|Eggs are packed in specially made crush proof polystyrene boxes|
In most respects the modern hen behaves just like its Red Jungle Fowl progenitor. After laying an egg the hen sits on it briefly and then returns to normal behaviour even after several eggs have accumulated in the nest. When the clutch is complete, 10 - 12 or 15 eggs, incubation becomes continuous. It is only when incubation starts that the embryo begins to develop, until then it is in suspended animation.
|Poly box inside a cardboard box packed with crumpled newspaper, "The Guardian"|
It's this suspension of development that allows us to collect fertile eggs and send them all over the UK for hatching. The eggs that are sent have to be fresh, not more than 3 or 4 days old and a whole lot of factors can affect hatchability. There's an optimum storage temperature of around 12C, in storage they should be turned daily and otherwise left undisturbed. Changes in temperature, atmospheric pressure and rough handling can all affect hatchability so the eggs are packed in crush proof polystyrene boxes and posted for next day delivery.
|21 days later|