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Hey There!

This information is a compilation of the trials and errors I have had over the years of hatching shipped eggs. Granted, many people have different opinions on what works best for them but this is what I find that works best for me. Hopefully it helps you too!

All About Hatching Shipped Eggs: Tips and Tricks

NOTE: These instructions are only for shipped eggs that need special attention; eggs right out of your own barn without air cell damage can be handled differently. A hen doesn’t lay her eggs big end up and there is no pressure damage to an air cell that might locate itself in an odd position. These eggs can be warmed up carefully and placed right into the incubator.

You should have your incubator up and running days before the eggs arrive in order to stabilize the temp. Always avoid extreme temp change when you first receive your hatching eggs- you should let them rest at room temp for at least 12-24 hours prior to incubation. This allows time for the air sac to settle into position at the top of the egg (big end) and allows them to stabilize.  When dealing with shipped eggs that have air cell damage, it’s best to incubate them in the upright position the entire time of incubation. For the first 7-8 days, I do not turn them at all. I then start turning them for the remainder of the hatching period. This stabilizes the air cell and gives the embryo a better chance to start growing and get strong. 

   I've taken eggs that have the air cells damaged so bad that they'll shift all the way down the side of the egg and I've gotten a good percentage of them to hatch doing it this way. I started doing this after purchasing shipped hatching eggs over the years and having nothing hatch because of air cell damage. I just studied the eggs and opened tons of them that didn't hatch and came to the conclusion that to get them to hatch you first had to get the embryo growing and building up strength. That was always the biggest battle. That's what blood rings are in shipped eggs- the embryo starts and then dies because it can't attach itself properly in the egg. 

   Run your incubator with the air vents wide open. This will keep the air healthier in the incubator and keep the humidity lower. Only go by the size of the air cell in the egg to gauge the humidity in your incubator. Some eggs dry down easier than others. Marans eggs, for example, will dry down slower than Leghorn eggs. This has to do with the egg shell and its’ permeability. 

If you go by standard operating directions and run your incubators according to the incubator directions, you'll have poor hatches. You have to shoot for getting the air cell size to grow up to 1/3 of the egg by the time the chicks are supposed to hatch. The smaller the air cell the wetter the chicks will be. Small air cells will lead to a lot of chicks pipping and then drowning in the eggs.

     As far as the humidity goes, start with 35% and watch the air cells. Decrease or increase from there depending on what the air cells are doing- they're what will determine if the eggs are incubating right. Every climate has a different humidity- I’m in an extremely dry region, therefore 35% humidity works well for me however, for those in more humid climates, humidity percentage will be different. Even my friend, who lives 45 minutes away from me, runs his humidity at 45% with great success. I cannot run mine that high and have a successful hatch. It’s all dependent on area.


Sticky chicks are caused by way to much moisture in the egg. What you have to think about is all the white of the egg has to be gone when that chick is ready to pip out. If the white of the egg doesn’t get fully absorbed then as soon as air gets into the egg when they pip through, the white of the egg acts like glue and as they're pipping and drying, it eventually plugs the air hole and their nostrils up and they smother. 

   Shipped eggs seem to be more prone to quitting during lockdown than eggs that have not been shipped. So, be prepared for the disappointment and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t turn out as well as you hoped. As long as you do all that you possibly can to get the eggs off to a good start and monitor and maintain correct temps and humidity, it is not your fault if the embryos quit. Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles and sadly, that’s just part of the gamble of shipped eggs. If you get a 50% hatch rate, it is considered extremely good, so any chicks that make it are considered above and beyond in my book.

   It’s a little tricky to get the hang of at first but once you start watching and learning it becomes easier. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’m always happy to help. 



Happy Hatching!

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