Incubator vs Hen Set

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by gutshall, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. gutshall

    gutshall Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    32
    Nov 1, 2008
    I've only ever gotten my chicks from McMurray, but was thinking about possibly hatching a few from the girls I have now. I have a mixed layer flock right now and have no idea who is laying what, but one of the girls is laying huge eggs (goose size) about 3x a week. We thought about letting one of my RIR who likes to set. Set a small clutch. But I've heard bad things can happen if you introduce new chicks to old flocks. Would the chicks be accepted easily if they have a "mommy". Any advise about Incubator vs setting, or introducing new chicks??? Thanks
     
  2. metcalfmk

    metcalfmk Out Of The Brooder

    56
    1
    31
    Apr 3, 2008
    Huntsville, TX
    Hi! One word of warning, when you start incubating, you need a 12 step program to stop!

    I would prefer a broody hen over an incubator, mother nature's way is usually best. You would probably need to try to separate your broody on the nest from the rest of the flock, maybe her own area w/food and water divided by some wire. From my experience, the chicks are usually accepted by the rest of the chickens well, and if you have a good broody hen, she will protect and take care of her babies.

    Good luck![​IMG]
     
  3. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

    663
    6
    141
    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    I am just getting started with chickens so maybe my opinions carries lees weight but.... here goes anyway.

    This spring I'm incubating because I have no choice. I'd prefer a broody. From reading BYC and other sources Broodies tend to be better than any mechanical incubator. Take care of a good broody and she will reward you with healthy chicks. No worries about humidity being too high/too low , temp fluctuations, turning, power outage .. who cares. With this in mind one of the breeds I hatched this spring is Orpingtons. The are known to be good broodies and great (protective) mothers.

    Here's a good link I found on another thread. Let mama do it
     
  4. mandolinmama

    mandolinmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    198
    0
    139
    Apr 13, 2007
    Urbana Missouri
    There's nothing in the world sweeter than watching a Mama hen with her babies. If you could get a broody hen, that would be really awesome. Mama will chase off the other hens from her babies and they get the idea quickly to leave the wee ones alone. Seriously, Mama hens "talk" to their babies and keep them all in check. It's lovely.
     
  5. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,638
    22
    243
    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    It takes a first time broody awhile to learn what to do and how to do it. So there are losses and mistakes but if you let them learn, give them a few tries and don't get discouraged a good broody beats the ...... out of an incubator hands down, even with the occassional loss.

    I had never incubated until this group. Always had broodies. I still prefer a seasoned broody to an incubator. But I do like incubating rare or expensive eggs or having it for emergencies.

    Let them learn. In the long run you won't be sorry. Remember that you didn't live your own life perfectly from start to where you are and that all living things make mistakes and learn. A good momma hen is priceless.
     
  6. fowlmood

    fowlmood Chillin' With My Peeps

    198
    2
    121
    Jan 28, 2009
    northern Michigan
    [​IMG] That was so sweet!!!

    Since you asked, I also agree that letting and watching nature do its thing is always the best option. Good luck:)
     
  7. gutshall

    gutshall Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    32
    Nov 1, 2008
    [​IMG] Thanks so much!!! O'natural is the way we will try. This works better for us so that we don't have to take on 25+ chicks at a time. And the flock should accept them just fine??? At what point do I re-introduce the setter and her chicks to the flock?
     
  8. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    JMO but I have not seperated my broody and babies. When I open the coop door in the morning all other chickens vacate! If one forgets, momma quickly reminds it to skidaddle. The layers are allowed to come in and use the other end of the nest boxes, but if they venture toward her end they get pecked and run. She allows everyone back in for bedtime. I did have to put a feeder outside for the flock. I also have 4 cats and have no worry of them getting anywhere near her. My big dog went into the coop when it was raining yesterday. Momma growled like a german shepard at him and he tucked tail and sneaked out quietly.
     
  9. Kimber

    Kimber Out Of The Brooder

    79
    0
    39
    Jul 23, 2007
    SW Florida
    That is great to know. I've been trying to figure out a way to seperate my 3 broodys.

    I'm gonna just leave them in the main coop this time and see what happens.

    I love going the broody route. I've not done the bator yet.
     
  10. HenHaven

    HenHaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    875
    1
    161
    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    I vote broody all the way. I usually have a separate broody pen, but once the babies are hatched, the door is opened during the day, so mama and babies can mill in and around the others in the flock. Broody mama will protect her babies and I think it is a much easier transition into the flock after mama moves on.

    This is how it has worked for me. There are always horror stories of things gone wrong, but that can happen no matter how you choose to hatch babies and introduce newbies to the existing flock.

    I woudn't trade the heart-warming sight of a mama with chicks for anything! [​IMG] It even turns DH into mush!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by