GRIT Country Skills Series

HATCHING CHICKS: INCUBATORS VS. BROODY HENS

After several years of raising chickens, and with many broods of chicks under our belts, I thought I would outline some of our experiences in hatching chicks using an incubator vs. doing it the natural way — that is, by a broody hen. Should you go for nature or technology? What are the pros and cons of each option?

It was in the second year of our chicken-keeping that we felt the desire to increase our flock by means of adding some new chicks. We wanted to observe the entire process, from egg to softly chirping ball of fluff to productive adult egg-layer. We also felt that a truly sustainable flock maintains itself, by addition of a new generation each year, without us having to buy new pullets to replace aging layers.

Using a Homemade Incubator

However, circumstances played

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