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broody hen or incubator?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by sarahlee, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. sarahlee

    sarahlee Chirping

    Aug 14, 2013
    I have raised a few layers and last year raised a few meat chickens, all were store bought ckicks. Now my husband and I are looking into a dual purpose chicken and getting into raising chickens "from scratch". I think I'll be going with Bluff Orpingtons. I was wondering, is it best to let the hen lay on the eggs or is it best to put them all in an incubator?? Thanks so much for the help.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Best can be pretty subjective and involve a lot of personal preference. What’s best for me might not be best for you.

    I’m pretty confident a big majority of people on this forum will tell you they prefer a hen to hatch the eggs and raise the chicks. I sure do. A broody usually does better at hatching eggs than we do with an incubator. She also teaches them to act like chickens and handles integration into the flock.

    If you want chickens that are pets, a broody hen will teach the chicks to avoid that big monster, you. You might be better off raising them yourself in a brooder so you can handle them a lot.

    A big problem is that you have no control over when or even if a hen goes broody. Especially if you are raising them for meat, you might not have enough go broody to keep you in meat.

    My main goal is meat. To me eggs are just a pleasant side benefit. As much as I like a broody hen to do the work, I have 22 just-hatched chicks in the incubator right now waiting to move to the brooder tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll do another incubator hatch this year or not. It depends on how many hens I have go broody and how many chicks they raise.
  3. sarahlee

    sarahlee Chirping

    Aug 14, 2013
    Thanks a lot. I know that not all hens will be broody. And that I may have to use an incubator if no one is broody at the time. I just wasn't sure if the chicken was better than the incubator or vice versa. So, you helped a lot. Good luck with the new additions!!
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    There's no real answer to that. The broody could be doing great up until day 19, then abandon the nest... or get eaten by a predator... The incubator could do great up until day 19, then you could have a storm knock out your power for 3 days... or your dog/child/ what ever could knock the incubator over... or the thermostat could go wonky and cook all of your eggs. If I was going to keep a rooster, and a flock, with plans to hatch my own chicks, I'd hedge my bets on both sides of the coin. when a broody started setting, I'd also start some eggs cooking in the bator. Then, if she had a poor hatch, I could slip some extra chicks under her.

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