Do you prefer an Incubator or a broody hen to hatch chicks? Poll!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PheasantsFirst, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Broody hen

    9 vote(s)
  2. Incubator

    4 vote(s)
  3. I don't have a preference

    2 vote(s)
  1. PheasantsFirst

    PheasantsFirst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2013
    Eastern Washington
    I've seen a lot of threads asking what way is the best or what are some advantages for one over the other. I have not yet seen a thread about which one you prefer. So do you prefer artificial incubation or an old fashioned broody hen? Feel free to include a brief story of an experience that swayed you one way or the other.
  2. PheasantsFirst

    PheasantsFirst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2013
    Eastern Washington
    I love broody hens! They do a great job of hatching and raising the chicks. I've used a hen to hatch pheasants and chickens. For me, the incubators are too picky (at least the cheaper one we have). Once, I had a hen that hatched all her eggs in a soaked, dirty nest, that i didn't expect any chicks to hatch, and they grew up healthy and happy.
  3. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 26, 2012
    Apollo, PA
    Broody hen. They are the cheapest incubators you could ever buy! Only 1-5 dollars as a chick that grows up to be a beautiful hen and mother. That is, if you get a breed prone to broodiness. I feel like incubators are so unnatural and I just love seeing mommy and baby animals.

    I've never hatched with a broody hen, but I just bought a bantam cochin pullet and am excited to use her to hatch some chicks for me come Spring.
    1 person likes this.
  4. boyswithchicks

    boyswithchicks New Egg

    Jan 17, 2013
    I use both because I don't always have a broody available during the early part of the breeding season. I have had great hatches from broody hens and great hatches from incubators. I have had bad hatches from a broody and some not great artificial hatch rates as well.

    I do believe that an experienced broody is a real asset and I also believe that as far as incubators are concerned, you get what you pay for.

    The last hatch from a broody resulted in 10/11 and the last hatch from an incubator was 49/55, both great results.
  5. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    I have to vote for the broody hen too. No obsessing over the temp and humidity, heat lamps, the list goes on. However, I will say the chicks aren't quite as friendly as those I raise as Mama keeps me from coming too close. Still, I love watching the little families and they seem to have a much better hatch rate than me.
  6. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 25, 2008
    Northern KY
    I think making this choice depends on what your goals are. Start from the end and work your way back, and that will tell you what to do.

    Do you want to produce fewer than say, 50 chicks a year, on no specific schedule? Then a broody is probably best for you.

    Do you want to produce chicks to sell on a schedule, 50 per year or more? Then an incubator is likely best. Which one depends on how many chicks, how often you need to hatch, and how much you're willing to spend.

    I went from a broody Silkie, to a small incubator, to a cabinet incubator and a dedicated cabinet hatcher as my numbers grew.
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I'll always use an incubator to hatch out enough birds each spring to cull down to better quality. But, there's nothing better than letting a broody take away all the stress and guess work.
  8. charlesnyaga1

    charlesnyaga1 New Egg

    Nov 15, 2013
  9. Carin

    Carin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2011
    South Africa
    I use a combination. As soon as I have a broody I load the incubator and when they hatch they go to the hen. She does a real good job in learning chicks all sorts of chicken things. I am however just a backyard breeder and at this very moment I have an incubator full of eggs on day 5 and no broody hen yet as I got impatient. As soon as I have a broody hen I will put some of the incubator eggs under her and surprise her with a shorter time on the eggs. I will also only put 6-8 eggs under her and slip all the incubator hatchlings (is that a word?) under her as well

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