Incubator vs Broody

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Brechin, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Brechin

    Brechin Songster

    Nov 14, 2012
    East Bay, CA
    Hi, I am new to raising chickens, but I have spent years doing research and waiting for my chance to have my own backyard flock. Well now I have a few chickens and I am ready to add more to my flock. I wanted to hatch eggs, probably 4-6 maybe once a year. I always prefer to do things naturally and I thought perhaps letting a broody hatch and rear a clutch for me would be best.

    I also know that incubators allow me the opportunity to keep an eye on things and will also allow me to start handling the birds and possibly be seen as "momma". I want friendly hens that wont peck at my toddlers when they are in the yard and might also like being held and hand fed.

    Can these things still be accomplished when using a broody hen to hatch a clutch? Will a broody let me go near her newly hatched babies? Any input on pros and cons regarding broody vs incubator would be greatly appreciated. I plan to start hatching in January of 2013 so I would like to make a decision soon.


  2. Chefswifey

    Chefswifey In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2012
    Spokane, WA

    A broody hen is easiest! As long as mama is friendly and doesn't peck you when you reach under her for eggs she will also allow you to handle her babies... When they chirp from you holding them she might get anxious but shouldn't do anything except puff up about it :)... Tame them by allowing them to eat out of your hand... Mama will show them how to do it and they won't be shy as long as you keep Up with it :)... Not being able to see eggs under mom isn't much of a problem because you can always slip one out (to candle it) at a time... Also, mama hen clucking will help motivate babies to hatch... Much higher hatch rate then any incubator! :)... Good luck with the broody thing! It's the cutest thing to watch EVER!! I've got pics under my profile if you're interested :)
  3. Countrypunk92

    Countrypunk92 Songster

    May 26, 2009
    Portland, tennessee
    Hello, [​IMG]

    I have hatched throught both, Broodies and Incubator. I have never really seen a broody hen hurt anyone.. But have had them peck me. But it wasnt anything to bad. But Broody is deff. The way to go. They know exactly what to do. But if you are wanting to hatch more then lets say, 15, then incubator is best. They do not go broody upon demand So if you are buying eggs, you will have to either wait until one goes broody to buy them, or get an incubator.

    You can take the babies away from the mother after they hatch and put them in a brooder if you would like to socialize them. As most times they are a little more wild when raised completely with the broody hen.
    Also the whole time the hen is incubating, hatching, and raising the chicks, she will not lay eggs. so that is another thing to think about.

    Good luck with either method you choose.
  4. cochins1088

    cochins1088 Songster

    Jul 17, 2012
    Southern Minnesota
    I'm currently writing my 7 + research paper as a comparison between an incubator and a broody hen. I found that it depends on the situation as far as which is better. A few of the pros of the incubator such as hatching a greater number of eggs won't affect you since you only plan on hatching 4 to 6 eggs. I think that you would be better off with a broody if you have one. They go broody when they want to, not when you decide you want to hacth some chicks.

    As far as socializing, I have a few things from experience. When I hatch with my incubator, I keep the chicks in my bedroom for the first 3 weeks and they get constant attention, though many of them tend to be more scared than friendly. I let hens hatch, they raise the chicks (hens can go into a depression if you take away their chicks). I noticed that they feel confident and safe around mommy and will come to me out of curosity knowing that if I try anything, mother will protect them. I started giving them treats at 3 weeks since they had already fround grit and they adored me. In fact they would follow me around more than there own mother, hahaha. So as long as you do in fact socialize them, I don't think it makes too much of a difference between incubating them, or mother raise them (unless you end up with a mean hen).

    I would also like to mention that the incubation process is a great experience and to actually be able to watch the baby chicks emerge from their shells and be able to say, I did that. Is pretty cool in it's self.

    Good Luck with whatever you decide!

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