“My friend and I recently purchased hatching eggs of several breeds online. Some arrived within a couple days while a couple of batches took over a week. The first to arrive have all hatched with about 85% success. The rest have been pretty awful. Was I foolish to think that mail-order eggs would be OK? I have hatched some from my hens without too much trouble but I wanted to get some different breed stock going. Any advice would be welcome.” ~ Kathleen Thompson Davis
Kathleen, thanks for the question.
You were NOT foolish to believe that mail-order eggs would be okay.
As you personally experienced, an 85% hatch is great!
I’m going to assume that the delay in arrival had to do with delivery.
Since you got the first batch so quickly I’m assuming the supplier did their part.
I would still contact the supplier and let them know what happened, they may send you some replacement eggs. More importantly, they need to know what happened so that they can prevent the same thing from happening to other customers.
For future reference and any one else who runs into this problem, try to get an expected date of delivery for your orders. If your eggs don’t arrive on that day, contact the supplier and let them know. It’s okay to make a nuisance of yourself if you have to call day after day until the eggs do arrive. (If any of our readers answer the telephone for a poultry supplier, I apologize.)
A reputable supplier will take steps to rectify the problem in some way.
This brings us to a good point, know who you’re dealing with when it comes to your flock.
Whenever possible, I like to buy as close to home as possible. It not only supports local business but doing business face to face makes it personal and you’re less likely to be taken advantage of when it’s personal.
If you can’t do business face to face, buy as close to home as possible.
That way, if you have a problem you can resolve it easier, (you have to drive to the location).
When there are no local options, there is nothing wrong with making your purchases on the internet; eggs, chicks and even hens are sent through the mail.
The caution here is that because you are not seeing the facility, the eggs or the animals, and you are not talking to the farmer you don’t know what you’re getting. Seek recommendations from people you know.
I’m constantly suggesting that you get information from neighbors, local feed stores, veterinarians, farm clubs, etc. The reason is that in business, customer satisfaction is everything!
People are three times more likely to tell you about a bad experience they’ve had with a business than they are to tell you about a good experience they’re had, so ask.
I know this will sound contradictory but bare with me, sometimes it is better to use a big company that is not local even if there are local suppliers available.
I like to see where my birds are coming from. I want to see their living conditions or handling conditions. I like to talk to the farmer and get an idea of how he views his business. I want the farmer to be comfortable answering any question I may have.
If I’m not allowed to see where the animals are kept, I leave.
If the farmer views his flock as a business only, just a source of income, I leave. A farmer like that will be unlikely to give his flock stellar living conditions in which sanitation is a priority.
If the farmer won’t answer my questions, I get the feeling he’s trying to hide something and (you guessed it) I leave.
If you cannot find a local supplier that will allow you to see his operation and you are unable to find one with an excellent reputation, you may be better off ordering from elsewhere.
There are companies online who have grown very large because they are great at what they do and they produce excellent chickens.
Regardless of where you get your poultry, please research your supplier thoroughly. You do not want to bring someone else’s problems home.