Which is the better incubation: Using an Incubator or under a hen?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by lyndatu, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. lyndatu

    lyndatu Songster

    Nov 13, 2007
    I was just curious..........

    I'm planning to have my hens fertilized by our neighbor's rooster when they're old enough. But I heard that hens often leave their eggs alone and don't bother sitting on them. And so there was the incubator.

    But I'm wondering: which is better for fertilized eggs: in an incubator or under a hen's tummy? I'm thinking of getting silkies because I heard they're excellent mothers and will take care even other chicken's eggs or chicks. But some say an incubator will do better. Which is which?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Well, it all depends on the hens in question. Some do not go broody very often and aren't sitters - like RIR's. Not much of a brooding hen. On the other hand Silkies are little brooding machines and make excellent mothers - as do BO's. It all depends on the type and breed of chickens you get.

    The next problem is you can't predict when a hen will go broody. No broodiness no egg sitting. Then you need the incubator.

    I only had 1 broody hen in the last flock I had back in Ga. If I wanted chicks I had to incubate them myself.

    So many factors figure into deciding to try to let a broody hen hatch or doing it the incubator way.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2007
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    I have never used an incubator (and I only have silkies)... DITTO on what Miss Prissy said.
  4. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    I agree, too. However, presuming you have a good broody hen and an incubator, and you're just choosing where to put your eggs, letting your hen set is nice because you don't have to worry that the temp and humidity aren't just right, or that a power failure will happen. Also, it's a natural behavior to the hen... something she wants to do.

    On the other hand, some people say that chicks raised under a broody aren't as friendly to humans (other people would argue with that). Lastly, if you do have a broody, it's often a good idea to have a special, protected place for her and her chicks away from the rest of the flock; sometimes other layers will try to lay eggs in her nest when she gets up to eat or drink, and she doesn't know which eggs are hers when she gets back... she may end up with so many she can't cover them all. Or when the chickies hatch, the other flock members may not like the little fuzzy invaders, so it can be a good idea to introduce them gradually, for their protection. Other times, that's not a problem at all.

    There are issues inherent in both methods, I think, and it's just a matter of which issues you're best set up to deal with, or which ones you'd rather deal with. If it's just a matter of getting the most eggs to hatch, IMO a broody hen will probably do that better most of the time.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I completely agree with Windy. If I did have a choice, I'd choose the broody, providing she was a good one. They can be wilder than other chicks if you have a broody who refuses to let you near them for weeks, or they can be just as tame if your hen trusts you somewhat. My Buff Orp, Sunny, hatched out two Barred Rock babies for me and in about three or four weeks, they were becoming very tame because she allowed me and DH to handle them without going psycho-broody on us.
  6. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Next time I am going to give my BO half the eggs and see what she does. Karen
  7. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    Someone needs to tell my girls that all silkies are broody! Never owned a broody silkie in my life... Had a black sexlink that was an incubator on legs though... Hens will do it better, but an incubator will hold a higher quantity. I had a mixed breed banty (was cochin and belgian d' anver mixed) that would hatch EVERY fertile egg ever put under her. She regularly hatched clutches of 15 or 16 in the summer time. I sure do miss that hen!
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    All this talk of broodies got back to my poufy-headed Olivia. She sat on the nest all day long, screaming like a banshee and puffing up like a psychotic beach ball, LOL. DH took her off the nest and put her on the roost, but we'll see in the morning where she is and if she's sticking to her decision. Livvie is one of my three sisters, happy accidents since they were supposed to be full-blooded Barred Rocks, but Kate's big standard Cochin/Silkie cross rooster spread his seed around before kicking the bucket. And a couple of Kate's Barred Rocks are broody types as well, so Miss Olivia has it coming and going, LOL.
  9. KingsCalls

    KingsCalls Songster

    Oct 22, 2007
    New Market,Tn.
    I would use a broody hen if possible but, just in case you have too many eggs at one time for 1 or 2 hens to cover.............I'd have the bator ready.

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