Obtaining Hatching Eggs
Obtaining fertile eggs may present a problem, especially if you live in an urban area. Most of the eggs sold in grocery stores are not fertile and cannot be used for incubation. Fertile eggs can usually be obtained from hatcheries or poultry breeding farms. Some large hospitals may also be able to provide them. Contact your local Extension office for suggestions.
When you obtain fertile eggs from a source which does not routinely hatch its own eggs, you may want to test the eggs in an incubator to ensure that good fertility and hatchability can be obtained before you use the eggs as part of the class project. Laying hens raised with a male does not guarantee fertility or hatchability. You are also strongly encouraged to use chicken or coturnix quail eggs to hatch in the classroom. Duck, goose, pheasant and other species of fowl are much more difficult to hatch in classroom incubators. Duck and goose eggs often rot and may explode in the incubator.
Before you begin the project, consider what will be done with the chicks that are hatched. If possible, line up someone who has experience in keeping chickens and is willing to take the chicks. Do not hatch chicks and then abandon them or give them to someone who is unable to care for them properly.
When you have located a source of fertile eggs, pick them up yourself, if possible, rather than have them shipped or mailed. It is difficult for hatcheries, the postal service and transportation companies to properly handle small orders of eggs.