broody vs. incubator

wleigh1021

Songster
5 Years
Jan 16, 2016
302
521
201
New Jersey
Sorry, I'm sure this topic has been done to death but I'm stuck and can't decide what to do and hoping to get some honest opinions.

I am a 2nd year backyard chicken owner. I just gave my flock to a good home and ordered new baby chicks coming in a couple of months. I have never owned chicks before, but I do hope to breed this new flock one day for personal dual purpose use. I can't decide to invest in an incubator or a broody hen.

I have found someone who has broody silkies that are 1 yr old and have experience with hatching, raising, and living with chicks. Unfortunately, that would be a 6 hr day trip to go get one, but it may be worth it! I was hoping to get one about a month ahead of the chicks and try to persuade her to sit on some fake eggs and hopefully adopt my chicks when they come. If she doesn't all is not lost if she hatches and raises chicks for me in the future (this breed is known to not go broody).

Downsides are that a broody hen may be less reliable in nest or chick commitment, may not be broody when I want to hatch, and she'll take up space in a limited size coop.

Upsides are that it would be less expensive, less time consuming for me, I don't risk getting attached to table birds as much, and I get to watch a momma and babies which is so cute!

Honest opinions and sharing of experiences please!! TIA
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
You are not going to "make" a hen go broody---when you get ready, but encouraging them some times does work. What breed of chickens are you getting---some breeds go broody?? If I was going to buy a hen to set with---I would for Sure find me some Old English game hens. But Silkies will set and I have had a lot of them to have good hatches that I moved to private hatching pens---a lot better than the hatches they had if left with the flock. All my broodies are moved to private hatching pens---no matter what the breed is. They all do great that way.

I do use the brooders a lot and have a lot better luck with them than with the broodies after I allow the broodies with the chicks out the hatching pens.

I do not mix young chicks with the older---They have their own Pens. The older are usually gone in time then the younger chicks become the older and more baby chicks are added----keeps a great cycle going with no marking or trying to figure out who is older or having problems when trying to put them together----which as I said---I never do.
 

wleigh1021

Songster
5 Years
Jan 16, 2016
302
521
201
New Jersey
Thanks riverman! I am getting Niederrheiners which is partially why I wanted a silkie because the Niederrheiners are very docile and I don't want them getting picked on. They're also very expensive which is why I am trying to figure out the safest way to keep them alive haha.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
Thanks riverman! I am getting Niederrheiners which is partially why I wanted a silkie because the Niederrheiners are very docile and I don't want them getting picked on. They're also very expensive which is why I am trying to figure out the safest way to keep them alive haha.
I see----If I only wanted a few hatched--I would use a broody, but I usually have a lot of broody hens---maybe 25 or 30 hens that will go broody a lot. Expensive chicks I would probably brood in a brooder because of things happening to chicks that are with their mother---predators, snakes, rats, etc. I do have some pretty secure hatching pens where the broody raises her chicks until they are big enough to be on their own. I rarely loose one in these pens. 1/2" hardware cloth, etc.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,772
32,609
1,092
On the MN prairie.
You've already mentioned the pros and cons of broody vs. incubator.
Broody is set to perfect temperature and humidity, but you can't count on her to hatch on your schedule. Brooder-raised chicks probably do stand a better chance of survival, over being out free ranging with a hen.

From what I've read, PD appears to have a lot of experience with different settings. I'd take his advice under consideration.
 

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