WallyBirdie

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
854
1,867
266
I wasn't sure if this went with Hatching or Raising chicks, so please bear with me if this thread is wrongly placed.

My turkens have never successfully hatched eggs before, so any addition to the flock was purchased as day-old chicks.

My girl was broody and my roo was rather twitterpated this summer. Finally hatched some eggs! 5 so far and more in the nest!

They're all different colors:
Black, white, striped, silver, and gold.

I know turkens come in a variety of colors. Can't wait to see what comes next. One looks a little small, possibly premature but seems healthy. It's eating and drinking and gaining stability in its movenents. Apart from that one, they all seem healthier and stronger than the ones I've gotten in the past. Absolutely no fear or notable stress. It's wonderful.

I'm curious on everyone's thoughts and experiences. Is it better to hatch at home than it is to purchase?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,970
22,412
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Southeast Louisiana
It purely depends on your goals, set-up, and other conditions. If you are not allowed to have a rooster it makes hatching a bit more challenging. If a hen doesn't go broody you need an incubator. When you hatch you don't know how many eggs will hatch or what sex they will be. What will you do with the chicks, especially the males. Many people really enjoy watching a broody hen with her chicks, but even using an incubator and brooding them yourself can be an educational opportunity if you have kids. Lots of fun and opportunity in hatching your own but also more unknowns.

If you buy chicks you have a lot more control over what you get. You can experiment with different breeds if you wish. You avoid some stress from waiting for them to hatch. As much as I enjoy hatching with broody hens and my incubator some find that really stressful.

Be a little careful about comparing health of chicks that just went through the stress of being shipped with chicks that are in the process of being hatched. Wait a couple of weeks so you are closer to apples to apples. Even then chicks out roaming with a broody have more opportunity to look healthy than chicks confined to a brooder.

Another thing. Chicks with a broody are exposed to what the hen has to offer. They can start working immediately on flock immunities so their immune system is strengthened. They get any probiotics the hen passes on. And they get grit in their system from the start if the hen is allowed to take them on the ground. Brooder-raised chicks don't get these advantages unless you feed them a little dirt from the run where the adults hang out. That's why I feed my brooder-raised chicks dirt from the main run, starting on the second day they are in the brooder. Some of the things are more from how you manage them than whether they are broody or incubator hatched.

Don't let me rain too hard on your parade. It is an exciting time and it sounds like you have been looking forward to this moment. Here's hoping several more hatch and they are all healthy. When you safely can, post some photos. We love photos, especially of chicks.
 

WallyBirdie

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
854
1,867
266
It purely depends on your goals, set-up, and other conditions. If you are not allowed to have a rooster it makes hatching a bit more challenging. If a hen doesn't go broody you need an incubator. When you hatch you don't know how many eggs will hatch or what sex they will be. What will you do with the chicks, especially the males. Many people really enjoy watching a broody hen with her chicks, but even using an incubator and brooding them yourself can be an educational opportunity if you have kids. Lots of fun and opportunity in hatching your own but also more unknowns.

If you buy chicks you have a lot more control over what you get. You can experiment with different breeds if you wish. You avoid some stress from waiting for them to hatch. As much as I enjoy hatching with broody hens and my incubator some find that really stressful.

Be a little careful about comparing health of chicks that just went through the stress of being shipped with chicks that are in the process of being hatched. Wait a couple of weeks so you are closer to apples to apples. Even then chicks out roaming with a broody have more opportunity to look healthy than chicks confined to a brooder.

Another thing. Chicks with a broody are exposed to what the hen has to offer. They can start working immediately on flock immunities so their immune system is strengthened. They get any probiotics the hen passes on. And they get grit in their system from the start if the hen is allowed to take them on the ground. Brooder-raised chicks don't get these advantages unless you feed them a little dirt from the run where the adults hang out. That's why I feed my brooder-raised chicks dirt from the main run, starting on the second day they are in the brooder. Some of the things are more from how you manage them than whether they are broody or incubator hatched.

Don't let me rain too hard on your parade. It is an exciting time and it sounds like you have been looking forward to this moment. Here's hoping several more hatch and they are all healthy. When you safely can, post some photos. We love photos, especially of chicks.

Thank you for the very informative reply.
Perhaps I was quick to judge partly due to excitement.
But the chicks I've purchased in the past were generally stressed, fearful, and some were even sick.
I figure, having them hatch here eliminates some of their stress. I'm not personally stressed over any of this. I raise chickens as a hobby because I love them. I don't even eat eggs (I give them away.)
So, really, this just fun and exciting.

I'm curious of how chicks are effected, whether they're hatched via mother hen, incubator, or purchased.
Pros and cons. You've listed some and it's very interesting to read. I especially like what you said about the dirt from the run. I know about grit but taking it straight from the run is something I never considered. Thank you so much for your insight!
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
9,947
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SW MO
I would rather have mama hen raise the babies, if possible! No more setting up/cleaning a brooder, integrating etc. She'll do it all. I think they have a fuller, richer childhood and grow up more well rounded and educated in all things chicken. So I vote for hatching. Our first hen-hatched youngsters are now 2 months old, and I hope never to have to go back to brooding chicks myself.
 

igorsMistress

Frank and Abbys mom.
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Apr 9, 2013
23,611
124,857
1,632
My Coop
My Coop
Ridgerunner x 2. I have hatched in an incubator and also had a broody once. The broody experience was far more appealing, super fun to watch a mama with her chicks. I do enjoy watching them hatch as well though.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
11,504
707
Salisbury, North Carolina
I have had mama hens who did such a bad job that it was more work keeping her brood out of danger than it was brooding my own. I have also had mama hens who stuck with their kids and kept them safe and I never had a concern. Alls I know is that when my Old English Game bantams go broody I am taking their kids from them and putting them in the brooder before mama birds take them some place where they can drown.
The best benefit to selecting your own hatching eggs is that you can make the mix breed of your choice if you have the parent stock you want already. I like making my hybrids and experimenting to see what mixes make a better meat or egg chicken. as @Ridgerunner said, it all depends on your goals. I only buy chicks when they are available locally and I want a new breed to tinker with. Sometimes I will hatchery order something if I can't get it elsewhere.
 

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