As of now we have our first two eggs in our brand new incubator. I’m thinking we should collect six eggs total to begin with. For the next few days, as the girls lay I’ll be placing whatever eggs we get from the Leghorns into the incubator. I’m only collecting the eggs from them because they are with the Rooster. We are writing the date laid on the egg with pencil before incubating.
Before we ever had chickens, I often wondered why people even needed incubators. I mean, if a hen sits on her eggs to hatch them, why would you bother buying an incubator to do it yourself?
Well, there are two good reasons that I’ve since learned.
In a recent Mother Earth Magazine article, I read that unfortunately the instinct to go “broody”, or sit on a clutch of eggs, has been bred out of a lot of chickens. None of my hens have gone broody yet… I’m wondering if they ever will.
Some hens simply do not ever sit on their eggs. This would be a good reason to get an incubator.
If you are fortunate enough to have a good sitter, you may find yourself facing another dilemma… no eggs to eat! Of course, you could reach under her and steal away an egg for your breakfast, but if you are wanting to increase your flock size then you’ll just have to wait until Mama is done with her job and the little chicks are all hatched out.
*For those of you who are wondering, Yes, you can steal away an egg from underneath a sitting hen without cracking it to find a chicken embryo. When a hen starts sitting, it’s wise to begin dating the eggs she’s on. That way you’ll know how long they’ve been there. If you get an egg that’s only a few days old, it is still safe to eat.
If you want to increase the amount of chickens you have, but don’t want to wait until they are all hatched out to enjoy your farm fresh eggs again, an incubator would solve both problems.
Once you’ve collected as many eggs as you’d like to try to hatch, and safely placed them in your incubator, you’d then be free to resume gathering eggs for your morning omelets.
These are the two reasons why we decided to get an incubator. We chose not to buy the extra automatic egg turner accessory, trying to save some money. The incubator itself was $40, and the egg turner was another $40. But now, after trying to remember to turn the eggs several times a day for the past couple of days, we are wishing we had one! I’d say, if you can afford it, get one.
So, there you go. Now you don’t have to wonder anymore. Hope that helps ya!