Saturday, 17 August 2013

In a blink of an eye...

........yet another month has past by.

Autumn is fast approaching. There is a definite nip in the morning air and the evenings are drawing in. Everything is beginning to wind down. The hens are beginning to go into their annual moult and are laying fewer eggs. They are going to roost earlier each night and waking later each morning.

A few birds however are hanging onto the hope of an Indian summer and are broody. Despite my intention of ending this years breeding season with the hatch due in a couple of days I have decided to take advantage of one of the broody hens and do 'just one more hatch'.  - Welsummers.

The chicks hatched from the incubator a week ago are strong, healthy and full of life. Four have already gone to a new home to be cared for by a broody hen.

Photo: Latest arrivals one day old

 The 'Twenty Good Layers' have also been delivered to their new owner. They were the largest single 'hatch to order' of hens I have done this year. It proved to be quite a challenge as many of the early hatches were cockerel heavy but I was pleased with the finished flock and more importantly so was the customer.

Thoughts now are turning to plans for next year. As this years cockerels mature those showing promise are being selected as possible stock birds. Decisions are being made for new housing and new pens.

My biggest decision of all is whether to buy in a flock of utility laying hens to help meet the demand for fresh eggs. At present I keep a closed flock and have only traditional pure breed hens.
The hybrid flock would be kept separate from all the other groups and kept for laying purposes only.

A decision I have come to, somewhat reluctantly, is to sell my Gold Duckwing Welsumm
er stock cock. He is a smashing bird and has proved his worth over the last two breeding seasons producing many strong, healthy chicks with good markings and dark egg laying pullets. However next year I intend to use one of his sons and just don't have the room to keep too many cockerels.

Photo: Gold Duckwing Welsummer cock. 2011 hatch.

1st photo: Late 2011
2nd photo: August 2013

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I have just given in to a broody, a silver grey dorking, who has four ixworth eggs to sit on. These won't have time to grow into the big birds I need for showing, although the genes will be there, but I think they'll probably end up in the freezer.