Buying hatching eggs and incubating them at home is a very convenient way of starting with Dutch bantams. They are a fantastic breed of bantam, and I think I am entitled to say that as I have kept them for over 25 years. However, there are a few things that I think any potential buyer should be aware of.
- Anyone can list hatching eggs on ebay and claim they are Dutch bantams. Be aware that what you may actually get if you do hatch any chicks may not be what they claimed to be. There are some very reputable and successful breeders who offer eggs for sale on ebay, but equally well there are some less scrupulous people who offer eggs that are from poor quality stock. It is really a case of buyer beware.
- Have a look at The Dutch Bantam Club web site. You are not allowed to put links to external sites in these listings, but a search in Google for 'Dutch Bantam Club', making sure you choose the .co.uk site will take you to it. You will find pictures of some of the winners at the top shows in the country. Having a look at these will give you an idea of what a Dutch bantam should look like. Compare this to the pictures on the ebay listing. The web site will also give you some information on the different colours that are available. Some ebay listings have a description that does not match with the colour of the parent birds in the picture and some I have seen are not recognised colours at all.
- Beware of statements like 'rare' or 'show quality'. These can be very meaningless and misleading statements. The Dutch bantam is not a rare breed, but there are some colours that are far less commonly kept in the UK. Anyone can take their bantams to a show and claim they are of show quality. You might want to ask the seller a few questions about how often they show their stock, for how long they have been showing and what prizes they have won recently before putting in a bid.
- With any hatching eggs, if they come through the post, dont expect to hatch 100% of the eggs you set. Always let the eggs rest for 24 hours before putting them in an incubator or under a broody hen.
If you do choose to buy hatching eggs on ebay and you are successful in hatching and rearing some chicks, then I really hope you enjoy your birds and they give you many hours of pleasure, whether you want them as pets or to start breeding and showing.