Hen versus incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Foghorn, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Foghorn

    Foghorn Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    I am curious as to which is more successful. I see many here who use an incubator. I was wondering why. Is it just for timing or is it that no hen is broody?
  2. Ms E

    Ms E In the Brooder

    Jan 11, 2007
    I've never used a 'bator and always use broodies. This summer my hatch % was relatively lower than prior years. I think it's the guys fault.

  3. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    Many of us order eggs from other breeders to keep the bloodlines more open. Many times the timing isn't right and no one is broody. If I have a broody that doesn't have any eggs I put the shipped eggs under the hen, she does a better job than my little incubator.
  4. raysflock

    raysflock In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2007
    newfoundland, canada
    I bought a incubator a little over a year ago, because I had no broody hens. I am saving eggs now and intend to start up the incubator on the 21th of feb. I have a hova bator with the automatic egg turner, that holds 42 eggs. may only put 30 eggs in this time around. I have 17 hens and one rooster so I am expecting about a 50% fertility rate. wish me luck
  5. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I have an incubator to do the job when I don't have a broody and I want some chicks. With the way my girls are setting now, I don't really need to use the incubator. I have about 35 eggs in mine right now but two more girls have gone broody. I will make sure they are really set with some duds under them and then switch some of the eggs that are in the incubator over to the hens. They do a much better job of hatching than most of the small incubators around. Watching a mama raise the babies is so much fun but having a brooder full is fun too and the chicks are usualy a little more tame when they are raised by a person.

    Incubators also work well if you want a large number of new chicks at the same time. You would need several chickens to sit in order to get your 40+ egg hatch.
  6. ncboman

    ncboman In the Brooder

    Feb 14, 2007
    A dog cleaned my flock out about 2 yrs ago and I've been letting my chickenyard go fallow since then to naturally clean out and rejuvinate since it had held various birds for over ten years.

    This spring I'll start with some dayold chicks from Marti's and I'll probably put some select ebay eggs in my hovabator also just for fun. I much prefer broody hens but must play the hand I have at present.

    We've had very good success(80%+) hatching quail in the hovabator over the years so it works but nothing better than a caring hen to hatch and raise the peeps.

    When I was a boy we had no incubator but my dad hatched hundreds of quail by setting bantams on the quail eggs. We had quail all over the yard in those days and that's my plan for next year. [​IMG]

    Overall, dayold chicks from a hatchery are the most certain and I'd rate a broody hen next, but the incubator is almost as good given it gets daily attention. The BIG advantage in using a broody hen is the work she saves caring for the peeps and of course the pleasure of watching the natural order of things. [​IMG]
  7. Anne

    Anne Songster

    Feb 11, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I use both broody hens and incubators. I prefer broodies (usually get a higher hatch % and take care of the chicks themselves), but incubators have the advantage as far as timing and # of eggs are concerned. Plus I really enjoy watching the eggs hatch. [​IMG]
  8. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    I use both, but my broodies are stubborn hens and won't let me move them, so eggs get stepped on and chicks can too. I use the bater when I want a large amount of chicks to hatch at the same time and also 'cause I like seeing the chicks develop and hatch. Much easier to do inside than to tromp out to the chicken pen several times/day and getting pecked.[​IMG]
  9. Foghorn

    Foghorn Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Thanks for all the replies. I have purchased an incubator and will try my luck at that. This has got to be one of the most addicting "hobbies" I have taken on. Now I need to find some eggs for hatching. Where are all those free "experimental" offers I saw a while back? [​IMG]
  10. thechickenfarmer

    thechickenfarmer Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Hey Foghorn,
    I agree this is the most addicting habit, and I have a few. Right now I have my Barred rocks and Buff Orps together in a coop with a Buff Orp rooster. If you're not fussy about pure breeds you're welcome to some eggs. I haven't bought an incubator yet (and it's killing me) becauce I don't have room to separate them. I'd love to get a barred rock rooster because I'm really partial to that breed. My salmon faveroles aren't laying yet (and they are separated) but when that happens that will be cause for me to get a incubator. I can't say enough about how great my Faverolles are! If you don't have some, or even if you do I'd be glad to share them after the laying begins......They're 4 1/2 months old now but I'm not sure how long you have to wait to hatch. I'll look it up but I think I read at least six weeks after they start laying. Anyway, it's something to look forward to. This hobby is testing my patience which is hard but a good thing. [​IMG] Jen

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