Hatching Science Center
Sourcing Fertile Eggs
Fertile eggs are necessary for hatching chicks. Eggs sold in grocery stores are not fertile and cannot be hatched. There are several options for purchasing fertile eggs in the state of Utah:
Fertile eggs should be incubated within 7 to 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.
Chicken eggs are incubated for a total of 21 days. If you purchase eggs online from Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, you are purchasing 18-day eggs; you will pick them up when they are 18 days old, and they will hatch in three days. Eggs do not need to be turned during the last three days of incubation. You will need to be prepared to transport the eggs from Thanksgiving Point. We recommend that you take an insulated cooler with a blanket inside to keep the eggs safe and warm. For teachers who will be driving long distances, adding a heating element to the cooler can be very helpful as long as it is not overly hot. Some ideas for heating elements include warm water bottles, a hot rice pack (a sewn felt bag with rice inside that can be heated in the microwave), or even hand warmers like "Hot Hands" that can be found in grocery stores. NOTE: Please use caution with these heating elements because overly hot temperatures can be as damaging or even worse for chicks than slightly cold temperatures. It is wise to test out your heating system ahead of time, using a thermometer to track the temperature changes inside the cooler over time.