Shipped eggs saddled air cells HOW TO INCUBATE


Jun 27, 2019
Tallahassee, FL
I know trying to hatch eggs that have been shipped and have saddled air cells is quite difficult. I received a flat of eggs from a dear friend of mine today. She shipped them. Eggs all arrived unbroken and well packaged. But every single air cell is saddled/ detached. I don't really know how to go on incubating these. It's the second shipment from her. Last time 22 eggs, all detached/saddled air cells. Let the eggs rest, pointy side down for 1 day. Then I started incubation in an egg flat. I didn't use my flat bed turner. I tilted the whole flat lightly, every 3 hrs. 2 out of 22 eggs started showing veins. By day 10, those two eggs started dying. Veins faint, broken, gone :(
I am at a loss as to how to do it this time. Do I leave them upright in the flat? Do I add holes in the bottom of the flat for better air flow? Do I take the eggs out by day 7-10 and lay them on their side and use my flat bed auto roller/ turner? I am so scared :(
My friend has great hatch rates, of course that's at home. So fertilization isn't the issue. Please help, I want to have some of her chickies so badly :'(


🐓🦆For the Birds!🦆🐓
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Feb 9, 2015
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
What type of incubator are you using?

My first thought is that tilting a whole flat could mean that some of the eggs are getting tilted closer to the heating elements, depending on your type of incubator.
You may consider cutting the flat into single rows and tilting the row side to side, instead of raising one end.

Also, in the beginning, 3 hours per tilt is not necessary. That much movement isn't giving the air cell time to lock back into position. Turning eggs is important so that the blood vessel network doesn't get stuck to one side of the egg as the embryo grows. But with loose air cells, those air cells need to lock back in place first. Then after the first few days, as the embryo starts to grow, turning becomes more important. Does that make sense?

I'd be happy to help with other suggestions...


Free Ranging
9 Years
May 29, 2013
I've had a lot of shipped eggs but never exactly what you described. In my case is almost always quitters or DIS. No issues with failing to develop in the first place. If your friend truly have great hatch rates if be inclined to said it was rough handling and most were "scrambled" by the delivery service.

When do you start tilting the eggs? I leave mine alone for 3-5 days (depends on aircells) Then do what you described. I tilt the tray gently about 35° and return it to the flat position. I do this multiple times a day. No set schedule just whenever I remember. Then hatch upright in cut down egg cartons. With shipped eggs I've had hatch rates from 10-60%. Pretty big span there but that also includes some incubator malfunctions and things issues besides the eggs.

How fresh are the eggs she's sending? Under 48 hours is best. The aircell are still small so they ship better.

You might be dealing with an elevation issue. Eggs layed at sea level will not do great incubating and hatching at elevation.

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