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Pros and Cons of letting hen hatch own chicks?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by stephensc7146, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. stephensc7146

    stephensc7146 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2012
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    A lot of people use incubation as a way to hatch their chicks, but that could turn out being a lot of effort!
    What are some pros and cons about letting hens hatch their own chicks?
     
  2. Jenny28

    Jenny28 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2011
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    When hens hatch their own chicks, they mother them! That is the biggest pro there is. Nothing wrong what-so-ever with incubation, but, no having to set up a brood box, or use a heat lamp, change shavings, etc, etc is a great thing. [​IMG] They keep them warm and safe from the other chickens(or roos), and you don't have the issue of having to introduce them to the flock, because they will be born there.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. de kippendame

    de kippendame Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2011
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    I agree w/ the previous post! This is our first go with hatching eggs and we're letting our broody do it. We are looking to hatch out this weekend so I don't have any pros/cons as far as mothering yet, but if she does as good a job as she's doing right now, we will have nothing to worry about! She is doing great! Such a sweetheart too! I've read to use caution when around a broody, but she knows we aren't going to hurt her or bother her eggs so all she does is puff up. Doesn't try to nip or fight. Around the other chickens she lets them know she means business, but there aren't really any problems. We have her in her own place in the coop separate from the others so nobody can get in there bother her eggs. I like the idea of letting nature be the way it was designed to be. Nothing wrong with incubation, I may even use it in the future, but as long as I have a broody willing to do the work, I'll gladly let her! Something so mesmerizing watching animal mommies with their babies, I can't wait! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. stephensc7146

    stephensc7146 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I seen somewhere that if you let the hen do the work, the chicks wont be as social?
     
  5. juliezoo

    juliezoo Out Of The Brooder

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    I can only reply based on my years of experience raising exotic birds. I have generally chosen not to incubate because hens were created to raise chicks.... they keep them perfectly heated, humidity controlled and fed once hatched - *generally*. Of course there are always some not-so-great mothering hens, but all in all I feel they are better than "technology". Having said that, it is often true that chicks raised by a hen/mother will not be as people friendly, though that just means some extra tlc on our part to change that. The flip side is I don't see aggression from the flock towards chicks since they are there from the beginning.... when/if we introduce a new bird, there often needs to be a very watchful period since the established flock wants to be sure the "newbie" understands the pecking order and territory that's claimed.

    We've had our share of issues with incubators too. A friend just lost all 40 eggs in her incubator because the temp control had a problem one evening. Very sad.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. de kippendame

    de kippendame Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm, I'd be interested in hearing from some that have done this before as to what their experiences were. I can see how that may be a factor. Between my three boys and I, they will get all kinds of socialization. But you're right, they will already have a mommy unlike our first batch sent from the hatchery that had me for a mommy. I'm not too worried about it, but it is food for thought! [​IMG]
     
  7. juliezoo

    juliezoo Out Of The Brooder

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    That's exactly what it takes... all kinds of socialization. Besides, our first 16 hens were rescued from a farm and came to us naked as could be and the lady had never handled them other than to shove them with a thick leather glove. Here, just months later, my children (7boys 2 girls) can carry them and gather eggs and the hens even know how to wait for turns for things LOL!
     
  8. stephensc7146

    stephensc7146 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I pay as much attention to the chicks I got from tractor supply that I can, and they love to run up to me when I put my hand in the brooder box to hand feed them. I don't know what the behavior of a hen would be after she hatched the chicks. Would it be just like any other mother protecting her babies from everything? or would she let a person come up and cuddle her babies? I love the idea of letting nature have it's way, but the socializing is one of my main worries.
     
  9. stephensc7146

    stephensc7146 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens seem to be very loving creatures! Even with a rough past they don't hold grudges with new owners? I'm sure it takes some time, but that is amazing! :)
     
  10. California_chickie

    California_chickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is only my second time using a hen for hatching, I'm used to a bator, which can be stressful after day 18! I have had the BEST hatch results from using my broody. I have silkies, and one in particular has always been a great surrogate mom for all my hatches. Last month 5 of my Silkies went broody, so I thought, "hey, let's give the other girls a shot" I split up 20 eggs between the hens--it was hilarious to see them move the eggs around to different boxes and take turns (I marked the eggs so I KNOW they were moving them to different boxes) a couple of the eggs hatched early, and the girls didn't budge from their boxes-- wouldn't even let the babies under them! Thought it was just a coincidence, they were focused on the other eggs, or that there was something wrong with the preemies, but 19 eggs hatched and the other hens still would not mother them! Could not be bothered. Maybe they're just inexperienced moms. I'm sure this is unusual-- now my one great broody has more chicks than she can handle! So everyone is now inside under the heat lamp or taking turns with mom. Healthy as can be, but a lot of work!
    So, the point of my story is..yes, it's way easier to let nature do the work! But don't make the same mistake I did & set too many eggs!
     

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