Shipped Eggs Getting a Bad Rap?

mdees88

Crowing
Mar 15, 2018
956
2,200
271
Lower Alabama
My Coop
My Coop
Yeah, I also think because the mass of the quail eggs are roughly 1/4-1/3rd that of chicken eggs, rough handling may not affect them as much. This is purely speculation though. I definitely believe there are postal "dead zones" that have a significant affect on the eggs.

I've never had a malposition before, that I've recognized anyway. Out of 100 eggs I usually have around 3 or 4 chicks that are fully developed but dead in the shell, and they've usually pipped.
 

HennyPenny44

Songster
Apr 3, 2019
195
249
131
Central New Jersey
I hatched eggs for the first time this year and today was day 21. From eBay, I got 8 Speckled Sussex eggs packed in pool noodles and 6 Lavender Orpington eggs packed in bubble wrap. All arrived intact. Two LO never developed and when I cracked them open, the eggs were scrambled.

I gave half of each breed remaining to my broody hen on day 7 and the other half stayed in my Kebonnixs incubator. So in my incubator, out of 4 SS, 3 hatched and and out of 2 LO, 1 hatched. My first time broody hatched the same exact number of each breed. I have the 4 unhatched ones in my incubator but I don’t have much hope since I don’t think there’s movement. One was moving and peeping earlier today but then stopped.😔 My broody currently has all 8 of the chicks and accepted the incubator chicks right away. So I had a 75% hatch rate for the SS and 50% for the non-scrambled LO eggs. Not bad but I’m a bit disappointed with the LO’s. Here’s mama with babies.🥰
 

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Silexian

Songster
Jul 1, 2020
242
634
143
Northeast Missouri
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...
I agree with having a quality incubator set up and running properly before the eggs arrive. I also pay attention to the temperatures along the routes the shipped eggs will travel. I try to purchase eggs no further than two states away. I have found by following these guide lines. I have good hatch rates.
 

MadamContrary

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 22, 2013
1,315
3,616
381
Very South Texas
Yeah, I also think because the mass of the quail eggs are roughly 1/4-1/3rd that of chicken eggs, rough handling may not affect them as much. This is purely speculation though. I definitely believe there are postal "dead zones" that have a significant affect on the eggs.

I've never had a malposition before, that I've recognized anyway. Out of 100 eggs I usually have around 3 or 4 chicks that are fully developed but dead in the shell, and they've usually pipped.
The size of quail eggs is definitely a factor. Every place I have ordered quail eggs has a 50% hatch rate guarantee. Whereas no company that I have purchased chicken eggs offers any kind of guarantee beyond a refund or reship for broken eggs.

I have had great hatch rates in general since I started incubating about a decade ago. Especially with quail. There's a lot to be said for doing your homework.

I've got a question, if already mentioned I missed it, are your eggs delivered directly to your home or held at the post office? That's been the biggest factor for me. Held at the office eggs fare far better for me, I am on a training route and it shows!
 

mdees88

Crowing
Mar 15, 2018
956
2,200
271
Lower Alabama
My Coop
My Coop
The size of quail eggs is definitely a factor. Every place I have ordered quail eggs has a 50% hatch rate guarantee. Whereas no company that I have purchased chicken eggs offers any kind of guarantee beyond a refund or reship for broken eggs.

I have had great hatch rates in general since I started incubating about a decade ago. Especially with quail. There's a lot to be said for doing your homework.

I've got a question, if already mentioned I missed it, are your eggs delivered directly to your home or held at the post office? That's been the biggest factor for me. Held at the office eggs fare far better for me, I am on a training route and it shows!
My eggs were always delivered to my house, never had to go pick them up.
 
Last edited:

hellcat40

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2020
13
17
44
Fantastic rates!
I just started doing shipped eggs this year. I’ve done two batches and I will set my third tonight.

1st batch: chicken eggs
SC to PA
Ordered 15, received 16. One not fertile. 15 out of 15 on fertile hatch.
100%

2nd batch: turkey eggs (1st time ever)
NJ to PA
Ordered 6, received 8. All fertile.
5 of 8 hatched.
loss eggs... one made it to lock down, one to external pip, one not fully feathered.
63%

3rd batch: Quail, celadon (1st time ever)
NJ to PA
Originally interested in 50, they sent 90 lol
2 damaged, will look for more when setting to night.
Ill update after hatch.
 

WonkierZulu

Songster
Dec 29, 2020
472
677
161
Washington State
My shipped eggs range from 10 percent up 70 percent hatch rates. It all really started coming down the the seller and location. The more expensive ones had about a 70 percent and the cheap ones 1 out of 12 eggs hatched. Pay the money from reputable sellers and invest in a decent incubator. Also look at the weather of your seller and location where they are shipping. Usually the farther they are and hotter climate hatch rates drop. I will not order eggs in the summer.
 

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