trying to decide - should I buy chicks or hatch eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by juleedis, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. juleedis

    juleedis Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2012
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    Hi, I'm a new back yard chicken enthusiast. I have a small flock of pullets that I started last spring. Now I've decided to add some diversity. Considering the price of chicks in my area ($15-$20/female chick), and I can't abide the thought of shipping live chicks through the post office, I thought it's probably going to be the most fun and cost effective to hatch my own - I'm confident I can turn this hobby into a (very) small business because backyard chickens are very popular in my area.

    I'm trying to find the best incubator in case I do go the egg hatching route. I'm gone during the day so it will have to maintain a consistent temperature and rotate eggs all on it's own.

    I'd like some honest opinions- what was your experience like and am I getting in over my head?

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  2. Nightfeather

    Nightfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am hatching chicks for my frist time right now and let me tell you its realy hard and you need to be at home most of the time to watch the incubators temp. if I where you i would just buy the chicks
     
  3. juleedis

    juleedis Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2012
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    Thanks. I was researching incubators and some of the reviews have been very positive/low maintenance. I really do want to know - what has been so difficult for you?
     
  4. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a brinsea octagon 20 eco for an incubator. These little incubators are nice but it might be bigger than you're looking for. They hold 24 hen eggs. A smaller incubator option would be the mini advance from brinsea ( holds 7 eggs). Just search for brinsea.com and you will find more info.
     
  5. jerryb

    jerryb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you get what you pay for.

    If you really want to start a business then spend some cash and buy a quality incubator.

    you will save money in the long run.

    heck, at $15 a chick for quality chicks you will earn your start-up cost back in a couple hatches. you could underprice the market and ask $10 a chick and do great.

    Jerry
     
  6. domino7

    domino7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I, too have the Brinsea eco20. You really can't go wrong with any Brinsea product. Make sure you get one with an automatic turner. With the right incubator, hatching eggs is easy. There are many other good incubators out there too. My buddy has an R-com 50, and it's foolproof. It holds the proper humidity, as well as temp.

    Hatching eggs is so much more fun that buying chicks, and really not that hard. Go for it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  7. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only compliant I have about my incubator is that it failed during the middle of the night just all the sudden. The customer service at brinsea is really good. I called them and they said return it and they will fix it. My first hatch I had was about 75% hatch out of shipped eggs. One egg wasn't fertile so minus that egg it would have been an 80% hatch. Later this year I plan on buying a mini eco as a hatcher.
     
  8. Nightfeather

    Nightfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I pay for eggs that did not get fertile. and i payed 2.50 an egg
     
  9. spunkychickenmomma

    spunkychickenmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have done both. To me, it was more rewarding to do the hatching myself from my own stock. The hardest part is the 3 week wait, especially on the first hatch!
     
  10. Barbedwirecat

    Barbedwirecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have also done both. Start up is more expensive hatching (though with chicks that pricey in your area it might not be) depending on the incubator you purchase. I am still using my Styrofoam Hovabator and this is my 3rd hatch.

    Buying or hatching, you'll still have to wait for them to lay if you want eggs from your own. Hatching your own in an incubator is the way to go for me because hens can be so finicky.

    I enjoy candling and taking care of my eggs and by NO means do I have to be home all of the time to take care of them. You just need to know your incubator and know your eggs. I check my eggs temp and humidity (though I do dry hatches) before I go to work and when I get home. The first time you do it---it will drive you NUTS. After that it gets easier. It takes about a month (if getting shipped eggs) to see results.

    Buying chicks from a hatchery---you get hatchery babies. You don't get the cream of the crop. They are standard. Hatching your own eggs, you can pick and choose your breeder and have a better expectation of the result. Most breeders will also HELP you if you have concerns. Big hatcheries wont. Good breeders do not breed chickens with undesired traits. The big guys... well I can't speak for them, but I would rather have eggs from a smaller breeder.

    You do have to vaccinate your hatched chicks (if you so desire) BUT the good thing is they have not been exposed to most (there are some they can be born with) diseases.

    If you want to have a quicker return, you could get full grown chickens that are laying and THEN incubate the eggs. But remember to quarantine first always. The chicks in your area are MORE expensive than the full grown chickens in mine. We are generally 2.50 -3.00 each sexed and 1.50 - 1.99 unsexed. Roosters are around 6-7 and hens are 9-12.

    Hope that helps!!
     

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