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Once you have decided upon the breed(s) you are wanting to hatch it is time to find a poultry outlet/hatchery that sells them.
For a list of internet sites and hatcheries please see our article on the various outlets that we have had only good reviews about or have had dealing with.
In Part 2 of our Hatching Egg(s) series, we give our readers some tips on how to buy your fertilized eggs!
If you have not already read TO HATCH OR NOT TO HATCH? – HATCHING EGGS PART 1 of our Hatching Egg(s) series, you may want to take a quick read before moving on to Part 2.
HOW TO TELL IF AN EGG IS FERTILIZED
A hen can lay a fertile egg from between 2 days to up to 3 weeks after mating with a rooster.
If you know for sure the hen has been attended to by a rooster the eggs she lays afterwards for up to 3 weeks may be fertile. As with any fertilization process, there can be problems and she may lay non-fertilized eggs.
Another way and a way which has been done through the ages is a process called “candling”.
It is where you hold the egg up to a lit candle, of course, you must take care not get the egg too close or overheat it. You want to check the egg not roast it.
You can even use a bright flashlight which is the option I prefer to use as I do not like candles at the best of times.
When you hold the light to the egg it will let you get a shadow inside the shell.
Fertilized eggs are a lot cloudier than non-fertilized eggs. A non-fertilized egg is quite clear, and the egg looks almost transparent. The best way to check this at first is to look at a non-fertilized one and then compare it to the one you suspect is fertilized.
You can check on the egg after 4 – 5 days of incubation again to make sure. But this time things will be taken shape inside the egg in form of red veins.
CHOOSING EGGS AND WHERE TO GET THEM
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
The hatchery/poultry farm/outlet cannot guarantee the sex of the chicken you will get from the eggs. So, ensure that you have room for a few more chickens in your flock/coop. As it is best to have bigger odds of getting hens or roosters depending on what you are looking for.
The hatchery/poultry farm/outlet cannot guarantee that the egg will hatch as, as soon as you leave the ground and the egg is in good condition they cannot be held responsible for it.
So, prepare for all outcomes and try to explain as best you can for your children should they be involved in the exercise. Kids are resilient and tend to understand a lot more than we give them credit for as we do tend to shelter them.
Although you may not be able to choose the sex of your chicken it is entirely up to you what breed of chicken you want. So, make sure the place you buy from does actually have the correct breed for you before you buy your fertilized eggs.
Especially if you are looking to breed rare and or heritage breeds. To hatch/raise these chicken breeds it is best to get advice from long-time breeders of the breed(s).
BUYING EGGS REMOTELY AND HAVING TO HAVE THEM SHIPPED TO YOU
Nowadays it is very easy to get any chicken from anywhere in the country. You could even get them from abroad but these due to extremely strict regulations is quite difficult to do. Not impossible but really difficult and not something to attempt unless you are a complete Chicken Fancier, Poultry/commercial farmer or have at least got some experience under your belt.
There are many different hatcheries and poultry sites on the Internet that sell eggs, hatchlings, pullets, cockerels, etc.
There are even places that sell rare and or hard to come by chicken breeds that have websites or at least clubs that have links to where you can contact them. If you are looking for some breed it is best to actually contact one of these sites like Greenfire farms. They tend to sell rare and uncommon breeds they may even be able to help with ones you are eyeing from around the world.
So, if you are getting your chickens shipped you must brace yourself for those that do not take to the travel too well. It is kind of heartbreaking so I would not recommend this for the first-time buyers/chicken owners. It is best to try to get as local as possible even if it means you may have to travel a few extra miles. At least you know you are in control of their safety.
Then again even eggs that are hatched right there in your own coop have no guarantee of hatching. As with any birth, there are always risks.
You have to brace yourself for those that do not make it. We like to give them a little send-off and a nice little burial. It makes my little boy feel a lot better and as cruel as this sounds it does teach them about the cycle of life. As nature can be as cruel as she is kind and as much as we would like to protect our young from it they do need to learn about it.
