Natural Incubation vs Artificial Incubation
Hatching eggs by putting them under a broody hen is called natural incubation.
There are several advantages to natural incubation:
1) The hen does most of the work for you. You don't have to worry about turning the eggs or keeping the temperature stable.
2) A broody hen will usually hatch out a higher percentage of eggs than you will get in an incubator.
3) Once the chicks hatch, she will do much of the work of caring for them.
There are also several problems with natural incubation:
1) With natural incubation is that you cannot tell when a hen will go broody.
2) You can't guarantee that she will be a good mother.
3) You can only fit so many eggs under one hen, so you might not be able to hatch out as many as you want.
4) Sometimes a mother hen will "go wild" when she hatches out chicks, and it will be much harder to tame them.
Hatching eggs by putting them in an incubator is called artificial incubation. Here are the advantages to artificial incubation:
1) With artificial incubation, you can hatch eggs whenever you want - you don't have to wait for a hen to go broody.
2) If you get a big enough incubator, you can hatch out as many eggs as you want.
3) You get the satisfaction of caring for the eggs yourself, and when they hatch, you will be the mother.
Naturally, there are disadvantages to artificial incubation as well:
1) You have to worry about the temperature, ventilation, and humidity.
2) If you do not have an automatic turner, you will have to turn the eggs at least three times a day at evenly spaced intervals.
3) Incubators usually hatch out a lower percentage of eggs than broody hens do.