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Broodies v Incubators ?

I've been giving some thought to abandoning my use of incubators and going back to in time and using broodies instead. After all, its been the tried and tested method of hatching and rearing chicks since time immemorial

I just used broody hens to hatch all my chicks up until about ten years ago but then I modernised and bought myself a couple of incubators but prior to that, it was a system that worked pretty well for me. Yes ! You're always waiting for that first broody of the season and you can't always incubate eggs as early or exactly when you want to but of late, when it comes to incubators, I've seriously had enough of power cuts and temperature surges.

I keep two pure breeds of poultry here, those being Light Sussex and Anconas. The former do go broody from time to time but I'm yet to have an Ancona so much as the  slightest inclination towards broodiness.

If I did go back down the route I'm proposing, then it would of course mean me having to keep a separate little flock to produce broodies.
With regards to this I have two main ideas in mind
I'm thinking that first cross LS x Silkies are renowned for making good mums, who go broody regularly, so that's the first option but at one time, I had a good friend who also did extremely well by keeping around twenty pure Light Sussex bantams. I'm not sure if all LS bantams share the same trait but his were certainly very good and for many years, he was virtually unstoppable in the show ring with his Oxford Game fowl that  he hatched beneath them.
Alas, he's no longer with us, so I wouldn't be able to get any of his LS.
What are other folks  thoughts on this topic ? Stick to incubators and electric hens etc or return to mother nature and what I probably know best?
Dave C

Well last season as you know I didn't have much luck with either.

I borrowed 2 pure silkies from a mate, the first let me down badly with some bought in eggs walking off them after 4 days.
The other did a very good job rearing some Buff Plymouth rocks.

I also lost some important eggs when the fan on my brand new Incy seized up.

This year I will be doing lots of batches of my own eggs so trying both methods.
But like you I'm bringing in some banties.

Mrs C likes Wyndotte banties so I have done a deal with a guy in Liverpool for some very nice blue Laced type.

A far cry from my utility birds but if they hatch out some good batches for me I think I can justify them to myself  

I was warned off silkies years ago. Yes they go broody a lot but as you found out, they tend not to stick at it.
Silkiie cross Oxford game take some beating and Sandrar swears by her Indian game hens.

I'm due another small hatch in the incubator this Thursday coming.
chicken feed

We used to keep Pekins for sitting. Years ago (45 isn years ) mum used to hire out silkies and silkie first x to local game keepers as sitting hens she always swore by them.

I've always had better results with the incy.  

i have never had an incy it's been broodys for me for over 60 years , i only hatch a few just for replacements , and the cocks go in the pot .

Yup. Right now the last of last years cocks is waiting in the fridge waiting to go into the oven.  
I've got  a few eggs in an incubator due to hatch tomorrow. I've just had a look at there's no sign of activity just yet. I had one hatch a day early in the last lot.

I put 4 of last years Cockerels in the freezer last weekend.  
I will be putting this year's first lot of eggs in the incy this week (just waiting for 8 more eggs to fill it). They are Light Sussex, Bodger's hens with a Fred Ham cock.
Really looking forward to this lot, fingers crossed for a good hatch.

My Anconas have been laying like the clappers for several weeks now and when I put some into the incubator tomorrow night, then that it'll be it and hopefully, I should have enough chicks from them to play with.

My Light Sussex on the other hand, have been a lot slower. I've been depending on some three to four year old hens to produce the goods, so its only to be expected. They've only just started to produce a few eggs.

My old brood hens are 100% my old strain and I'm running them with young half and half cockerels. That's half mine and half Hamms. That's obviously going to give me offspring which are 75 % my strain.

My last pure bred cock just keeled over, the ungrateful wretch. However, to be honest, the pure bred Hamms birds generally laid bigger eggs than my pures, so hopefully,  the input of some new blood could and should do a bit of good.

If anyone wants to try a few Ancona eggs, drop me a PM, I don't think you would be disappointed.
Rick & Carol

when we had orpingtons they were broody more often than they weren't
Dave C

Seen one of my Indian Game cockerels treading 2 pullets today, so hopefully won't be long before there laying  

They are notoriously late coming into lay so will be happy if it's in the next few weeks.

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