Incubator Vs Broody….
As we are already looking forward to next years schools hatching I was reading on a Facebook Poultry group about opinions on how everyone had found their hatching season – Broody Vs Incubator – so I thought I might pen a few words on my take on this….
You can’t argue with how wonderful it is to watch this beautiful super rare Silver Welbar hen brooding her 4 chicks in my back garden. From the tiny happy noises she makes whilst her babies get a warm up under her feathers, to the excited chirrups when she finds a morsel of tasty chick crumb in the grass and the chicks come running over…… I will never tire of seeing this.
Eggucation obviously relies on our quality incubators and the care and attention we put into setting them up….our schools love the incubators we use.
If you want chicks hatching in large quantities and to a particular schedule there is nothing beats a well set up good quality incubator. And I will stress this about your incubator – social media can be awash with disappointed tales of bad hatches in the spring, many often due to bad quality machines that are poorly set up. You need a good machine, well set up and maintained. And do your research before you start – don’t spend money on eggs and put them in before finding out what you need to do and how you are going to feed or keep your chicks warm!
It costs money to incubate obviously, as will what ever method you chose for brooding – I use the heat plates or electric hens as they are lower wattage and cheaper to run and proved a nice natural heat source for your chicks.
But I always have my generator filled and ready to go in case of the frequent power cuts we experience in the countryside!
So if you have a broody hen the best way to fix that issue is to allow her to brood! Not all hens will sit the full 21 days, some might be so shocked when the chicks hatch that they attack them (our best broody did that at first but calmed down and is amazing now). You won’t be able to hatch 40 odd chicks at once…our Croad Langshan ladies can cope with loads as they are massive – one hatched 10 last year! But we often stuck with 6-8 eggs – so smaller batches.
You wont have to worry about brooder cages – ours free range the garden in good weather. Nothing beats growing yellow legged breeds on grass!! Our broodies have individual hutches in the garden for night time but all hang out together in the day so all enjoy chick crumb – the broodies need the extra after sitting for 21 days.
We cant wait for our 2018 chicks so book your incubator today!