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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Jyn
Jyn
6 years ago

It's quite damp and chilly, here in Oregon, and my Bantam Cochin is broody sitting on a bunch of eggs. It looks like the only one that is fertilized is our silver seabright egg under her ('Bart' the Cornish rooster isn't completing his job, I take it) and we have 3 roosters that are small enough to mate her, 2 sumatran bantam's and 1 frizzled bantam so we're SO EXCITED to see what we get! Im thinking of taking the other eggs out from underneath her because they are not viable, but I worry because when she leaves to eat… Read more »

Jennifer Whitwell Pugh
Jennifer Whitwell Pugh
7 years ago

How would I know if the eggs in coop is the one that will turn I to chicks?! I'm not sure if rooster is breeding with hens or not. Cuz no chicks are not sitting on it and so far we got 8 eggs and they all are together in neat pile. Just wonder if I need to incubator them or they are hubby's breakfast?! Thanks!

Irina
Irina
7 years ago

How do you hatch Black Copper Marans in your Brinsea Mini Advance? I've heard sooooo many different stories and need advice.

TheChickenChick
TheChickenChick
7 years ago

Sounds like an adventure!

Sharon Lee Ledford
Sharon Lee Ledford
7 years ago

I believe i may be becoming a hatch-a-holic also. I had two hens go broody about 23 days ago. They were in the coop of course and I figured I would just mark the eggs they were sitting and take any "extras" each day. Well, I'm not sure why or how but now I have two mama's with 3 & 4 chicks each and 12 of those "extra" eggs in my incubator that I am really insure of when they should hatch. So I am turning by hand and not really sure what to expect. I've done the sniff test… Read more »