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National Agriculture in the Classroom

hatching science center

Sourcing Fertile Eggs

PhotoFertile eggs are necessary for hatching chicks. Eggs sold in grocery stores are not fertile and cannot be hatched. Fertile eggs can be purchased locally from a farmer or through classified ads. Fertile eggs can also be purchased online from a hatchery or scientific supply store.

Fertile eggs should be incubated within 7-10 days after they are laid. Hatchability declines rapidly when incubation is delayed for more than 10 days. Until they are incubated, fertile eggs should be stored in cartons or cases—large end up—at 40° to 70°F with a relative humidity of about 75%. If the eggs are to be stored for more than 2 to 3 days before they are incubated, they should be rotated each day to prevent the yolks from sticking to the shells.