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Buying Fertilized Chicken Eggs – What You Need To Know

Buying fertilized chicken eggs doesn’t have to be scary! In fact, getting fertilized eggs from a breeder is a fairly easy way to have more control over your future chickens. You get to select the breed, incubate them, watch them hatch and grow. It’s a very rewarding process.

If you are new to raising chickens, it may come as a surprise that you don’t have to wait for your lovely Henrietta to lay an egg, sit on it, and hope that it hatches. There’s a much easier way to add chickens to your flock and a fun way we might add!

So, what are some things that you need to know about buying fertilized chicken eggs? Let’s dive in as we go over some nifty info.

The Pros And Cons Of Buying Fertilized Eggs

With any endeavor you devote yourself to, it helps to look at the advantages and disadvantages. These two indicators help guide us in making decisions.

PROS

CONS

  • This becomes a super-rewarding project that you and your family.
  • It doesn’t require any special skills; beginners can buy fertile eggs and hatch them. We do encourage that you learn as much as you can beforehand.
  • You get to select the precise breed you want to hatch and raise. Purchasing live chickens within a specific breed can be costly.
  • You get to determine when you will buy your eggs and hatch them. Waiting for available chicks to buy are seasonal, with some breeds only coming out once or twice a year.
  • Self-hatched chicks grow up to be friendlier chickens compared to purchasing live chicks from an outside source.
  • It’s cheaper than buying live chickens.
  • Disease within your flock is significantly reduced by hatching your own chicks versus purchasing live chicks from outside sources.
  • Do a little homework to learn about hatching and caring for chicks if you are a beginner.
  • You will need to acquire an incubator.
  • You must have time to commit to monitoring incubation and caring for baby chicks. Many incubators are automatic and will turn the eggs for you.
  • Some eggs may not hatch. Hatch rates differ in shipped/locally picked up eggs.
Pros and Cons Of Buying Fertilized Eggs

Where To Buy Fertilized Eggs

To the unknowing person, the question crops up about buying supermarket eggs and hatching them. Supermarket eggs are not fertilized and will never hatch.

Sourcing a reputable and reliable place to buy fertile eggs can be a “hit and miss” venture unless you know about good places to buy from and those to avoid.

Avoid

Online sources to avoid include commercial hatcheries, industrial (large commercial) hatcheries, eBay, and Craigslist. Hatcheries can often pose as small family-operated businesses when, in reality, they aren’t. Hatcheries are more concerned with quantity over quality.

Industrial hatcheries are to be avoided at all costs. These entities handle and raise chickens in some of the most inhumane manners possible.

eBay and Craigslist sellers may be associated with a hatchery or may sell you eggs that are often considered science projects. You have no clue what you will end up with.

Having said that, we HAVE found a good local farming operation off Craigslist. It was a local hobby farm who had excess fertilized eggs which we were able to use for hatching. The key difference is that we were able to speak directly to the farmer, and meet him in person to see the chickens, discuss the breeds, etc. The main takeaway here – do your research and ask lots of questions!

Lastly, as enticing as flea markets are where poultry is concerned, we don’t recommend buying fertilized eggs or chicks at these places. You have no clue about the background of the parent hen/rooster. Again, these could end up being “science projects!”

Reliable Sources

We highly recommend visiting online chicken raising forums where breeders and chicken hobbyists share and swap information. Many of these individuals have fertile eggs for sale.

Online forums or sources to visit:

It would be a super bonus if you could find a breeder near you to buy your eggs from. Local pickup of eggs is the best option. Why? Because the quality of your eggs decreases with shipping.

Shipping vs. Local Pickup

Anytime you purchase eggs and have them shipped to you, there’s going to be the expected jarring from the movement that occurs regardless of how well-packed they are.

Shipped eggs have a 50% hatch rate compared to local eggs picked up, which have an 80% hatch rate.

Buying Fertilized Eggs vs. Purchasing Live Chicks

We took a look at a few online prices of hatching eggs and chicks to give you an idea of what they charge. This will show just how economical it is to hatch the eggs vs. buying live chicks/chickens at your local feed store.

Online Breeders/Hobbyists

Easter Egger

  • 1 fertile egg = $2.36 (plus shipping/handling)
  • 1 chick = $2.73-$4.18 (plus shipping/handling)

Lavender Orpington

  • 1 fertile egg = $2.36 (plus shipping/handling)
  • 1 chick = $17-$24 (plus shipping/handling)

Leghorn

  • 1 fertile egg = $2.36 (plus shipping/handling)
  • 1 chick = $4.38

Feed Stores

Prices vary and are dependent on the store and breed of chicken. On average, prices can be between $2.50 – $5.00 for a chick. Chick sales are seasonal in feed stores, usually in the Spring, but with the growing demand for chickens, many of our local farm stores have chicks available for a good portion of the year.

Many local feed or farm stores get chicken eggs locally, but if you’re worried about where the eggs come from, ask them so you can determine if it’s a reputable source. We have found our local farm store to be a wonderful chick supplier but it pays to do your due diligence!

Incubators

Purchasing a reliable incubator is so important. The last thing you want is to invest your time in finding fertile eggs and paying for them and they fail to hatch because of a wonky incubator. We looked online for a few highly rated incubators to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

  • 9-12 egg automatic incubator (turns eggs for you) = $75.00
  • 22-egg automatic incubator (turns eggs for you) = $149.00
  • 30-egg incubator (manual egg turning) = $69.00
buying fertilized chicken eggs
Buying Fertilized Chicken Eggs

Get Your Brooder And Coop Ready

It’s important to think ahead. Once hatched, the chicks will straight from the incubator to the brooder. While they’re incubating, make care your brooder is set up and ready to go for your new brood!

It does NOT have to be an expensive set up…think cardboard box! We used a large cardboard box for years. You can free boxes from local grocery stores, hardware stores, or other local businesses. Appliance stores will have big ones if you are planning on a large flock.

There are many options for brooders. We show you several brooder ideas here.

The chicks stay in the brooder 4 to 6 weeks, or until they’ve developed a few feathers. After this, they can be transferred to the coop. That is always a super fun day!

If you need help getting your coop ready, this guide can get you started on the right foot.

The Last “Cluck”

We hope we have given you an insightful glimpse into buying fertile eggs and what it entails. If you are new to raising chickens, don’t feel intimidated by starting out with hatching eggs.

A lot of newbies come to learn so much, and as those little beaks begin pecking at the eggshell and peek through, you may find yourself overwhelmed with pride and a deep sense of appreciation for an animal that we take for granted. You’ll come to love each of those chicks as pets.

We wish you the very best in beginning this venture! Happy “chickening!”

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