shipped eggs and hatch rates
I have personally never hatched shipped eggs, but I have read the horror stories of poor packaging, low fertility rates, and low hatch rates. I know that shipping is tough on the viability of eggs, and I have heard people say that they will only order eggs from one or two states away. After getting my NPIP license two of my first three orders were from the West Coast, two dozen to a town near Portland, Oregon and a dozen to a town west of Seattle, Washington. We have also shipped eggs to West Virginia, Nebraska, and Florida. Every single hatch so far has had great hatch rates, and I think hatch rates have more to do with the shipper than the USPS. I want people that buy my eggs to be successful, and here is what I do to give the buyer every opportunity to have a great hatch:
I say right on my ordering page that no guarantees are made that any will hatch. I only say that because I have no idea who is incubating the eggs once they receive them, and how experienced they are. If someone is hatching for the first time in a brand new styrofoam incubator, then I have no way of controlling how those eggs are incubated. It has nothing to do with the fertility of the eggs. I will only ship eggs from pens that I have hatched from myself, and only after proving the fertility is over 90%. The only time I didn’t do that was on my first shipment of eggs from my blue pen. A week after shipping those eggs I candled my first set from that pen and discovered that they were only 50% fertile. I immediately contacted the buyer and offered to send more eggs if she had a bad hatch rate. Luckily she hatched 20, but I am not selling any more eggs from that pen until hatch rates improve. My two black pens have been 95-100% fertile since February, and it shows in our hatch rates. Here are our results so far this year:
Oregon: 15/24 (6 extras included)
West Virginia: 20/24 (6 extras included)
West Virginia: 17/12 (6 extras included)
Washington State: 12/12 (6 extras included)
Florida: Hatching today, 36/36 developed at lockdown
Nebraska: 2 dozen Due Friday/Saturday (6 extras included)
The hatch rates listed are vs the number ordered. I don’t advertise it, but I include 3-6 extras in every order. Part of that is to offset any damage done during shipping, but I also want people to hatch close to the number of eggs they order. I go to great lengths to package my eggs well, and in all of those shipments only one egg has arrived cracked. I want to have a reputation as someone who ships eggs that will hatch, and we have had excellent results from coast to coast this year.
I also pass along what incubation settings work for me in case anyone is unfamiliar with incubating BCM eggs. The hatch in Washington was the first time that person had tried dry incubation, and they had great results.
If you have thought about trying shipped eggs in the past, but were leery because of the horror stories, give us a chance to prove to you that shipped eggs can, and do, hatch.