When you buy 'fertile eggs' for hatching via ebay, you as the buyer are taking a risk. Although this sounds negative, it isn't. Most sellers are offering 6 eggs for hatching. Sellers cannot guarantee that the eggs will be fertile as mother nature, not the seller has to play a hand in this. They could have the best cockerel in the world running with their hens but this is still no guarantee that he has fertilised all the eggs layed. It really is pure chance and not the fault of the sellers. However, some good breeders will offer a refund or replacement if the eggs they send you are all 'blanks' i.e. when candled they have no perceptable embryo. There are other sellers who will not offer a refund under any circusmtances. This is not to say that they are 'bad sellers' - perhaps they just do not have enough stock to replace eggs. Remember, it is a case of 'buyer BE AWARE rather than 'buyer beware. One word of warning, if you do buy eggs, please ask before you buy if the seller uses 'poly boxes' as these are the safest way of transporting eggs. Ordinary eggs boxes are not strong enough and neither are they insulated no matter how much 'cotton wool' is packed around them.
Sellers should give as much information as they are able about the breed on their listing. There should be some clear pictures of their own chickens i.e. their cockerel, their hen and what the hatched chickes should look like. If the listing has only pictures of an 'egg' or a 'chick' and nothing about the breed or type of chicken then do some more research if you want to buy from this person. Check their feedback. It has been known for some wily characters to sell 'duff' eggs (from the supermarket) as hatching eggs in order to make money. However, you try and prove it!! (Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware!)
Scondly, when fertile eggs are sent through the post, no matter how well they are packed by the seller, the seller cannot be held responsible for the 'chaps' (male and female) at the local sorting office. The seller can stick great big 'FRAGILE' signs all over the poly box and sadly there are some parcel handlers who take not a blind bit of notice and will think nothing of throwing boxes onto a conveyor belt. This is NOT the fault of the seller! This can also have an effect on hatching rate. Again, not the fault of the genuine seller.
So your eggs arrive hopefully with 24 to 48 hrs of your winning bid. Once they arrive, open the box and check immediately for any damage. If there is a cracked egg, remove it immediately. The eggs should be relatively clean and not covered in chicken poo. If they are covered in poo, DO NOT WASH. This can harm the shell. You could take the matter up with the seller but you are unlikely to get much satisfaction. A seller who sends out dirty eggs is creating a health hazzard and you may just have to put the eggs to one side and give them up as a lost cause (you are unlilely to receive a refund). Do not try to hatch them in an incubator with other eggs as you are really asking for problems unless you know exactly what you are doing. Just don't buy from the seller again.
So, you have checked your eggs, incubator is ready - now what? The eggs will feel very cold but don't get too anxious. Store your eggs pointy end down in the poly box and LEAVE ALONE for 12-24 hours. Do not turn incubator off either! Once the time period has epassed, place your eggs in your incubator, as per your incubator instructions. 21 days later you may have 1-3 chicks out of 6 eggs. If you are exceptionally lucky, you will have 5-6.
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT THE SELLER, ASK QUESTIONS. IF THEY ARE EVASIVE OR NON-COMMUNICATIVE - THEN DON'T BUY! A REPUTABLE SELLER WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS HONESTLY AND ALSO BE ABLE TO TELL YOU MORE ABOUT THE BREED OF CHICKEN YOU ARE HOPING TO RAISE. THEY USUALLY HAVE PHOTOGRAPHS ON THEIR LISTING - NBamateur photos look more genuine than the 'professional ones' which anyone can access on photobucket! Good luck.