How to Buy Hatching Eggs on eBay:
7 Tips From a Hatching Addict
At Little Onion Farm, we have a healthy obsession with chickens. While we’re not breeders or showmen, we do like to source from official chicken breeders, especially through ABA or APA breed clubs. It took us a while to get to that point – and buying eBay hatching eggs was key to getting there.
When the farm was first established, we purchased most of our chicken hatching eggs from eBay. It’s a surprisingly good resource. It’s not an ideal place to buy show-quality birds, but it’s great for getting the breeds you really want quickly and efficiently. Most of our experiences on the site have been excellent! While eBay doesn’t allow chick or adult bird sales, they do allow egg sales, and lots of people sell there (including Little Onion Farm!)
As with any type of online shopping, there are a few downsides. There’s no way to completely avoid all the risks you take when you buy hatching eggs online – after all, there’s no way to know for sure if you’re buying the eggs in the photos, and you have UPS/USPS to contend with, too. However, you can mitigate these risks by going in with the right expectations.
1: Check Reviews
The first thing you should do before buying hatching eggs on eBay is check the seller’s reviews. However, don’t use reviews as your sole criteria on what to buy, either. Sellers can dispute bad reviews, and they can even recreate their shop from scratch if they want to start fresh. Good reviews can also be faked, so they’re not a fool-proof metric, either.
When buying eBay hatching eggs, review quantity is a better mark of a seller than quality. If a seller has a low number of reviews and a perfect rating, that can sometimes be a red flag. The more reviews a seller has, the better, even if they don’t have a perfect five-star rating. The exception is if they’re a new seller, which you can verify by checking how many items they’ve sold on their store page.
That being said, good reviews are always a good metric for one thing: packaging quality. The best hatching eggs to buy, regardless of breed and quality, are well-packed, cushioned, and properly situated for shipping. While a seller can never guarantee that your eggs will get to you intact (the postal service does funny things to packages sometimes), they can take preventative measures to help your eggs stand up to any abuse they might suffer in transit.
When you buy hatching eggs online, there are two distinct points of success: when you receive (or hatch) viable eggs, and when they grow into quality birds. However, eBay limits the amount of time you have to post a review. Even if you receive healthy, vigorous eggs that all hatch, you still might end up screwed if they’re not the breed, color, or quality you were looking for – and you won’t know if all that’s correct until they grow into adults.
While we still love our “surprise” birds that aren’t exactly what we ordered at Little Onion Farm, it’s still disappointing to feel like you’ve been taken advantage of. There’s not much you can do to avoid this, but remember this: the best sellers always rise above the rest. Those who go through the extra effort of sending you more eggs when yours don’t hatch, or who carefully select and breed for better, healthier, friendlier birds in their flocks, inevitably make the experience worthwhile.
2: Inspect Listing Photos
One of the best ways to arm yourself against listing fraud is to familiarize yourself with the chicken breeds you want. If the breed is APA (American Poultry Association) or ABA (American Bantam Association) recognized, take some time to look into the breed standard. Attend a chicken show, if you can, or try to find photos of show-winning birds online (official breed clubs can help a LOT with this). Then, compare the seller’s birds to those show-winning birds. The more similar they look, the better.
If you’re serious about obtaining quality show stock, we highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the ABA or APA standard of perfection (you can find hard copies of the SOP in the “store” page of the websites above). That way, you can just consult the book whenever you have quality concerns. We also recommend joining breed clubs that represent the breeds you’re especially fond of. While the ABA and APA ask for a fee to join, many individual breed clubs are completely free to participate in.
As you become more familiar with the official breed standards, it’ll become natural to point out birds that aren’t what you’re looking for. Before you go searching for show-winning hatching eggs on eBay, though, keep in mind that many eBay egg sellers do not breed to official show standards (nor do they need to). Many breeders select for disease resistance, friendliness, productivity, or other traits instead of show qualities.
That being said, it’s still important for any breeder to at least keep official breed standards in mind. An official standard helps ensure that you’re getting what you want out of your transaction, and it helps keep the breed consistent across many farms nationwide.
Finally, watch out for listings with just one or two photos when buying fertile eggs online. Keep an eye out for pixelated and fuzzy photos, too. If it looks like the seller grabbed a random photo from Google for their listing, the chances are that they did. When in doubt, you can always use Google’s Reverse Image Search tool to do investigative research. If you find that the seller’s photos are posted in multiple places (or by multiple other sellers) across the web, that’s a red flag. If you can only find them on their eBay posts and possibly their personal website or social media, that’s a big green flag.
3: Watch Out For Rare Breeds
Have you ever wondered where to buy hatching eggs in your country? Getting eggs in the USA is pretty effortless, but in other places, it’s not always easy to get the breeds and varieties you want. While your selection may be smaller, there’s bound to be something available where you live based on the sheer number of hatching eggs for sale online.
