To hatch or not to hatch...need your thoughts


9 Years
Apr 25, 2010
Hudson Florida
I asked this before but didn't get feedback.

I would like to know the thought's of people who hatch eggs and those who do not. I have learned that artifically hatching eggs makes it possible to hatch more eggs. That letting a hen hatch the eggs makes the babies a bit more skittish and not as many will hatch.

What do you prefer and why.
A broody hen is my first choice. Why? No electricity and she does all the work with teaching them what to eat and drink. They just do better with a mama.

However, broodiness is not constant. You'll never really know when a hen will go broody and have eggs ready to give her. So, that's why we also use an incubator. I have taken eggs out of the incubator and given them to a broody hen before.
I am for the natural method. If you give her fertile eggs, and not too many that she cannot cover them all, and wait 21 days you will be amazed. It is true that they are skittish, but if you have a good friendly momma she will also teach them that you are good. I let mine all free range with the flock and that takes some of the nervous energy away. I can walk among them without them scattering and on accasion I can pick them up. They screach and settle right down. I will never use an incubator after letting momma do all the work. But I am not in this for selling chicks, and I don't want to have hatching be so easy or I may just overdue it and end up with way too many chicks, so I do one hatch per year with a broody, just to add an "adorable" factor to my yard
I have 11 "toddlers" at 7 weeks old, and I also have 7, 4 day old chicks that I let my broody BO hatch out. She hatched 7 out of 8 and they were a day early. My toddlers I got as day old chicks from a hatchery. All I can say is I'm enjoying letting momma hen do all the work! No teaching them to eat or drink, also down the road, no teaching them to roost, use the ramp, to go inside when it's dark. (which I'm having to do right now with my toddlers) etc. Another bonus, my BO hen is super sweet, so she is already teaching them that I'm ok to be around, she let's me pick them up and hand feed them by eating from my hand first and showingbthem it's ok. The only bad thing is no gaurantee of sex, so I'm sure I'll have more Roos that I don't need! But so far, I really like letting the momma hen do all the work
I would have far preferred to do it the natural way but my two BO hens are now two years old and never even considered going broody (nor have any of the others but it was the BO's I was counting on
). I figured the chance that they would go broody for the first time after 18 months of age was low, so I built an incubator and hatched out a few of my own. It was a great experience and the resultant chicks are unimaginably friendly. Apparently when they looked up and asked "Are You My Muvver?" the answer was "Yes" so now they stick so close to me whenever I'm outside that they have on occasion almost tripped me (now 4 months old). I would still love to have one go broody but if it never happens....well, I'll hatch out my own Spring chicks every year now.
I do both, but my goals are as much for meat as anything else. I just don't get enough broodies to keep me in meat so I use an incubator I can count on and give any hen that goes broody eggs to hatch and raise.

Broody raised chickens are definitely more skittish but that is not a problem for me at all since I eat almost all that I hatch. And I find that broody raised chicks forage better than brooder raised chicks. That lowers my feed bill. I'd prefer to have more broodies.

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