The story of Blue, the chick from the refrigerated egg

Earlier this week I posted about How to handle hatching eggs. This brought to mind a particular blue Marans pullet I hatched a while back. She was such a sweet hen! Friendly and happy, she got along with everyone in the coop. She was our only blue Marans at the time, so her name was simply: Blue. The interesting thing about Blue though, is that she had hatched out of an egg that was refrigerated! 

chicks hatched from refrigerated eggs

It's not supposed to work that way! Fertile hatching eggs are supposed to be stored at room temperature and put in the incubator in under 10 days. In fact there is a very specific set of rules for handling hatching eggs that should be followed. That is not what had happened here!

Hatching refrigerated eggs

Here is how she came to be......

It was one morning about 2 years ago when I made my husband breakfast, scrambled eggs of course. A few bites into it he looks at me and says "these eggs taste funny". Ever have that moment when you realize you did something drastically wrong? That was this moment! My stomach drops to the floor and all the sudden the thought slams through my mind "oh crap I should have thrown those eggs away!"

You see, one of my hens had been on antibiotics and as you know, the eggs get tossed for about 2 weeks after the antibiotic cycle is completed. I had completely forgotten! Oops! 

Chicks hatched from refrigerated eggs

In the refrigerator was about a dozen eggs from this girl. So I set them on the counter and remade breakfast (from a different hens eggs) but got to thinking 'I would hate to waste these' and into the incubator they go. 3 weeks later, 8 chicks hatched! This was Blue...she was one of those chicks.

The odds were against those eggs hatching, after all they were refrigerated, medicated and some were a bit old....but 8 out of 12 hatched. Into the sale bin the chicks went and within a few days only 1 little blue chick was left. 

Chick that hatched from a refrigerated egg!

Little Blue got moved under a Silkie mama and grew up happy, chasing bugs and playing with the other chicks. She eventually moved to the Marans coop where she laid beautiful large brown eggs.....and it all started when I fed my husband bad eggs. LOL (he was fine, btw)

Tips for incubating refrigerated eggs



  • Remove the eggs from the refrigerator as soon as possible. 
  • Allow the eggs to come to room temperature slowly. You want them to warm up without sweating. If the room is warm put them in a cool place for the first few hours then move to room temperature.
  • Place in incubator and incubate as usual.


Want to hear hatching success stories (and failures) using refrigerated eggs? Check out this BackYard Chickens Thread on hatching Trader Joe's eggs

Now I wouldn't suggest throwing those rules for handling hatching eggs out the window entirely. Keep in mind though that those are less like 'rules' and more like best practices to ensure success. It is very possible to incubate eggs and hatch chicks from eggs stored and handled differently, it's just not as probable.

Blue is proof though, that a refrigerated egg can be incubated and hatch into an adorable chick! 

Here's a little update from 2019: After my success with hatching these eggs I decided to incubate eggs that I bought at my local general store. They were fertile eggs from the store owners backyard flock. I hatched 4 out of 12. So if you have access to fertile eggs and want to add to your flock...give them a try. 

~L

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8 comments:

  1. Tee Hee. I am interested in hatching my own chickies! I have a hen named, Blue too. Although she is not a Cuckoo..she is Americauna. Sp?
    xo KRis

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    1. I love Americaunas! They have those adorable muffs. So cute!

      ~L

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  2. She's a lovely hen! I'm amazed that many of the eggs hatched, too.

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    1. Thanks...It sure surprised me! I guess you just never know unless you try. :-)

      ~L

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  3. What a pretty hen...she looks very happy! And chocolate-colored eggs, ....very nice!!!

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    1. Thanks! She's such a sweetie.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~L

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  4. She is lovely, looks a bit like a Lavender Buff.
    PS. My Khaki Campbells never flew... maybe they were just keeping it a secret from me.

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    1. Thanks. She's just a little darker then that but I do see the similarity.

      Ohh, but I bet the were flying when you weren't looking! lol

      ~L

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