If you’re new to buying eggs then you likely have many questions about what to expect when you buy hatching eggs before making the purchase—which is a wonderful way to start.
Hatching eggs are sold with the hobbyist poultry enthusiast in mind. If you want to enjoy the thrill of incubation and save money on ordering chicks, buying hatching eggs is the way to go. As we do not mail chicks here at Wheaton Mountain Hatchery, hatching eggs offer a way for those outside of our local area to enjoy our beautiful birds.
Wondering what to expect when you buy hatching eggs?
Will the hatching eggs get too cold?
If the temperatures are too cold here in Maine or a winter storm is forecasted I will contact you and wait to ship your eggs until safer conditions exist. Eggs are viable even after exposure to refrigerator temperatures for a week. Which I know because I tested the theory myself.
What if an egg does break? Do I get a refund?
Upon receiving your eggs, inspect them for cracks. Any cracks can be sealed with wax and incubated but kept upright/slightly tilted for the first week of incubation.
We dot not issue refunds for broken eggs unless the entire box is damaged. Buying hatching eggs is a risk. Your eggs are at the mercy of the mail carriers after the package leaves my hands. I cannot be liable for how they handle your eggs.
We do send extra eggs when we have some available. It’s kind of an insurance policy in case one in your order breaks.
What if I can’t be home the day of delivery or want to pick them up at my local Post Office?
Ask for me to write your phone number on the box and to put a hold on it for you at your Post Office. This will save your precious new babies one more trip in a bumpy delivery truck too. You may also want to keep an eye on your tracking number and call the post office ahead of their arrival to ensure they contact you. (And you know when they write down your info they put ‘Crazy Chicken Lady’ next to your phone number.)
Are the eggs all fertile? How can you tell? How many eggs out of the total amount ordered are fertile?
We have ample roosters for the amount of hens and the eggs we crack open have the bullseye on the yolk. We have excellent fertility. I expect all the eggs in each order to be fertile.
How many will hatch from the total amount of eggs placed in the incubator?
We do not guarantee your eggs will hatch because of many circumstances beyond our control, including the incubation period which adds SO many variables. We can tell you we have excellent fertility and hatches here at Wheaton Mountain Hatchery.
How many of the eggs with be roosters?
Whenever eggs are hatched always keep in mind 1/2 are likely to be roosters.
I have always said that, but as an update to this article (2/5/21), we had a hatch of 17 Polish chicks with only five of them being roosters! It was the first time we let hens raise them. Maybe that’s the secret?
Here they are…
Unfortunately, there is no way to send eggs that will hatch into females. And yes, we have actually been asked that!
We eat our roosters here. If this isn’t for you—there are often folks who will come and get your roosters for food locally. Look on social media for local livestock, farmer or poultry lover groups to try and find them new homes.
Rare and fancy breed roosters are often snapped up quickly if advertised locally. Use lots of nice photos and show them off.
Best Practices for a Successful Hatch:
I’m not sure if this helps or not, but I have adopted it for eggs I buy and have shipped to us here:
Remove the eggs from the packaging directly into a carton pointy end down and leave them completely still and at room temperature overnight.
In the morning set the carton (with the top cut off) directly in the incubator for the first week. Then turn them as you usually would after that. This gives these well-traveled embryos a less stressful start with the hopes of this practice resulting in better hatches.
Important: Don’t let the carton get wet or water to sit in it touching the eggs. This could give bacteria a place to grow and the eggs need to ‘breathe’.