Robohen

This is Robohen, our incubator.  We bought it last year.  We prefer to have broody hens to raise our chicks, but they don’t always go broody when we want some chicks, or when we get ahold of  a batch of eggs we want to hatch.  What I wanted for our flock is to have small groups of pullets coming into laying/breeding age each month.  That is hard to do if you don’t have backup.  We have learned that incubated chicks can still have a mommie, if one goes broody during their gestation period.  We can simply transfer the eggs under the broody female.  We can also take immature pullets or cocks and put them with newly-hatched chicks to be guardians.  Most that we have tried have worked-out quite well. 

We had one broody hen and her clutch got wet during a frog strangler and we didn’t know about it until the eggs had died.  The mommy, a Old English Game Bantam/Cochin mix sat tight through it all.  When I finally went to candle her eggs, I found her wet through, dirty, and thoroughly depressed.  It just so-happened that Robohen had hatched-out four chicks that day, so I immediately bathed the hen, named Supermommy, in warm water.  While I was blowing her off with a hairdryer, Cyclingchicken brought the four day-old chicks into the bathroom.  Supermommy immediately began “talking”  to them, and took them as her own as if nothing bad had ever happened.   

The Brinsea Mini Advance is decidedly expensive for it’s small capacity.  I could’ve saved money buying a Hovabator and turner from Ace Hardware.  However, one thing I like about Robohen is that we can set it, and it automatically does most everything for us, even stopping the turning cycle two days before hatch.  I like being able to see the eggs from many different angles, and 7  is just about the right amount of eggs I like to deal with.  I don’t like styrofoam coolers with electronics stuffed-into them, and I don’t like my new chicks having to walk on wire mesh flooring.  We love our Robohen!

I have a friend whom I have traded poultry with for awhile now.  He took a liking to a Splash Modern Game we had named Snowflake, so I gave her to him.  She was already quite tame, but became more so with my friend, even riding on his shoulder wherever he went in the yard and chicken pens.  All that changed when Snowflake became broody, though.  My friend said she would attempt to take a hand off if it got too close, but she went back to her friendly ways once the eggs had hatched.  We recieved two of Snowflake’s offspring, Tutu and Little Bit.  They were immediately pressed into service being guardians for a batch of chicks, and did admirably well with them.  Tonight, Tutu would not come off the nest she was on, so we moved the covered cat litter box into the brooder in the storeroom.   If she stays there for 24 hours, then we will set the batch of eggs in Robohen under her to finish-out.  They have about 11 days left.

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