Day-Old Chicks vs. Hatching Egg? I need to choose before time runs out


9 Years
Aug 26, 2010
We are quite new and have found BYC invaluable as we journey into the world of chicken keeping. But now I need your opinions since googling "what should I do?" has proven unhelpful.

We have a small flock of 6 young easter eggers hens (hopefully!) who are 6 weeks old. This is our first personal flock, but we do have some chicken experience. They have been a great joy and moved effortlessly into their coop outside. I have assessed the situation and decided we should acquire 3 Silkies to better fill up the oversized coop (that's what I will tell DH!).

So the question is: Day old Chicks or Hatching Eggs?

Some factors to consider:
We got our EEs from a large reputable hatchery, so we have experience for the Day-olds.
This is a little pet project for myself and 12yo dd (we have excitedly looked at silkie photos)
Our village does NOT allow roos, but I am confident I can find homes (or soup pots) for roos
We would again be getting "sexed" Day-olds from a reputable large hatchery, understanding there is a higher possibility for sexing errors

I started to think about hatching when I found the Brinsea Advance Mini.
And then because SO MANY people find it amazing and addictive...but why? Are there other advantages to hatching your own?
And THEN I started to crave a higher quality silkie (and then I started to become more specific about types and colors...) more readily available in egg form.
I love the idea of a new experience, but turned off at the idea of a $200 experiment and nothing to show for it.
I realize that hatching process is unpredictable in many ways...and the possibility of roos is what steered me away.
Now reading and understanding more and more that sexing bantam silkie chicks is so tricky, Why pay extra for it when I can just make that mistake on my own for "free" (free of course seems to be relative when talking chicken:)

Even typing this out I see I am obviously leaning towards the less predictable and more expensive choice of hatching eggs.

I turn to you experienced chicken lovers...What are your opinions? IS there an obvious choice here? Am I missing some of the more subtle pros or cons?

I really hope to hear some thoughts on this issue! I am ready to go but the clock is ticking! I don't want to wait a full year for silkies! (I prefer Fall chicks)
Nothing wrong with any of those. Depends on if you want to buy an incubator and then hatching eggs. and let them sit for 21 days. Or if you want to have the experience right away then go for day old chicks, Nothing is cooler than getting a call from your post office saying your chicks are here
then you walk into the post office and hear this peep peep/

Or hatching eggs and watching them hatch and then they imprint on you and think that you are the momma. Not trying to be a downer either but there are alot of risks with either decision Not trying to sugar coat it. But sometimes a chick wont make it cause something is wrong. or eggs wont hatch or you get a egg that isnt fertile. Or a chick will hatch but wont make it cause its so darn tired. Also you gotta be careful now where you get your eggs alot of people here lately have been getting burnt on websites where they buy hatching eggs. Some people will pay for the eggs or incubator and not get these things. Not trying to be a downer just tired of seeing people get bent over a barrel.

Me personally I will go thru a hatchery now if I want hatching eggs. I have 15 chickens two roosters and 13 hens all different breeds though. And right now I have 7 blue silkie eggs, 8 Crested blue & splash polish eggs. 3 crele old english and then three from my hen Peachy shes a Australorp and the rooster with her is a dark cornish Bantam. Also it depends on if you just want all hens then I would order pullets( hens younger than 1 year old) from a hatchery. Cause you never know what you are going to get when it comes to eggs.

I recommend for you Sex links they are a cross breed of two good breeds. But it might be too late to order pullets now from a hatchery.. Hope this helps a little bit. Might have to wait tell spring if you want day old chicks.
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If your thinking on getting silkies, they cannot be sexed. And this time of year I would go with the day olds. That way the will be a littel bigger when the really cold weather hits.
I think I may be the poster child for jumping full body into incubating without a whole lot of planning. The only decision-making involved in my case lately has been "YES!" - the little Devil Linda on my shoulder has kicked Angel Linda totally out of the picture.

I currently have 8 - yes, eight - Brinsea model incubators full of eggs in my guest room. One is actually an R-COM (some Korean subsidiary of Brinsea) and only holds 3 eggs, but then there are 2 Brinsea Mini Advance, 2 Brinsea Mini Advance EX, 3 Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance EX incubators set up. (I got the third Octagon earlier this week.)

The ORIGINAL plan was to get a small, fool-proof incubator so I would NOT go hog-wild with incubating eggs.
That was the first Mini Advance. When the first chick made its way out of the first egg to hatch, I was hooked. How about another one so I could hatch 7 more eggs of a different breed? Oh.. wait.... there's some eggs of THIS breed available right now, too! And so on, and so forth. I just don't want to deal with staggered hatches in the same incubator - I do need simplicity. Brinseas are nearly fool-proof and the EX models are STUPID proof. Fits me!

At this point, I'm actually, slightly relieved when not all eggs in a particular incubator hatch... but in reality, I still think I'm gonna do something wrong and eggs won't hatch because I've screwed up somehow. I consider it successful if ONE egg hatches successfully, because each one is a little chicky, a new little life. From something I could just as easily have cracked and scrambled for breffus 21 days earlier. Amazing, simply awesome in the original sense of that word: Inspiring awe, admiration or wonder.

Hatching is akin to buying straight run chicks, in that you never know whatcha gonna get. I stopped buying straight run bantam chicks due to the cockerels I kept getting. Now I've hatched some bantam AND large fowl breeds and I've gotten the inevitable cockerels. But.. they's MINE. MINE, I tell you, MINE MINE MINE. I did it. Me and my trusty Brinseas.

And what's so bad about having a few chicks brooding inside in the winter, I ask? Dust? Bother? Consider how nifty it is to huddle around a brooder in the colder weather, loving on some chicks? You won't have to wait until SUMMER to get eggs from the pullets you hatch.

Go for incubating and hatching. But for your situation, do start out with a Brinsea Mini Advance or Mini Advance EX incubator. Only hold 7 eggs. They are still on sale on-line at the Brinsea web-site.
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On the other hand, I have never owned an incubator, and don't want one. I would much rather watch broodies set and hatch and mother their babies. And if you have Silkies, you will have broodies. Almost 100% guaranteed.

Personal choice.

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