If are getting your eggs shipped there is a chance that some of them will not hatch. But once again there is also the chance that they will! Choose your hatchery/poultry farm well and ask questions about the shipping company, the hatcheries success rate in getting the poultry to their customers, etc. You are the customer, you are spending your money and you have every right to ask!
BUYING FROM A LOCAL HATCHERY/FARM/POULTRY OUTLET
The internet may be convenient, and you get your poultry shipped right to your door. But actually, being able to go the hatchery/poultry farm/outlet adds an extra zing of excitement to the process.
Not only does the internet purchase come with risks but you do not get to choose your own eggs.
Buying local allows for you to actually go in, see the facilities, ask questions face to face. Get to see the chickens and how they are being raised, etc.
And you get to choose your own eggs! That is really exciting even for an adult imagine how your kids will feel choosing the egg(s) that they will be having a hand in hatching.
You get to take your eggs home right away and do not have to wait however many days internet purchases may take.
BUY REMOTELY OR BUY LOCAL COMPARISON CHART
|DETAILS||ORDER REMOTELY||BUY LOCAL|
|Hatchery/Outlet For ordering||Have a greater choice. There are no travel costs to the store. The internet covers almost all states. You can order online or phone in the comfort of your own home.||May have a limited choice. You can order over the phone or online from the comfort of your own home.||May have a limited choice. (See comments)|
|Comments: Local buying may be limited because of the lack of outlets in your immediate area. You may have to travel further to find hatcheries/farms/outlets that sell the breed you are looking for. You will have to take in costs of travel, getting extra equipment to carry the poultry in and maybe even accommodation.|
|Breeds||Have a greater choice. No extra costs except maybe delivery charges. Some suppliers may give free delivery depending on the area.||May have a limited choice. No extra costs except maybe delivery charges. Some suppliers may give free delivery depending on the area.||May have a limited choice. (See comments)|
|Comments: Some local stores depending on the area local to you may not have the breed of chicken you are looking for. Or you may have to travel a little or lot further to find them.
You will have to take in costs of travel, getting extra equipment to carry the poultry in and maybe even accommodation.
|Getting the Eggs||There are no guarantees that the eggs are fertile.||There are no guarantees that the eggs are fertile.||You can check if the egg is fertile on site. (See comments)|
|Comments: Buy asking the buyer to do a bit of candling you can see if the egg is fertile.|
|Greater risk of the egg not hatching due to problems with being shipped||Greater risk of the egg not hatching due to problems with being shipped||Can limit the risk of transport problems causing the egg not to hatch|
|Cannot choose your own eggs||Cannot choose your own eggs||Can choose your own eggs|
|Comments: It may not seem like anything, but part of the excitement is choosing your own eggs. Ordering online/over the phone is less personal. There are pros and cons to both.|
|You have to wait for your eggs to arrive depending on how they were shipped and the shipper’s delivery schedules||You have to wait for your eggs to arrive depending on how they were shipped and the shipper’s delivery schedules||You get to take your egg babies home with you right there and then.|
|Anyway, you choose to buy your eggs is a good way. You still have all the excitement and enjoyment of getting your eggs, incubating them and watching them hatch to baby chicks.
At the end of the day if you buy your eggs over the phone, online or in person there as still risks and like birthing any babies there is the excitement of what sex they are going to be.
END OF HATCHING EGG(S) PART 2
Hatching eggs are not for everyone as you have to consider both financial costs and emotional costs.
But if you are up for the challenge, have the patience and can endure the potential risks of losing a few or the disappointment of having to give some up for adoption/to other homes. The rewards as with the experience are great!
Part 3 of our Hatching Egg(s) series takes a look at getting ready to bring home your eggs and the best ways to incubate them.
If you are new to owning chickens, looking to starting out before making a choice of chicken breed it is best to have a clear vision as to what you are wanting to get out of owning chickens. Are you looking for fresh eggs, a pet, etc? For advice on keeping chickens see our “The first-time chicken owners starter guide”.