Unfortunately, the rarer the eggs you’re looking to buy, the more likely you are to get scammed. People will see how much a new, popular breed is selling for, and they’ll do whatever they can to jump on the bandwagon. Sometimes that means breeding unhealthy birds, breeding birds that significantly deviate from the official standard, or even selling you false eggs.
The most recent example of this that we’ve seen is the Ayam Cemani, an all-black chicken breed that’s taken the backyard chicken world by storm over the last few years. We’ve also seen it with Cream Legbars, Silkies, and other “viral” breeds.
When it comes to rare breeds, it pays to spend a little more money and source your birds from the “original” breeders. Greenfire Farms is an excellent example of this. While their birds are pricey (up to or exceeding $100 per chick if you order live babies), you’ll get a guaranteed-quality bird. (This is not a paid promo – we’ve never personally bought birds or eggs directly from Greenfire Farms – but we love the work they do towards conserving rare chicken breeds.)
Just an FYI – Greenfire Farms also maintains its own eBay page, and they sometimes put up eggs for sale there! This is a great opportunity for those who don’t want to purchase expensive live chicks. Just keep in mind that their egg auctions, like their live birds, go up in price quickly.
You may also be able to save a little money by purchasing from a smaller breeder that got their birds from the original breeder. We’ve done this before here at Little Onion Farm, with some successes and some failures. Unfortunately, these chickens can sometimes be frail – usually because they come from smaller genetic groups.
Hobby breeders who source from larger breeders (in this case, the larger breeder being Greenfire Farms) usually establish their own small breeding group – often a male and a handful of females – and start selling eggs as soon as the females start to lay. They don’t go out of their way to select the healthiest, best-looking birds, nor do they worry about inbreeding in their stock. They just sell as many hatching eggs as possible in the interest of making a buck. While we have no problem with building your own small business breeding chickens, there’s one right way to do it, and many wrong ways to do it. Diverse genetics means better disease resistance and more vigor.
There’s a lot to be said about the complications that can come from purchasing rare breeds, even from a reputable breeder like Greenfire Farms. Rare chicken breeds are almost always less resistant to disease, even when they’re bred responsibly –especially when they’ve been imported from overseas. This is true of every animal, and even humans, to an extent. A creature from overseas has an immune system suited to its native environment, so when it visits a new one, it’s exposed to new pathogens that it doesn’t have defenses for.
In short: the rarer the chicken breed, the more frail it’ll be. Just how frail it’ll be depends on how recently it was imported and how responsibly it was bred, but on the whole, rare breeds often don’t live as long as our common, native breeds. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t own them; it’s to prepare you for what’s sometimes inevitable, and to encourage responsible practices in those who breed these fantastic birds.
Always research your chosen breed as much as possible before you buy to maximize your chances of success. For example: If the breed is new in your area, who created it (or who imported it to your country)? Do any well-known farms or breeders maintain large flocks of the breed? Does a breed club, even if it’s still in the process of forming, exist for it yet? If so, join it and learn as much as you can!
For some reason, the mason jar aesthetic has exploded in popularity recently. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the farmhouse interior design style, since they fit together so well. Personally, I always have a few jars on hand, both because I save the ones that jams and sauces come in and because they’re just so useful for storage. Glass is an infinitely recyclable material (unlike plastic), and it’s healthier for your family, too. And, of course, if you’re into canning, keeping a robust collection of mason jars on hand is essential.
Because of all the things that mason jars (and glass in general) have going for them, I think that reCAP Mason Jars is really onto something with their current business model. reCAP creates reusable food-safe lids and attachments that make mason jars way more useful. Imagine turning a normal mason jar – which you’d normally only use for food storage – into a soap dispenser, spray bottle, shaker jar, fermentation bottle, or olive oil dispenser. (That’s not all the options, either.)
reCAP’s mason jar lids are made of BPA and BPS-free plastic, and they’re freezer-safe and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. Plus, they’re designed and created locally in Erie, PA. They’re made of #5 Polypropylene plastic, so the lids are fully recyclable once they’ve reached the end of their lifetime.
While I personally don’t love having plastic near my foods and drinks, there’s only so much you can do to avoid it – and some things just aren’t feasible to make out of glass or metal. Custom jar attachments like reCap makes fall into this category.
4: Message the Seller
While messaging the seller doesn’t always net you a positive response, it can be a great way to help make a decision if you’re on the fence about some eggs. Before you make your purchase, ask the seller questions about their stock, such as where they got them from, what kind of breeding program they’re using, and how many birds they have. If possible, ask for more pictures of their birds, especially the ones who will pass on their genes to your eggs.
Unfortunately, not all sellers will entertain your questions, or even reply to you at all. That in and of itself can be a good indication that the seller might not be reputable. If they refuse to provide pictures or won’t give you a good answer, that can be a warning sign of “fowl” play or low quality.
