G'day everyone, Thanks to all who have placed information on this site.
I see that there is a fair bit of info on incubators, which is the way to go if you have a lot of chicks to hatch out but we have been using Bantum chooks to do the job.
I haven't looked at everything on this site yet and I apologise if someone else has put this information on this site already.
The reason we use Bantums is that the Sussex and Australorp chooks that we have don't always sit properly and get off the eggs to soon or long etc. So we use Bantums and that can be any sort of Bantum, silkies are probably the best but just about any will do the trick.
The reason is that they are just the best mothers they will sit even if you have golf balls in the egg box, we use the golf ball method if we remove a bantum egg and replace it with a golf ball till we have enough Sussex, etc, eggs to put under her.
We normally put 10 eggs under her at a time, although where we live it is always 30 to 35 deg C. or 86 to 95 deg F. so she doesn't need to cover the chicks to well to keep them warm. but in a cooler climate she will cover 6 chicks easily and keep them snug as a bug.
The other good thing is that they teach the chicks all the good things to eat in the garden and make them aware of dangers. I have a great deal of hawks in my area so I is important that they come quickly to mum and hide under the bushes when she calls.
We have even used a Bantum to rear 1 day old chicks that are not her own. We do this if we want a breed of chook EG an egg layers such as the Isa Brown chook and then we buy a few day olds at the feed store.
It is important to stress to importance of the chicks being day olds we have done 3 day olds and have success with this but after 3 days she will bond with them but the bond of the chicks with mum is not very strong. I have seen mum calling at the chicks and the chicks just ignoring her.
Just put the chicks under her at night and swap them over for the golf balls she was sitting on. And in the morning all will be well.
Bantums can also hatch ducks ouy as my wife found out when she was a young lass . when the duck wouldn't sit on the eggs she put then under the bantum to hatch out, she did a great job although this was a bit cruel for mum because as soon as they saw the water bowl they began to have a swim much to mums frantic calling, poor mum thought that they were going to drown!
I hope that my little bit of info adds to the wealth of this site.