Originally Posted by cbookout
@AmyLynn2374 So in your opinion do you think hatching via a broody is a safer method (for the chicks) than artificial incubation? Seems to be a recurring theme on BYC that the chance for human or equipment error during artificial incubation can result in a very high death rate. If not raising chicks for profit, is it best to let "nature take its course"?
Totally a personal preference and depends on your success. I personally don't like having broodies and would rather incubate myself. With the exception of my botched first incubation, I do not have a high death rate. As a matter of fact, I have only had 3 after hatch deaths in total. One from a chick who for some reason, hatched too soon. Only 4 hours after pip he literally busted out of the tip top of the egg and still had a functional egg to chick vascular system and unabsorbed yolk which was ruptured. He died within hours of hatching. My second had digestive problems and died 9 days after hatch and the third is a mystery. I had a beautiful big, chick just over a week old found her flattened in the brooder. There were 33 hatched in that hatch and I can only assume that something spooked them, vacuuming or something and they rushed to one end taking that one down in a trample.
I have never lost a chick during pip or zip. I haven't had to deal with leg/foot problems other than my sole survivor of my botched hatch. Don't usually have navel/yolk problems either.
My second broody hatch momma wasn't good with new hatchers and w/in 24 hours was out in the run, (in mid October) digging. One chick was missing and the other was trying to get under her and she kept kicking him as she was scratching. I ended up raising him inside for the winter. So you can have broodies that aren't that great too. My first broody- my bantam, was an awesome momma. The one good thing about raising by broody is the flock more or less accepts the presence of the chicks and you don't have to integrate them, which is a big pain. But at the same time, you have a better chance of hand raised being friendlier and more personable.
It all depends on what your goal is and how well you find what works for you if you incubate artificially. I had one major bad hatch before I figured things out, but I've seen hatchers have 3 bad hatches and lots of DIS chicks because they hadn't figured out what works.