Keep in mind that some sellers are just busy people. If they promise to get back to you and never do, it could mean that they just forgot. When you find yourself in that kind of situation, trust your gut – or send another (polite) message!
5: Trust Your Gut
Messaging the seller also gives you an excellent opportunity to “feel them out.” If your gut tells you not to trust them, you should listen! There have been several occasions where Little Onion Farm’s gut spoke up, but we didn’t listen, and we later paid the price (usually in the range of about $20-$50).
Even if you end up getting the short end, it’s not the end of the world. If your gut is telling you something but you really want those eggs, you can still go through with it! Just try not to risk too much money in the process so that, if things do go south, you’ll still be okay financially. Essentially, don’t waste a few hundred dollars (or, God forbid, a few thousand) on eggs that you don’t trust. Twenty or thirty dollars, though? That’s fine once in a while.
6: The Internet Is Your Friend
If you’ve found an eBay listing that feels off somehow, don’t be afraid to do some research instead of writing things off right away. We told you about Google Reverse Image Search earlier in this post, and while that’s one fantastic method to weed out bad listings, you might consider looking for the poster’s social media or home website, too.
We’ll use a farm we purchased Coturnix Quail hatching eggs from as an example of why you should do this. Their listings on eBay looked promising, but we couldn’t find the variety pack that we were looking for there. So, we decided to search for their real website. Their website had exactly what we were looking for!
For some reason, it was available on their home site, but not on eBay (you’d be surprised how often discrepancies like this happen). After finding what we were looking for and reading about their farm, we were sold! The quality of their birds was good, and we’ve been repeat customers ever since.
My point is this: the Internet is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to do exhaustive research. If you have any doubts, do some searching on your seller before you make your bid.
7: Check Social Media
When in doubt, you can always try purchasing hatching eggs somewhere other than eBay. We’ve purchased many of our precious birds from friends, colleagues, and breeders on Facebook. It’s very easy to join a breed club or group on social media and network with experts in the breed you’re looking for, as long as you’re careful to follow any group rules.
The benefits of this method are numerous. Firstly, you’ll work with people who know the breed you want inside and out, so you’ll end up with high-quality birds. Plus, they’re more willing to talk about their breeding stock with you, and many are happy to provide you with pictures on request.
Many breed clubs and hatching egg groups also maintain whitelists of breeders and shippers to avoid, and they take swift action against those who don’t follow through with what they promise. Because of this, your likelihood of receiving bad or fake eggs tends to be much lower.
In exchange, though, you’ll have to respect the rules and preferences of each breeder. Many show breeders don’t sell hatching eggs, as most of them go into their own incubators, or they only sell for a short time each year. In this case, you might have to purchase an adult or juvenile bird to get what you want.
Additionally, some clubs and groups have specific rules about what can and can’t be posted on their pages. For-sale posts, in particular, are usually banned in Facebook groups, and this can make sourcing the breeds you want more difficult.
Facebook and other social media websites can also be great places to search for breeds that you can’t find on eBay. While eBay has a lot of hatching eggs for sale, most of our social media contacts came about from not finding what we wanted on eBay.
You may also have better lock on websites other than eBay if you’re looking for other species’ hatching eggs. Facebook groups can be a fantastic source for most anything livestock-related, especially the following:
- Turkey hatching eggs
- Peafowl hatching eggs
- Pheasant hatching eggs
- Duck hatching eggs
- Geese hatching eggs
- Emu hatching eggs
- Chukar hatching eggs
- Pidgeon hatching eggs
- Cheap or secondhand incubators for hatching eggs (plus lots of other inexpensive supplies)
Do you have any funny stories about hatching eggs that you purchased, either from eBay or another platform? If so, feel free to send us a message about your experience. If you still have questions, feel free to ask and we’ll do our best to help!
Have you decided after reading this article that you don’t want to buy hatching eggs from eBay? Stuck asking yourself, “Where can I buy hatching eggs”? We mentioned a few other resources in this post already, but here’s a list of all our favorite eBay alternatives:
- Facebook (especially from groups)
- Breed clubs
- Roadside stands (find someone selling eggs for eating – they may be open to selling you some eggs for hatching, too!)
- Hatcheries (such as My Pet Chicken, Cackle Hatchery, etc.)
- Swap Meets
- Local farms
This article may contain affiliate links and advertisements. If you make an online purchase after clicking one of the links in this article, we may receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate, Little Onion Farm earns from qualifying purchases. All of the logos, photographs, banners, and links in this post are the intellectual property of their respective owners, and are used to promote our affiliate partnerships. Thank you for supporting Little Onion Farm and our partners!
Copyright © 2023 Little Onion Farm – All Rights Reserved.