Try to find a local source of fertile eggs if you can. Sending eggs through the
mail and getting a high percentage of them to hatch is very difficult — the
average rate of hatch under ideal conditions for fertile eggs sent by mail is
only 50 to 60 percent. Normally, you don’t get any guarantees when fertile
eggs are mailed to you because the seller can’t control the shipping temperatures
and the way the eggs are handled in transit.
If you’re saving your own eggs or you have the chance to pick and choose
which eggs you want, choose the cleanest ones. You can brush off dirt with
a dry cloth; some people even use fine sandpaper. If eggs are heavily soiled,
it’s best not to use them. Discard any cracked eggs and any eggs that have
very thin shells or are oddly shaped; oddly shaped eggs seldom produce good
Eggs you buy from the supermarket won’t hatch because those hens aren’t
kept with roosters. Even the eggs labeled organic are probably from hens
without roosters. We’ve heard of eggs that were bought at farmers’ markets
from free-range hens hatching, but don’t count on hatching eggs that were
meant for eating.