has so much to do with you using the same sources, so the same postal paths that you have found work well. Plus your equipment set up seems really nice.

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