Hank Will, Editor-in-chief of GRIT Magazine, answers the reader submitted question, “Should I artificially incubate my eggs or should I let the hen do the work for me?”
Whether or not you artificially incubate your eggs or let the hen do the work depends on a variety of factors, and has a multi-faceted answer. The answer depends on how much work you’d like to put in and how much control you’d like to have over the incubation process. If you allow a hen to hatch a clutch of eggs, she will sit on them, control the humidity, turn them and also rear the chicks once they hatch while also keeping them fed as well.
The other option is to place your eggs in an artificial incubator that will keep the temperature of the eggs moderately stable for 21 days. Some models of incubators will turn the eggs on their own, while some older models might lack that feature and require you to turn the eggs yourself. After the chicks hatch, you will need to place them in a brooder where the temperature can be controlled and you will also need to supply food and water. An upside to incubating artificially is the level of control that you have over the chicks as well some likely protection from predation.
Here at GRIT Magazine, we are passionate about rural American know-how and helping people learn more about the crops and animals they care for. Check out Videos from GRIT to see more from our editors.