Hatching eggs: broody or incubator?

It’s summer and hens are going broody and incubators are just calling to be used but which one is the best? Recently we’ve Been hatching lots of eggs . And it made myself think which ones better? So I’ve decided to channel my thoughts into a blog post… I’ll go over the dis advantages and advantages of both and then I’ll come to a conclusion.

Broody hen


 Advantages 

  1. No need to check humidity, egg turning and temperatures the broody hen will do it all herself.
  2. She’s Eco friendly too: no power needed just food, water and a shelter- she will even give you nice big smelly broody poos for the compost big too.
  3. It’s much more natural for the chicks they can learn to be a proper chicken.
  4. The mum will teach them to drink and eat.

 Disadvantages 

    1. You will need to move her into her own coop even when she’s incubating eggs.
    2. She may leave the eggs especially is she’s a first time mum.
    3. She may break eggs while incubating them.

    Incubator/brooder


     Advantages 

    1. Accurate hatching times as with a hen she gets off to eat drink etc. They might take a couple of days longer.
    2. You get to experience up close a chick hatching.
    3. You can candle the eggs easily (as with a hen she will peck your hand off!) to make sure you have no nasty eggs that may effect the growing embryos.

     Disadvantages 

    1. Once they’ve hatched you need to put them in brooder which needs regularly cleaning out and needs to be inside a Warm room.
    2. You need to regularly dip the chicks beaks in the drinker so they know where the food is, with a broody she will, teach them this herself.

     Conclusion 

    Both! We’ve found its better to incubate the eggs your self then brood them under a hen. You will get better hatch results with a good incubator especially if the hens a first time mum. As you might of picked up with the advantages and disadvantages that with the broody hen her advantages were mostly once the eggs have hatched and her disadvantages were when she was incubating the eggs the Opposite goes for a incubator. You’ll find that there’s nothing better than seeing a chick hatch and then for a affectionate mother hen raise it. 

    So how do you go about doing so firstly once your hen goes broody start to incubate the eggs (I’ve got a two part blog on incubating eggs ) then once they’ve all hatched wait for darkness outside then pop the chicks under the hen in her broody coop. (I also have a blog on caring for chicks) she should take to the chicks straight away when morning comes. Don’t disturb her to much. Leave her to it after all mumma hen knows best.

    The beautiful bond between a mother hen and her chick.


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    3 herbs to give to your hens.

    I like giving my chickens herbs not only do they love them but it also can improve their health and create a calm environment that smells nice too. Herbs are easy to grow or can be brought from any garden store or even food shop.

    1. Lavender is one of the herbs I give to my chickens more often. I take some of the leaves and flowers to sprinkle in the nest box. Since lavender scent calms chickens I feel it will make the hens daily laying more relaxed, it also prevents flies and other insects so is great in a coop! 
      Mix the lavender and shavings together before adding it to you flocks house.
    2. Oregano is one of the most beneficial herb for your birds it’s thought to fight off salmonella, coccidiosis even the dreaded avian flu which struck at the end of last year and still is lurking about… Its also full with vitamins K and E and boosts immune systems this is why I like giving it to my growers. You also can dry herbs for their feed or as I do cut and serve.
    3. Mint is a great plant it smells good, repels rodents and can cool your chickens down. So you could grow it around the coop to keep away rats and mice and then cut to use in the coop or in your chooks wateres on hot days to cool them down. 

    I hope you enjoyed this blog there are many more herbs for your chickens too and the great thing is that you can use the manure to grow them then cut them, give them more manure and the cycle continues. Why not comment what herb you flock like? I’d love to know.

    Mites and lice

    The weather gets warmer and you might start worrying about mites and lice. Here’s what you need to know so you can fight these little bugs!

    First things first what are mites? They’re little grey parisites that sometimes decide they want to invest your coop and disrupt your flock. As your birds go to roost in their coop the little mites will crawl out of the cracks and crevices and climb onto your hens for a mid night feast of blood. A fully grown mite will lay lots of eggs in crevices of your coop after 2-3 days these will hatch and in around 5 days these will be laying more eggs and before you know it you’ve got thousands of them in your coop. Signs of mites can be that your chickens don’t want to roost at night in fear of the mites so instead they camp out. You also can place a piece of paper in the coop and in the morning or when you lock your chickens up in the evening you’ll see the red dots crawling on it. 

      How to treat mites. 

    1. Use D.E aka ditamatious Earth although only use this when needed as it can cause respitory problems! D.E is razor sharp particles of aquatic fossils called diatoms these will kill the mites when you sprinkle the D.E on the birds at night or in the cracks of the house. And alowing your chickens to dust bathe will help to kill mites.
    2. Particular sprays can be used in the house for mites I suggest ~ net-tex total mite kill. 

    Wooden houses are more Susceptible to red mite with plastic houses such as a omlet eglu you can just wash them away.

    So thas mites what are lice? Mites are another little bug but these live on the chicken, they feed on the skin laying lots of grey eggs round the base of the feather shaft. The lice cause irritation so chickens may peck out there feathers and stop laying eggs these are things to look out for. We find that our “fluffier” breeds such as orpingtons and brahmas are more likely to get lice but any of your birds can get them! 

      Treatment for lice. 

    1. Like mites you can purchase a powder for mites to put on your birds at night alowing for it to work its way into the feathers. Barrier louse powder is the one we’ve used in the past it works well and smells like mint, perfect!
    2. A bath can wash of mites and if you chop a few feathers covered in eggs will reduce numbers of lice although it’s always best to properly treat them with powders. 
    3. And like mites alowing your birds to dust bathe can prevent lice.

    The grey, white clumps are lice eggs you can find these around the vent, under wings and down the back and neck.

    I hope this will make you feel at ease going into the warm summer months knowing that if you get a infestation you can treat it. Every one will get mites or lice in poultry you just need to start treating it when it happens to prevent a large infestation. After I took a break from keeping chickens I purchased a house from eBay to start again, I’ll never buy a cheap chicken coop again! Lots of paces for mites to hide and hard to control and defeate the infestation so I moved over to buying a omlet eglu go and now a eglu cube . There great and plastic meaning I can wash away the mites and dirt and it’s easy to clean.

    Broody Beyoncè 

    Pure breeds especially brahmas,pekins,orpingtons and silkies. Every year Beyoncè goes broody sometimes pepper too. This year Beyoncè is broody!!! Really early in the season too!!! I think she herd me when I was at morrisons saying “if one of the hens goes broody can we hatch some eggs?” Then I came home to a grumpy faced Beyoncè on her three eggs she had laid. So when I was back down the town I got some Clarence court eggs from the supermarket. I know it’s from a farm where there aren’t any cockerels but a boy maneged to hatch a legbar egg from Clarence court and many people hatch Clarence court duck eggs. Also I love the legbars blue shells! My Nan was telling me how at a farm where her husband works they produce brown eggs on a large scale for supermarkets and within the many hens there was a cockerel roaming around there for a year as it wasn’t sexed at the hatchery.

    clarence court legbar eggs
    Ŷ

    lovely blue shells
    old cotswold legbar from clarence court

    I hope to purchase some eggs from south Yeo farm too.

    I hope you enjoyed this blog if you did and you haven’t read our other blogs why not?

    Thankyou for reading😄