Saturday, May 21, 2016

Risks with Incubating Shipped Eggs

Sixteen eggs that had to be removed from the incubator.

There are risks involved with incubating shipped eggs. Sometimes even the very best packing job by the seller doesn't mean your eggs will develop. How the shipment of eggs is handled during transit by the post office has a big effect on how your eggs are internally. All of these eggs arrived in perfect condition and were phenomenally packaged by the sellers. (The two eggs in the upper left were not shipped, they are from my own orps).

So we're just about 2 weeks in on the incubating of my own chocolate and black orps and the shipped eggs. Upon candling last night, all of the eggs I removed were either clear, had blood rings, or an obviously dead embryo (no veining, chick not moving).

So, I set 17 eggs from my own flock, had to remove 2. I have 15 chocolate/black bantam orp eggs going strong.

I set 12 Lavender Orpington eggs that were shipped, had to remove 8!! This is truly not the norm, and yes, I am mildly disappointed, but that comes with the risks we choose to take when having eggs shipped in. I have 4 lavender Orpington eggs left in the incubator, and one was questionable. Also, this seller sent exactly 12 eggs, no extras. Sometimes if sellers have cooperative hens they send extras with your purchase. This is dependent on how cooperative chickens are or not.

The seller of the Dominique eggs sent me 18!! So six extras with the dozen I had ordered! Three never made it into the incubator due to having been cracked in shipment. I set 15 and last night had to remove 6, leaving 9 going strong in the incubator. This is decent results, considering these eggs obviously had a rough trip! Upon candling the Dominique eggs, I can see several with damaged or broken air cells. This tells me there was rough handling involved during shipping.

The last shipment of eggs was six Mille Fleur Cochin's. This shipment has the best results by far, but the eggs were shipped within the same state as us and they arrived next day. They literally had the least amount of time in transit of all of the other eggs (the exception being my own eggs that never shipped). Out of 9 eggs, six developed. I had removed the 3 that candled clear one week into the incubation.

Do I blame the sellers for the non-developed/stopped developing eggs? No, not at all!  This is not a reflection on the seller, their packing skills, or the fertility of their flocks. 100% off all of the eggs I had received were packed phenomenally! No damage to any of the shipping boxes when they arrived,  and only in the box of Dominique eggs were there any cracked eggs during shipment (and they were hairline cracks, not all out broke apart).

I'm actually quite pleased with how this hatch is going, except with the Lavender Orps.  This is a color I definitely want, so my hope with those is that I have at least a pair hatch out to raise out and hatch more of my own from.

So the reason I chose to post about this today is because I know a lot of breeders do their best to package and handle eggs carefully when shipping to a customer.  I want people to understand there are risks that are out of the breeders control to hatching shipped eggs.  Once the eggs leave their possession, your shipment is solely at the mercy of the post office. Now, they do their best to handle with care, but accidents happen.  Boxes fall on top of other boxes, postal trucks get hot, roads can be rough and bumpy. Packages get lost, re-rerouted, and sometimes over looked, giving them more time in shipping than they should have. All of this should be considered when weighing the risks of ordering hatching eggs.

Ideally, you should try to seek out breeders that are close to you, and if they have the breed you're seeking, have them shipped from the shortest distance possible.  If you don't have the options of ordering close from home, just know that the risks to shipping from further away are greater. Weigh out if you're willing to take those risks.  I've had success in shipping eggs as far as Alaska from Ohio.  The recipient of those eggs was thrilled when they hatched, and so was I!  So you can most definitely have an amazing hatch rate from shipped eggs, no matter the distance shipped.

Don't blame sellers for issues beyond their control.  Be understanding and honest, MOST sellers are happy to replace or reship lost and/or damaged eggs because they really DO want you to have a phenomenal hatch. Be willing to pay for shipping on anything you need to have re-shipped.  This is just common courtesy. I am happy if I am able to get ONE hatchling from shipped eggs, because it honestly amazes me that they can survive the shipping and develop to hatch!

My lock down is next Friday, May 27.  I should have chicks hatching over Memorial Weekend. I cannot wait to see what I get!

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