Monday, 15 April 2013

2013 update on hatching

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.

The 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.

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