Bators and Broodies: Confessions of a Hatch-a-holic

I never intended to hatch my own chicks but chicken math has no regard for my plans. My hatching addiction started innocently enough with a request for a Brinsea incubator for my birthday a few years ago. After witnessing the miracle of my first chick hatching, I had The Fever, for which there is no cure. The idea that an egg can transform from potential breakfast food into fluffy cuteness in 21 days completely captivates me. The Fever has taken over my kitchen counter, garage and basement and demanded the construction of a second coop.

I never intended to hatch my own chicks but chicken math has no regard for my plans. My hatching addiction started innocently enough with a request for a Brinsea incubator for my birthday a few years ago. After witnessing the miracle of my first chick hatching,  I had The Fever, for which there is no cure. The idea that an egg can transform from potential breakfast food into fluffy cuteness in 21 days completely captivates me. The Fever has taken over my kitchen counter, garage and basement and demanded the construction of a second coop. If you build it, more will hatch.

My husband built the "Little Deuce Coop."
My husband built the “Little Deuce Coop.”
The most dangerous thing you can give a hatch-a-holic (besides an incubator) is a rooster as he will ensure a steady supply of fertile, hatching eggs to fuel The Fever indefinitely. Max is my Black Copper Marans

The most dangerous thing you can give a hatch-a-holic (besides an incubator) is a rooster as he will ensure a steady supply of fertile, hatching eggs to fuel The Fever indefinitely. Max is my Black Copper Marans (BCM) fella and regretfully, he must be re-homed soon. Armed with the knowledge that Max is leaving and taking his genes with him, I have been hoarding the fertile, BCM and Ameraucana eggs for weeks.

Armed with the knowledge that Max is leaving and taking his genes with him, I have been hoarding the fertile, BCM and Ameraucana eggs for weeks.
It seems such a waste of good genetics to eat these beauties

My bators only accommodate seven eggs each and I have been filling them religiously every 21 days for a few months in anticipation of Max’s departure. I have more eggs than I can fit in my bators and, as luck would have it, I have four hens that are broody! (evil laugh) A broody hen is one who is inspired (by lighting conditions and hormones) to sit on eggs and hatch chicks.

I never intended to hatch my own chicks but chicken math has no regard for my plans. My hatching addiction started innocently enough with a request for a Brinsea incubator for my birthday a few years ago. After witnessing the miracle of my first chick hatching, I had The Fever, for which there is no cure. The idea that an egg can transform from potential breakfast food into fluffy cuteness in 21 days completely captivates me. The Fever has taken over my kitchen counter, garage and basement and demanded the construction of a second coop.
SuperBroody, April (a Buff Orpington)
SuperBroody, April (a Buff Orpington)

Since broodies occupy all four of my nest boxes, the other hens are forced to lay eggs in the corner of the coop or double-up in a nesting box to lay eggs. If for some reason I was not going to allow my hens to hatch eggs (for instance, if I had no fertile eggs for them) then I would have to ‘break’ them of their maternal aspirations. The reasons to break up a broody hen and how to do so can be found here.

I never intended to hatch my own chicks but chicken math has no regard for my plans. My hatching addiction started innocently enough with a request for a Brinsea incubator for my birthday a few years ago. After witnessing the miracle of my first chick hatching, I had The Fever, for which there is no cure. The idea that an egg can transform from potential breakfast food into fluffy cuteness in 21 days completely captivates me. The Fever has taken over my kitchen counter, garage and basement and demanded the construction of a second coop.
Since broodies occupy all four of my nest boxes, the other hens are forced to lay eggs in the corner of the coop or double-up in a nesting box to lay eggs. If for some reason I was not going to allow my hens to hatch eggs (for instance, if I had no fertile eggs for them) then I would have to 'break' them of their maternal aspirations.

Broodies are fiercely protective of their eggs, growling at and pecking at any perceived threat. This makes egg-collecting a challenge. At the risk of invoking their motherly wrath, I check underneath them for eggs several times each day. During this morning’s rounds, I was pleasantly surprised to hear cheeping coming from the nest boxes. Rachel, who had been broody for fewer than ten days, was obviously as surprised as I was to learn the sounds were coming from underneath her.

Since broodies occupy all four of my nest boxes, the other hens are forced to lay eggs in the corner of the coop or double-up in a nesting box to lay eggs. If for some reason I was not going to allow my hens to hatch eggs (for instance, if I had no fertile eggs for them) then I would have to 'break' them of their maternal aspirations.
The nest looks like a pillow fight broke out and the reason for that is broodies pluck feathers off themselves to allow the warmth of their skin to make direct contact with the eggs.

