The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Mrs Boss is sitting on bantam hatching eggs

lucky dip hatching eggs“Isn’t it weird? When Mrs Boss used to go broody it was a nightmare. Now it’s a joy that she has gone broody again as we need her to raise new stock for us.”
Danny was studying the lots of hatching eggs on eBay. We had decided finally to put a clutch of bantam eggs under our diminutive broody hen.

Our main flock was bought four years ago and they are well past their egg laying prime. Carol, the Maran hen, is now three and still lays well. She is joined on the egg laying front by Cloud, the gentle guinea fowl hen. The latter is an egg a day girl. Her paramour, Thunder, usually joins her in the nesting box or paces up and down beside the door of the hen house until she returns to him again. The other bantam hens lay sporadically. We need to add to our stock as all our hens are staying for life whether they lay or not.

We like giving eggs away or swapping them for other produce. We often end up buying eggs now – it’s crazy. If all goes well we should have some new bantams laying by next Easter.

Mrs Boss wasn’t keen on the ducklings from the moment that they discovered that they could swim in the water fountain. So the space between hatching the ducklings and going broody again was short. Last year she was happy hanging out with her adopted guinea fowl brood for months. Mrs Boss took over the nesting box of the main chicken house and egg laying diminished to a minimum.

We have throbbed over the simple question of choosing what sort of bantam eggs to put under her.

We rang The Chicken Lady and husband S for advice.
“Why not get Light Sussex? They are the same colour as Mrs Boss. White with black lacy collars and they lay well. Good steady chickens. They’d be perfect for you.”
“What about Leghorns? I’ve read that they’re good layers.”
“I think that they might be a bit flighty. They’re continental.”
I fancied them immediately.

S trawled through eBay for me and found some Light Sussex bantam hatching eggs. He also pointed out loads of other breeds that would be good. He even found some cross breeds
“They’d be tough little hens – It even says that they’ll lay in the winter.”
Meanwhile S was delighted with his five week old Araucanas, hatched from eggs bought on eBay.

We vacillated. The mixed breed eggs were expensive but the sales copy was seductive. Laying in the winter was a plus. They were christened ˜The Schmucks’.
“I reckon that they would be our best bet. They’d be like cross breed dogs, far tougher than a pure breed and they lay in winter.”
“Laying in winter could mean an egg a week.”
“How about six Rhode Island Red bantams? They lay well.”
The problem was I didn’t want six of any breed, even six Schmucks.

Then I found the perfect answer. Six lucky dip hatching eggs.

The pedigree breeds looked perfect but these weren’t bantams. I remembered that S has said that I could talk to the breeder and I might find that they could supply just what I wanted.

And he could. Eggmanellis took Danny’s Pay Pal payment at two on Monday afternoon and they were in my hand at ten the following morning. The delivery was so quick that I imagined that D had been sent the usual weekly box of printing ink. Four hours later I realised that the mystery polystyrene parcel might contain the eggs.

I opened it carefully and found six hatching eggs. Each one marked with the name of a breed. Some were truncated jottings and were just initials.

I reckon that Mrs Boss is now sitting on these eggs. A Frizzle, a Light Sussex, a Brown Leghorn, a White Leghorn, a Silkie and a Wyandotte.

I placed Mrs Boss on a plump nest in the Emerald Castle. Her head appeared to turn 180 degrees – checking that she was in a duck free zone. A few hours later she accepted the proffered Eggmanellis eggs.

She is now happily incubating her future friends.

  Leave a reply


  1. I have never heard of getting eggs on ebay! What an incredible idea. My cochin pullet is not laying yet but her legs are very yellow, almost orange in color, which I believe is a sign of broodiness. Her friend, my Old English BB Red Game
    laid her second egg just today. It is a beautiful ccolor, just slightly off-white, which is nice after collecting only brown eggs from my mother’s fflock.

  2. Out of curiosity – as keeping hens isn’t an option living where I do – I looked at hatching eggs on Ebay and was surprised at the number of sellers who included a large print disclaimer about no guarantees of fertilised eggs, state of eggs on arrival and definitely no refunds! It really makes it such a lottery and suggests that contacting the seller, as you did, makes much more sense.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sandra

    That must have been really disappointing especially not getting a reply from the eBay seller when you wrote.

    I have only heard good things about eBay hatching eggs to date.

    Hi Noel

    It’s a bit of a lottery.

    I haven’t heard about the 75:25 ratio before. It doesn’t ring true. I reckon that it’s more a 50:50 split.

    In the olden days people ate the cockerels and kept the hens.

  4. we thoght about buying eggs on ebay, but what do you do if they all turn out male, i belive its not a 50/50 split more like 75/25 male to female ratio, is this true.

  5. sandra carr

    I hope you are luckier than I was recently, I too bought six Black Leghorn Hatching Eggs from Ebay and every one was infertile. I did contact the seller but never got a reply and funnily enough, the seller has now no items for sale. It wasn’t the money involved, as it wasn’t a great deal to pay compared to Point of lay pullets, it was the DISAPPOINTMENT of getting nothing. Don’t know how my poor bantam felt!

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