Why incubator eggs so delicate VS using broody hen?


13 Years
Oct 24, 2009
Just wondering why eggs artificially incubated seem easy to kill compared to ones under a broody hen?

My hens often leave the eggs to go cool to the touch... are gone from the nest for a very long time... Sometimes when the weather is cool..

Also the humidity levels must vary to much.. as when it rains or when its dry... some of my chickens nest in the outside run....

Even had a nest flood and the eggs were floating in a puddle.. and they still all hatched!

I was tempted to buy an incubator to hatch out some eggs (when my birds were not broody).. but it seems that just opening the door at the wrong time will kill the eggs!!!

I once had an egg roll out of a nest and fall about 1 meter to the coop floor (which was covered in sand). It must have been there a while before I found it.. so I marked it with a pen and put it back into the nest.. and even that one hatched out fine.

Maybe I am just lucky with my birds.. they have indestructible eggs!

One pair of pigeons even stamped on their eggs and they had holes in them.. but the membrane inside was not damaged.. .so I stuck sticky tape over the holes and they hatched a week later too.
I think the biggest reason why incubator eggs have issues is that we don't have accurate thermometers for tracking the temps, and our thermostats don't have the limited fluctuation in temp, compared to a broody. Then, there's the Mother love. The broody is doing what God programmed her to do. At best, we're trying to mimic that, and don't have a true understanding of the process. Also, Mama communicates to her chicks right from the moment she settles onto the nest, whether it's by touch, or by sound. Studies have been done on human babies in utero that indicate they have an incredible awareness of mother's voice, and the external environment. Even to the point where if a Mom and Dad are arguing, the in utero baby will have a rise in blood pressure. IMO, it's the same with baby chicks. Maybe the failed hatches are related to the lack of maternal stimulus, even if we do get the temp and humidity right.

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