The nest looks like a pillow fight broke out and the reason for that is broodies pluck feathers off themselves to allow the warmth of their skin to make direct contact with the eggs.  I don’t mind being a hatch-a-holic and look forward to having The Fever indefinitely. It is a privilege to have a front-row seat to witness the miracle of life.

Rachel Divider

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ann
ann
9 years ago

Who knew that "Broodiness" was a contagious disease among a flock. When one of my Silkie went broody, I was ecstatic
but soon every one else wanted to be on it. After having 20+ clutch of chicks hatching it was enough. I had to severely
cut down on the number of chickens I had. After everything said and done I still went and bought myself a incubator and a automatice egg turner for my birthday. I guess i didn't
learn my lesson yet.

Kathy Mormino, the Chicken Chick
Reply to  ann

Don't fight it, Ann. It's bigger than all of us.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

OMG ! Cuteness ! How many chickens are you allowed ? We are 'only' allowed 36 small farm animals – and that includes cats, dogs, goats, ducks and chickens – and we are almost at our limit :0(

Kathy Mormino, the Chicken Chick
Reply to  Anonymous

Um…none. And that's only if you ask the Zoning Enforcement Officer who is reading the zoning code incorrectly! lol

I'm an outlaw and proud of it. 🙂

Charlotte
9 years ago

I so enjoyed this post. Hey I have Max's identical twin. Copper Marans are so beautiful and their eggs are too. I know I would get the fever too, so I will not get an incubator. I did have a hen go broody last spring, so she may this year too. But my dear husband has said no more chicken houses. I have 2 small ones.

Kathy Mormino, the Chicken Chick
Reply to  Charlotte

Thank you, Charlotte! I ♥ my BCMs. Max is going to be re-homed this week (going back to the breeder he came to me from as an egglet!) and I'm sad to lose him but happy that he'll be the Cock of the Walk in Ohio.

Nicky
9 years ago

The two of you are not alone. I have been getting eggs since November from ducks and chickens. I love to hatching. I made our two incubators we got out of coolers. Saved us a lot of money for now until we can afford to get one that will hold at least 100. My husband likes me doing it but at the same time gets upset because we have so many. I sell and eat them but we still a lot.

Kathy Mormino, the Chicken Chick
Reply to  Nicky

There's always room for more, Nicky!
BTW: Brinsea.com is having a SALE right now and with the coupon code "Valentine" they will take an EXTRA 10% off everything!! Might be time to pull the trigger on that new bator!

Sister Lori
9 years ago

Blessings! This is truly funny! Not in a weird way, or even much of a haha way just…let me think…um…how about a "kindred" way? 😀 I was JUST talking to my sister about this very thing! I LOVE hatching! I have a bator that I bought from a farmer a few years ago. It will hold 100 eggs. We decided to be frugal and try 60…well all but 5 of them hatched! I was hooked! I LOVE hatching! (did I just say that?) 😛 I am definitely a hatchaholic 😛 So glad to know I'm not alone 😀 Blessings on… Read more »

Kathy Mormino, the Chicken Chick
Reply to  Sister Lori

Well said, Sister Lori!
I could never be trusted with a 100 egg bator. LOL

Thanks for writing. 🙂

gerald strong
9 years ago
Reply to  Sister Lori

i hav 5/6 coolers i made last year . one cabinet built , and another two waitng to be started.
IM IN TROUBLE NOW .now many eggs can you get in a 6ft cabinet
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Homemade-incubators/273809722683265

Ed Odette
9 years ago
Reply to  Sister Lori

Right now I don't have chickens. Busy with our goats. I do what to start raising chickens this year. I use to have a flock of 100. I made my first bator. out of a Styrofoam cooler. Put a cake pan in the bottom to hold water then 1/4" wire screen on top of that. I used the bottom of an egg carton to hold the eggs. Heat was provided by two night light bulbs. Controlled the temp. by opening and closing the lid. Out of the first batch 10 out of the 12 hatched. That's when I was hooked.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Sister Lori

I LOVE having eggs in the little incubator here at our house! Hatchaholic, indeed! Chicks carrying your lovely rooster's genes would be a welcome addition to our flock. I hope you choose me. I recruited someone to your facebook page, though I don't know if he'll respond. His name is David Harris. Did I follow all the rules?

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