can you hatch without an incubator?


5 Years
Nov 9, 2015
My rooster is about to reach maturity, and I would like to have some fertile eggs at some point. Not necessarily to sell, more just to keep up egg production. I'm really trying to raise my flock to be used to the bare necessities. I know that some people on here view chicks as pets. And while I am partial to my OG's (old girls), I really want to homestead someday. With that being the ultimate goal for my family and I, I'd really like to hatch eggs without an incubator. Has anyone had success with that? I mean, that's the way it was done 100 years ago. But I've not heard much about just letting nature take its course. Is it better with certain breeds? Should I own at least one broody hen who can handle all fertilized eggs? Any ideas?


Apr 17, 2015
Long Beach, WA
A good broody is handy to have. But not all hens that go broody make good mothers. And a broody hen (depending on her size, and depending on the size of the eggs) can only hatch about 6 to 10 eggs at a time. And hens only go broody once or twice a year. So you are limited to how many birds you can raise each year, and about half of them will be male (although some clutches could be mostly male or mostly female).

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Many folks expand their flocks with the use of 1 or more broody hens. It all depends on how many chicks you want at a time, how particular you are about WHEN you get those chicks, and of course whether your hens cooperate with your desire. IMO, it's good to allow a broody to do her thing if you have the space and are set up to manage a broody and her clutch in the method that matches your husbandry style, but have an incubator for back up. That way, if broody is unsuccessful, you can move egglets into bator. Or you could set eggs in the bator at the same time your broody starts brooding. Then, if she is unsuccessful, or has a poor hatch, you could foster bator chicks to her. And if she abandons her chicks, you can move them in with your bator chicks and brood a nice sized group of chicks artificially. You might want to look at this article: Also, you can build a good bator for about $25, with thermostat, fan, and scavenged materials.

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