There are several reasons you may choose to hatch your own eggs rather than purchase day-old baby chicks or juvenile birds.
Excitement and Reconnection to the Life Cycle
The hatching of baby chicks is a cycle of life that was once familiar to most people,
but that we are now divided from. Many people picture chickens as dirty, smelly, stupid creatures
whose only purpose in life is to produce food. That mistaken idea is difficult enough to countenance
if you have ever kept chickens yourself, and even more so if you have raised them from baby chicks. However,
starting your chickens from eggs brings that disconnect into even sharper focus. When you hatch your
own eggs, you get to experience the excitement of candling and seeing their little shadows grow
inside their tiny shells. You get to see the eggs begin to rock back and forth as they position
themselves for their struggle out. You even get to hear--in the quiet moments of the latter days of
incubation--tiny muffled peeping from inside the egg. That moment always brings tears to my eyes.
They are calling for their mommies: a hen would cluck right back at them reassuringly. Without any
embarrassment whatsoever, I do my best to mimic that sound so they will feel comforted and so they'll
know me even from inside the shell.
The Beauty of the Hatch
Watching the eggs hatch is its own reward, as well. I have had visitors over for hatching day, all
crowding around the brooder window watching a little baby beak work its way around the shell, all of
us talking in baby voices and doing momma hen impressions, encouraging the little babies to come out.
The baby chicks always seem surprised--surprised and exhausted--at that last push that finally parts
the egg. They are so tiny, even in comparison to brand new day-olds you can get shipped. Those day-olds
are two or three days old when they get to you. Who would have thought there would be such a difference
in size in only that small amount of time? There is simply nothing like it.
More practically, if you want chickens as pets, the younger you have them, the easier they will be to
tame. This goes for any breed, even those that are not traditionally friendly. Flighty breeds may never
be as friendly as breeds that are inclined to it genetically, but if they have had the opportunity to
see you every day from the very beginning, they will likely be less flighty and nervous than otherwise,
and they can conceivably become very tame indeed.
Super Rare Breeds
In addition, when purchasing hatching eggs, you have the opportunity to get exceptionally rare breeds and unusual
colors that may not be available as day-olds or juveniles. My Pet Chicken offers some extremely rare
breeds and varieties as fertile hatching eggs.