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When to Buy Hatching Eggs
Buying chicks at a local farm store is certainly a tried and true way of building a chicken flock. But, if you’re looking for more exotic and hard-to-find breeds buying hatching eggs may be the only option you have.
There are a number of different farms and businesses that sell hatching eggs online. However, if you’re buying online and having eggs shipped, then there are some steps you’ll want to follow. These steps help to make sure that your egg investments are most likely to hatch when they arrive. Knowing when to buy hatching eggs is first on the list.
First, chicken eggs, even if they are fertilized, must be incubated in order to begin developing into chicks. This is why you should collect eggs every single day. Even if you have a rooster, you won’t have to worry about accidentally cracking an egg and finding a horrifying surprise inside the shell.
However, the sooner after laying that you begin incubating your eggs the more successful you will be at hatching chicks. And remember, your eggs will get shaken while traveling. When you get your eggs, let them sit for at least 12 hours before you put them in an incubator. All of this is crucially important when choosing when to buy them.
It is important to start incubation as soon as possible after eggs are laid. This means you want to make sure that the eggs you purchase are collected quickly. And you want them to be shipped within 3 days of being laid. Anything longer than that and you’ll want to see if you can negotiate for a cheaper price as they are much less likely to properly develop and hatch.
Be Ready for Hatching Eggs
Don’t order your eggs until you have everything ready. Hatching can take about 21 days and you’ll have things you need to check and do every single day to make sure your hatching rate is as high as possible.
That said, don’t wait too long to buy hatching eggs either as it takes chicks about 18 weeks before they are ready to start laying. If you’re phasing out older hens and want your new chicks to replace them, then you’ll need to order hatching eggs about five and a half months before you expect your chicks to be mature enough to replace older laying hens.
Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’re Hatched
When you go to order hatching eggs, overestimate the number of eggs you want to buy. Eggs cannot be sexed and so you are going to end up with some roosters. Because of this, and the often times low hatching rates, you’ll want to order at least 50% more eggs than you think you’ll actually want.