Why ship fertilized chicken eggs in the mail?

A flat of individually wrapped fertilised rare breed chicken eggs

As demand inceases for rare and heritage poultry breeds, fertile eggs are being shipped over greater distances ascross the continent.  Every year, many heritage breed fertilised chicken eggs are mailed or shipped to share, on poultry forums or Ebay or other online auctions.

Shipping and hatching fertilised chickens eggs can be very rewarding, but when the hatching eggs arrive broken, or damaged it is a total loss. If they have to be replaced and re-sent, who pays for replacement and shipping? And a yolky disappointing mess is not a great goodwill builder for a rare heritage chicken breeder

The whole shipping and buying hatching eggs is risky and there is always the uncertain treatment from the shipper or carrier. I think by following certain guidelines for wrapping packing and shipping, you can cut down the risks to your eggs and hopefully the recipient gets great hatches.  Test mailings to yourself may cost a few dollars to start, but are a great way of saving money, no more broken shipments! 

By following certain principles, no matter what the shipping material,  eggs can arrive unbroken and in the best shape for incubation.  Make use of what you already have on hand! 

Principles of packaging fragile fertilised hatching eggs

No matter what materials you use, these rules seem to work!

  1. Fertilized eggs have to be padded thick enough around them and between eggs so they can't break when they touch
  2. The fertile eggs need to be stable in a group so they are not moving a distance into each other to make a bigger impact
  3. The group of eggs should be stable and not move about within the box
  4. There needs to be a "decent distance" between the group of hatching eggs and the cardboard it can soft or padded or just filler

If we think about storing fertilised chicken eggs and how they would be stored for those 3 days if not in the mail, I think you have nothing to lose by trying your best to "store them" the same way in the box.

  1. Moderate temperatures - heat packs (see picture), styrofoam or insulated boxes and shipping when temps are moderate.
  2. Storing pointy end down - packaged that way with this way up signs. You wouldn't lay the eggs on the side for a week if they weren't in the mail, I think pointy end down means less likely the air cells will detach.
  3. Letting eggs breathe. I am not sure there is evidence either way, I have received eggs smothered in bubble wrap and they hatched out fine. My method doesn't smother, more because one piece of bubble wrap is enough, it's quicker to do and still helps the eggs breathe!

Whatever you use for packaging it should be clean and the right amount of shock absorbing and cushioned but firm and non-slumping and if it insulates as well that is a bonus. We like the popcorn because it is biodegradable, easy to store til popped and edible for the chickens at the receiver's house.

Good Luck!

I hope this helps you design a packaging setup for your fragile fertilized eggs!  The principles apply to duck, goose, quail, guinea fowl and turkey eggs too!  Ask any questions in the comments if something wasn't clear.  I am happy to help!

There are many kinds of  rare breed chickens you can have mailed to you then hatch. 

Chicks hatched from eggs mailed from British Columbia to Ontario

By having eggs shipped to you, you can enjoy Rare Heritage breed chickens like

I have another article on how we wrap our fertilised chicken eggs for shipping and mailing!  Lots of photos!  We have shipped hundreds of eggs that way!