Our two groups of incubator eggs hatched this weekend, and we now have 16 fluffballs running around the brooder. Some of the eggs were shipped, and the hatching results were mediocre at best. Here’s how it shook out:
11 Black Copper Marans eggs: of these eggs shipped from about 45 minutes away (seller wouldn’t allow pickup), 5 of the 6 that made it to lockdown ultimately hatched. All eggs were intact when picked up from the Post Office. There were a few clears, a couple of blood rings, and one late quitter. Hatching was around day 22.
16 American Bresse eggs: also shipped, received in 2 days, all eggs intact. Fertility was not good – at first candling (7 days), almost half (7) were clears, 1 had started to develop but quit early (blood ring), 1 looked “iffy”. Not a good start. 8 made it to lockdown, with 7 hatching. One was a late quitter. Hatching began around day 20.
6 Barnyard Mix eggs (from our own flock): 1 was a clear at first candling. Of the 5 that made it to lockdown, 4 hatched and one was a late quitter. Hatching began around day 19.
The best results were obviously from the non-shipped eggs. Self-reported statistics for shipped eggs show hatch rates of 0-90% but vary due to temperature, distance traveled, etc. Hatch rates for shipped eggs seem to generally be low on average, with some people expressing satisfaction with a 50% hatch rate. External influences like rough handling in shipping may be a factor, but eggs that start out infertile have zero chance of hatching.
On the bright side, the only chick we assisted was a BCM that had pipped externally but wasn’t making progress; we just chipped off a bit of shell around the pip to make the escape a little easier, and s/he had emerged by the next morning. All of the chicks appear to be healthy and active – eating, drinking, and pooping.
We’re looking forward to watching them grow and discovering how/whether they fit with our goals for our flock. More to come in future updates.