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incubating costs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by polychickens, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. polychickens

    polychickens In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2007
    I'm considering making my own 'bator like those in threads here to keep costs down.

    Can anyone approximate the cost of buying fertilized eggs and incubating assuming some realistic hatch rates.

    Is this generally cheaper than buying day old sexed chicks from hatcheries?

    Say I want a dozen hens. Is it reasonable to assume I need to actually hatch around 25 to get 12 girls and I probably need to incubate 50 eggs to hatch 25?

    I am trying to come up with some figures. Any help appreciated.
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Depending on the breed, quantity and quality, hatching eggs are more per egg than hatchery day olds. When you consider shipping costs, you typically will pay $2 and up per egg and still may not get any live chicks. Plus you have the costs of building or buying an incubator and the electricity to run it, and your time and energy to turn the eggs, etc. I have an order now for 12 eggs for $25 total, about $2.25 per egg, which is a bargain for eggs. BUT I may not get any live chicks in the end, depending on fertility and my incubating skills, and the roll of the dice.

    With hatchery day olds, you can get sexedchicks for less than $3 with shipping. The shipping is more expensive with day olds than eggs, especially if your order is less than 25 chicks, but if you order 25 or more, the shipping works out to be less than $1 per chick. For example, I ordered 7 day olds and the cost of the chicks was less than $20 total, but the shipping was more than the cost of the chicks. The total order was about $50 and I ended up getting 8 chicks total, my 7 plus a spare (in the gender and breed I had ordered rather than 'males for warmth' - thank you Meyer hatchery) - about $6 per bird, BUT I got healthy, live chicks. If I had ordered 25, my total cost would have been around $75 - only $3 per bird, and again, they would have arrived alive and healthy or I got my money back for any losses.

    PLUS you can get them sexed, so you do not have to deal with the hassle and unpleasantness of culling or rehoming roosters if you can't or don't want any roos. Most hatcheries have a guaranteed 90% sexing rate and will refund money if they don't get it right.

    If you are looking at cost alone, then hatchery day olds are the way to go. You get a sure thing - live, sexed chicks or your money back - and you get them quickly.

    Eggs would be more for you if you want show quality, specific breeds that you can't get at a hatchery, or you are looking for the experience of hatching your own eggs.... OR you have a friend who will give you the fertile eggs for free.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    If you are looking for someone to tell you it is more cost effective to hatch your own than to buy day old chicks I cannot tell you that. People who raise chickens always invest more and reap less on a spread sheet.

    If you build or buy an incubator, buy hatching eggs and devote 21+ days of your life to coddling and pampering them along hoping and praying for a live hatch you have spent more than money, you have invested blood, sweat and tears along with a few bitten nails, a few gray hairs and more than your last nerve.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    AND, you have a new life skill and neat experiences to add to your repertoire as well. Plus, sometimes, you cannot get at a hatchery what you can find in hatching eggs, i.e. rare breeds, better breed examples, etc.
  5. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    the best parts of incubating from my perspective have been:
    1. Finding a "recipe" to make our incubator from a bunch of old junk and spending a whole weekend with my 6 year old son up to our elbows in wires, stryrofoam and lightbulbs and the pride he and I felt when it was finished and working.

    2. The excitement of ordering eggs from a private breeder knowing the quality if likely to be far better than from a hatchery for a given breed.

    3. Being able to get eggs from a breed that are not available at hatcheries.

    4. The thrill of the mail coming with a big package containing your potentially future layers/breeders.

    5. The fun of turning, checking the bator, counting the days with my boy until hatch day.

    6. Learning SOOOO much in the process.

    Yes your hatch rates suck for the most part and yes it makes the chickens you do get expensive but also REALLT precious because you had a direct hand in them being here.

    I have done silkie and polish eggs and am currently hatching our own mutts and next week am setting some of cynthias blue/black ameraucanas and blue orps. Even if only a couple of chicks hatch for the money spent its still a hell of a lot of fun!
  6. redneck

    redneck Songster

    May 25, 2007
    I am very fortunate when it comes to my homemade incubators. I spent very little on them. I was also very lucky to have access to very good eggs. I have hatched more eggs than
    I needed, was lucky to give them away. All in all it has been a great experience for me and my kids. My 7 year old son want his own incubator. Still thinking about that one.
  7. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007
  8. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I still say if cost is the only factor, then order day-olds.

    Of course, if the fun of 'antici....................pation' is a consideration then hatch your own.

    Or alternately you can do what a lot of us here have done - order your first batch of chicks to get started, then expand out into hatching eggs!

  9. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    Quote:Agree 100%

    25 pullet assortment(around 32) + 14 S&H cant touch that ordering eggs, and no roos to get rid of BUT.......
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

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