Which is better, incubating eggs or letting a chicken hatch them?
There is something magical about newly-hatched chicks. They are so fluffy and cute!
If you have kids, incubating eggs is a must do! For kids, incubating eggs and raising the chicks is one of the best ways that they can learn about the wonders of nature. Raising chicks also teaches kids responsibility, patience and hygiene! And it opens their eyes to how our food is produced.
Incubating eggs is the best way to get hands-on experience with baby chicks. Chicks you raise yourself are make better pets and you learn so much about chickens!
Many backyard chicken keepers love incubating eggs. But other chicken keepers swear by letting their birds do the work.
We look at the pros and cons, so you can decide whether incubation is right for you. Whatever you choose, having more chickens is definitely a pro!
The pros and cons of incubating chicken eggs
|The pros of incubating chicken eggs||The cons of incubating chicken eggs|
Incubating chicken eggs
Incubating eggs is a great option if you want to be hands-on with your new chicks. It also allows you to raise different breeds of birds and means that you can have chicks whenever it suits you. If your birds are not the best mothers, incubating may be your best option for a healthy hatch.
For most chicken keepers, the main reason for incubating is the joy it gives them. There is something very magical about watching chicks hatch and grow. The tiny, fluffy things are so cute! If you like chickens, chicks are pure delight and it is definitely worth getting an incubator!
Letting a chicken hatch eggs
While it sounds super easy, letting a chicken raise chicks isn’t always so straight forward.
A mother hen usually needs to be housed separately to the rest of your flock. This prevents conflict with other chickens wishing to use the nesting box and protects the chicks once they hatch, as other hens might try to harm them. It is also important to separate chicks from the rest of the flock if using a medicated starter for coccidiosis.
Many modern chickens are not great mothers, either. They have been genetically selected for high egg production, rather than their mothering instincts. They may not stay on the nest or they might accidentally crush the chicks. Some mother hens even kill their own chicks!
But introducing chicks raised by a mother to the flock is easier, because the mother hen will usually protect the chicks from bullying.
If you don’t want the hassle of raising chicks or helping a mother hen do it, you can always buy pullets or point-of-lay birds. This saves time and also solves the problem of what to do with the roosters which always seem to make up at least 50 % of the hatch! But the birds are usually less friendly and you miss out on the magic of gorgeous, fluffy chicks!
Rachael at Dine a Chook