Once you have determined that you’re flexible and determined enough to try hatching eggs, you must decide whether you would like to hatch them in an incubator or instead hatch them under a broody hen, but remember the quantity of eggs also counts.
Reasons to have a broody hen hatch eggs for you include first of all that it’s simply wonderful to see a mama hen with her babies, it’s fun to see them ride on her back and peek out from beneath her wings. It’s adorable the way she will teach them what is good to eat, and how to scratch and forage for food. It is the most natural way for baby chicks to be raised.
Secondly it’s very practical: when a hen is incubating eggs, you need not to worry about the power going out and ruining the eggs in your incubator. There are no concerns about the temperature and humidity being right. You need not to worry about a heat lamp in the brooder, because the mother will keep the chicks warm. And that is, a fabulous remedy to many of the things hatchers often worry about.
YOUR HEN NEEDS TO BE BROODY
Your hen may not be broody when you need her to be, and there is no way to “make” her go broody. Timing is everything. Broodiness is a hormonal condition. In fact, the hormone that relates to ovulation in humans (as well as to breastmilk production) is the same one that causes a hen to become broody: it is an increase in prolactin that causes incubation behavior.
But when your hen goes broody it is not advisable to let her hatch her babies right in the coop with the rest of the flock.
This is probably not such a big deal, except that she may have other hens crowding in and laying eggs on top of her. The crowding can cause your precious eggs to break, and having new eggs added to the clutch later in incubation can mean that toward the end, she may be sitting on too many eggs to effectively cover and incubate them, so some of the eggs embryo could die and wont be hatched.
Moreover eggs that may be layed in addition to the already incubating eggs may not be hatched if incubating has already taking place weeks after.
Sometimes eggs can get broken or knocked out of the nest by accident, even if there is no competition for nest space with other hens. In the case of a broody hen, the success or failure of incubation is out of your hands, and depends on your hen. For all these reasons, i recommend providing your broody hen with a safe broody ️coop where she can sit on her eggs in peace and hatch her babies without being accosted.
If the chicks are hatched in the main coop with the rest of the flock, the other birds may well attack the newcomers, While mother will try to protect them, the best scenario is simply to prevent this from happening in the first place by giving them a safe place until they are larger and mother has recovered her weight and strength a bit.