The Indian Game hen has hatched 8 of the 9 eggs placed under her 21 days ago.The 9th chick sadly failed to hatch despite having pipped all around the shell. The hen is one, if not the best of my broody flock.
At the end of November last year, she hatched and raised 17 chicks from 19 eggs, despite the dreadful winter and she is the first and so far only bird to have gone broody this season. I have four of her November pullets for sale, but as she is now 'getting on' in years I think I may keep a couple, hoping they will be as good a broody as their mother.
However for now a photo of 2013's first chicks to be hatched naturally - for me the best way. There is nothing like a mother hen and her chicks.
Photo: Indian Game hen and 3 of 8 Gold Duckwing Welsummer chicks
With the eggs under
the first broody of the season in the process of hatching I thought it
was time to post an update on this year's hatches. The
chicks from the 1st hatch of the year are growing at amazing rate and
now are probably more correctly termed growers rather than chicks. They
are 6 weeks old and for the past week have been living in the stable at
the yard without heat, but with a good covering of straw on the floor
and with boxes to bundle into together for warmth. At 8 weeks they will
be old enough to venture outside, as long as the weather is good and the
birds that have been reserved will be able to go to their new homes.
2nd hatch of the year are now 2 weeks old. They were also hatched in an
incubator, as my hens are very slow to go broody this year. At the
weekend they were moved from the pen with a heat lamp to a pen with a
dull emitter bulb, giving them a more natural day/night cycle rather
than constant light.
I have another batch of eggs set in the
incubator, as this year I have received many pre.orders for chicks to
P.O.L. At the weekend I candled all but the Welsummer eggs ( their
shells are too dark to see very much at 7 days) all were fertile. Photo: 1st hatch 5 weeks old just before their move to the stable
Photos: 2nd hatch: 3 days old.1 week old and 12 days old
So, so far this year all is going well. Fertility is close to 100%,
hatching rate not too far behind and the chicks to hatch are healthy and
strong. All I ask for now is for a few more hens to go broody and for
the weather to improve.
A week ago the first chicks of 2013 hatched. As no broodies were available I used the incubator. It was a mix setting of eggs mainly to test fertility and hatchability. Fertility was high with only one of the thirty eggs set proving to be clear when candled at seven days incubation. At seventeen days all the remaining twenty nine eggs had progressed as expected, of the twenty nine, twenty three hatched. I was expecting more. The main reason I believe was down to the atmosphere being too humid. Although I incubate dry, the incubator (for the first time) was located in the utility room. All the chicks to hatch,
however are very healthy and strong. At a week old they are jumping
about the pen trying out their wings, they are dust bathing and sparring
with each other, all signs of happy, healthy chicks. This week a second setting will go in the incubator as I am still waiting for my, usually reliable, hens to go broody.
At 11+ weeks old the cockerels from the Gold Duckwing Welsummer X Light Laced Indian Game hatch are beginning to grow away from the pullets of the same hatch. They are showing promise for good table birds, with strong legs and broad breast.
In a couple of weeks time I'll separate the cockerels from the pullets giving both sexes a chance to reach their full potential. Of the 17 birds to hatch there are 9 pullets and 8 cockerels. The variety of colour still amazes me and there are some very pretty pullets amongst them. ( Photo:The 3 birds in the foreground / centre of the photo show the variety in colouring of the pullets)
Although birds are often sold as POL at 18 weeks old I think 23+ weeks is probably more realistic for the more traditional breeds of which these are. If so the young pullets should come into lay around Easter time.
Today we moved the 'surprise hatch' chicks to the stable.They are now 7 weeks old and fully feathered.They have out grown the poultry shed at home and with the weather being so mild no longer require heat so other than moving them onto grass the stable seemed the best option. For now it is just too wet for them to venture outside but hopefully they will be able to soon. They have grown well, are very calm and I think a greater number of them are pullets.
Photo 1: Heads up - alert as the neighbouring hens call after laying.
Photo 2 & 3: Becoming braver and finding their food
Two weeks on and the young chicks are thriving. They are growing well and their feathers are coming through giving a hint of their colour and markings. It isn't the most economic time of year to be raising young birds as I
have been providing them with a little extra heat and light and they are
still indoors rather than on grass and probably will be for several
weeks to come. Once the turkeys have gone at Christmas they can be moved
to the stable where they will have more room to scratch and climb
about.They are a pleasure to watch though and any pullets should be POL
around Easter time.
The turkeys have grown well and as always have been nothing but a joy to raise - so entertaining and full of character.
All of the birds I have kept back from this years breeding season are
now reaching maturity. They are looking well and many of the pullets
have started to lay.
1 Gold Duckwing Welsummer pullet. - Still available
1 Light Sussex X Welsummer pullet. - Still available
All 12 weeks old.
Please eamil me for further information.
As I'm slow at adding new posts and not everyone uses Facebook, I have decided to add a ' Latest news ' section.
Todays news 23rd May:
Early days... but the Indian Game X looks as if she is going to be as good a broody hen as her mother. Each morning she gets off for a 5 minute break then staright back onto the eggs - none broken and all well covered, nest clean. She just needs to go the course now and be a good mother.
Her two hatch mates are still as broody as ever and are still for sale - if anyone would like to take a chance on them.
FRESH EGGS DAILY
Fresh Eggs for sale at the gate most days or if you prefer you can place an order.
£1.20 for 6.
2013 Breeding Season
2013 breeding season has started with a successful hatch of Partridge Welsummer, Exchequer Leghorn and Welsummer X Light Sussex chicks . I will be hatching regularly through outthe season.
So Chicks to P. O . L should be available. I am happy to take orders The breeds will be:
Gold Duckwing Welsummer Partridge Welsummer Exchequer Leghorn Partridge Welsummer X Light Sussex ( chicks sexed at hatch)
text me on my mobile. Mobile phone number: 07580829422
or phone: 01548 856311 and I will get back to you as soon as possible Hatching eggs sometimes available - collection only
Like generations before, we have for many years kept a few hens to provide us with a fresh supply of the tastiest eggs with deepest yellow yolks imaginable. Over time we have increased our numbers and now run small breeding flocks of Exchequer Leghorns, Gold Duckwing Welsummer, Partridge Welsummer and a mixed flock of traditional heavy breed birds to provide us with both meat and eggs.
We believe in caring for our birds in the most natural way possible, giving them all plenty of space to run free and mostly hatch and rear the young naturally using broody hens.