Hen vs Incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Hotwings, May 21, 2007.

  1. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    Freebie and I have never tried a incubator and she just had her first chick hatched with a hen a couple of weeks ago. Her aurtralorp has gone broody big time and is setting on eggs and a bantam hen may have also gone broody. She has a pretty good maternity ward going on lol. In my opinion I prefer the hen way. I have read to many horror stories on incubators here. I know many have breeds that don't set and they have to resort to one. I just feel having the hen doing is better, less time consuming and healthier, plus seeing the relationship between a hen and her chick is priceless.
  2. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    I agree. I think any future chicks I hatch will come from under a hen. I just wonder how you can get to handle the chicks when they are with the parents. Do you try to seperate them and pet the chicks to get them use to you? I have three OEGB chicks that are in with mom and dad and he is being very protective. I don't want him to get ugly so I have just left them be but I want to pet the chicks so that they are friendly. I am just going to have to get him away from them temporarily I guess.

  3. Freebie

    Freebie Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    Last night, my daughter wanted to hold the baby. I told her to be careful, because Buffy might not like it and she would get it if Buffy was not happy. But the chick just peeped away, and Buffy just looked at my daughter and did not do anything. She made a few little noises, but nothing like she does when the pullets or cats come around the baby.
  4. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Songster

    I agree, it's definitely much easier and more natural with a broody, but it's also more difficult to build a relationship with the chicks. Also, our broody decided to stop raising her chicks when they were about 4 weeks old, so we ended up having to do it anyway. It was really hard because the chicks weren't very attached to us.

    I guess there are pros and cons to each, but the goal is happy, healthy chicks. For me, I want my chicks very tame, which makes health care, etc much easier, but also increases the enjoyment of owning chickens.

  5. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    I have 4 chicks that are about a week old in the inside brooder and the chicks that are with mom are about 2 weeks but are banties so are the same size. If I took the chicks and brought them inside could I put them with my chicks. I don't know that I will do that, just curious. I want them to be tame and easy to handle. I don't see my roo letting that happen. At this age would it be simple to combine them, rather than wait til they are older? I have (5) 4 week old chicks that I am alread going to have to integrate with these at some point, would make it easier to have one integration and not two. I think most of the OEGB's will be sold including the adult roo, but I want them to be friendly to the new owner. Any suggestions? Would you leave them with mom? Thanks

  6. Freebie

    Freebie Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    If you want them to be friendly to you, I would say definately take the chicks. I don't have any personal experience with this, but I have heard that hen raised babies are more standofish than brooder raised. I have not taken my baby away, mainly because she is the only one and I think she would be way to lonely by herself.
  7. NewHopePoultry

    NewHopePoultry Crowing

    Apr 9, 2007
    My broody hen hatched out 13 babies a few weeks ago. I left the chicks with her, they seem to be doing fine. The hen won't let me near the babies, but I'm ok with that. They will run up to me when I enter the coop, but the mom then calls them away.
  8. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    I went out there to feed them yesterday and I thought I would try getting the roo out of the coop/tractor and then trying to get near the babies, but the roo attacked us and would not let us in the coop at all. So DH finally got a clothes basket and put over him, He was not happy, but I did not want anyone hurt, us or the roo. We tried to check the babies and mom went crazy trying to peck and puffing up and so on. They are just not very tame and I am afraid if I leave the chicks with them, that is the way they will be as well. So I managed to get the chicks, no easy task, and took them inside. I put them in with the younger silkies that are still a head taller than them. All is well. They cheeped for a while for mama, but seem to be fine now. I have been handling them and trying to get them more use to us since this is their first human contact. I know it sounds cruel to take the babies but I want them to have good personalities so that they dont eventually end up in someones soup pot. You know? Mom and dad will be rehomed and the babies probably will too. I may keep one pullet, but don't know if I have one yet. Anyway, thanks for the advice, and sorry to hijack the thread.

  9. claraserena

    claraserena Songster

    Mar 5, 2007
    We have bought day olds from McMurray and they were great--yes very friendly. ONe o f those went broody this spring and we brought her in the house and she hatched out 5. Because they were in the house (cold outside) we got to observe a lot. There is is no comparison between this group of mom-raised chicks and the ones without moms. TO me it is like a bunch of orphans in day care vs. nature's way. The chicks peep much less, there has been NO pecking between them--they are just precious. Yes, they are a little stand offish but I spend time making them friendly--they eat corn out of my hand--I hold them. PLease, if you have a choice, let them be raised by the broody.
  10. michellerene

    michellerene Songster

    Apr 23, 2007
    Graham, WA
    I have NO experience with this, but I'm just wondering if the hen raised chicks would eventually warm up if all the other hens are friendly & not afraid of you. It might take some time, but it seems like they would.

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