Hatching versus Eating 

Eggs!  If you have chickens, then you’ve got eggs.  A little or a lot of eggs mostly depends on the size of your flock, breed and time of year.  But still – you’ve got eggs.

I recently joined a new FB group for chicken lovers.  It’s bigger than the other one I was on, sees a lot more traffic, and has a wider range of chicken-experience.

A post from earlier today has me thinking.  The OP (original poster) sells her eggs $2.50 a dozen for eating and $5.00 a dozen for hatching.

She was contacted by a potential customer who wanted to know things like breeds, housing and care conditions, and if she washed/refrigerated her eggs.

Upon receiving answers, the woman tells the OP that she was wants a dozen, unwashed and unfridgerated and will only pay the $2.50.   The implication here, between the questions of breeds and living conditions, is that she wants hatching eggs.

The OP’s question is “should I sell at her terms, or refuse?”

A new debate has spawned, however.  How do you determine between hatching eggs and eating eggs? And more importantly, should you charge more them? Or less?

(For my international readers, I will make note that here in the U.S.A we have different laws regardless chicken eggs and it is our practice to wash and refrigerate th. I know you guys don’t.  That’s okay because I know your standard care and coop/barn cleaning procedures are different than ours.  We here in US just have to be different.)

Now… to the question(s) at hand.  What determines a hatching egg from an eating egg?

In the stores, eating eggs are not fertile.  I can’t stick one under a broody hen or in an incubator and get chicks.  Or, in most cases, I shouldn’t be able to.  I’ve heard that it happens on occasion.

They are not fertile because the hens and roosters are separated and no hanky lanky has been allowed to happen that might lead to a fertilized egg.

On farms or in backyards across the world, however, there are people raising all kinds of chickens, both male and female.  Hen and Roo.  Chances are good, if you have a rooster, the eggs you collect each day are fertile.  At least some of them.

So… what makes the difference in whether I eat them or use them to raise chicks?

I guess, honestly?  In my case, nothing.  Most of mine are going to be barnyard mix – mutts with a little bit of every chicken breed I’ve brought home in the last 2 years – so I don’t tend to sell them.  I have given some away to friends in the past and know they got nine chicks of a dozen eggs, so 75% hatch rate.

I do sell my excess eggs, usually to people who want to eat farm fresh eggs.  And I’ve been known to slip a few under my broody hens, so I can have cute chicks.

However, there are people who started out as backyard chicken keepers or hobby farmers who have gotten “bit by the bug” and went full on Breeder.  They have different coops for different breeds, separate areas for breeding pens, have their flocks up to date on all immunizations and went the extra mile to become NPIP certified.

These people have gone the extra mile, put a lot of money and time and effort into their chickens that goes way beyond caring for pets.

As NPIP certified, they are legally capable of setting up shop (a physical store or even a website) and selling their wares – eggs for eating, eggs for hatching, day-old chicks, started pullets, etc.  NPIP means they can be a business.  Or they could just specialize in a couple breeds in their back yard.

And that also means they can, and probably should, charge for hatching eggs.

How much should they charge?  Honestly? I don’t know that either.  My favorite site for buying hatching eggs asks different prices for different breeds, different prices if you’re asking for an assortment, and different process for heritage or heirloom birds (these are birds who come from pure bred, non-hatchery stock).  All the variables make all different prices.

For example:

This does NOT include the price for shipping and handling or tax.

I had a breeder friend whom I know from FB sell me 14 eggs for $40. They were not all the same breed, and some were very rare breeds.  I personally think I got a fairly good deal.

Okay, now… before I start rambling and going off on tangents… how about you, dear readers?

Do you sell eggs? For eating or hatching or both?  Do you charge more for the hatching eggs?  Or just give them away like I do?

Do you have (or think there should be) different criteria for what makes an egg a ‘hatching egg’?

Or, if you’re tuning in from somewhere in Europe, are you still trying to wrap your mind around the fact that we wash our eggs and put them in the refrigerator?

I’m curious, and as I’ve shared my rambling thoughts with you, I’m hoping you’ll share yours with me.

6 thoughts on “Hatching versus Eating 

  1. I never have enough eggs to sell, although I do give some away to special friends. We can’t have roosters in the city, so our eggs aren’t fertile. Many people are surprised that chickens don’t need a rooster to lay eggs. I’m surprised that they’re surprised. I saw a price of $1 an egg–that is $1 for each egg–up in Sonoma, CA. If you wanted “pastured chickens– hens running free on grass and eating bugs–those were $2.50 PER egg. Yikes! Who can afford to live in Sonoma? So I am no help on your questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We sell ours fresh, washed and refigerated for $3 a dozen. We have a rooster so they are potentially fertile. I always fear that I let some fertile eggs slip by to our customers that have already started to develop….nobody wants to Crack an egg open and see a half developed chick. We have a mix backyard flock so selling our eggs for hatching hasn’t really come up since most people want specific breeds for showing and we can only give mixed breed eggs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, most people do want specific breeds. I like adding more breeds to my flock because I actually want to see what different combinations of ‘barnyard mix’ will look like. I haven’t sold hatching eggs yet. I did give some away to a friend with a broody who would stop being broody, just to give her something to do. B

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’d also add. We sell ours for $2 a dozen. I don’t make a profit off it, in all honestly, I unless I wanted to break down the cost of similar eggs in the store and do the math for how many eggs we use as a family versus store bought prices. Then,I suspect we break even. I should probably charge more, but there are so many people selling eggs in our area that it’s easy to find someone selling in the$2-$4 range. My price is fair, if I want customers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I tried to sell ours for $2/dozen but when I started selling we had an egg shortage up in our area and people were paying over $3 for store bought eggs,people insisted on paying us $3 for fresh eggs and it stuck. We don’t make money on it either. We basically break even with bedding and feed

        Liked by 1 person

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