Tag Archives: chicks


Hatching has been and happened; even though I had the date written down and knew full well when it was going to happen it still seems to catch me out, for a started it happened a whole day earlier than it should have!

Hatching out - 4th March 2011

Hatching out - 4th March 2011

This was the first time I have used my new incubator (I have had it for over a year now though) and it has done pretty well. Seven out of twelve Silver Dorking eggs hatched, which possible doesn’t sound like the greatest hatch rate but it is still early in the year and I haven’t checked the others to see what was in them.

It does have one big design floor though as once the chicks have hatched and started to move around they can fall into the water pot which means I can’t leave them in there for the first twenty hours so as they absorb the goodness and anti-bodies from the yoke sack before feeding them chick crumbs and I lost one chick because it drowned itself before I realised the danger.

Silver Dorking chicks; 5 days old - 9th March 2011

Silver Dorking chicks; 5 days old - 9th March 2011

Sadly none of the Maran eggs hatched.

Hatching eggs

The eggs in my incubator are due to hatch on Friday, there are 12 Silver Dorking eggs from ebay, and 6 Maran eggs from a friend.

Hatching eggs - 28th February 2011

Hatching eggs - 28th February 2011

It is still early in the year so I am not expecting anywhere near a 100% hatch rate and I also haven’t candled them but love checking them each day and feeling the weight change as (I hope) the chick developes in its shell.

The Silver Dorking chicks are for my mother who got two young hens just before Richard Dorking died, always the way… It had been my plan to keep Silver Dorkings and breed my own chicks from Richard and Mrs. Dorking, who came from a freecycle member who was no longer able to keep their rare breed chickens, and I did hatch a few chicks but they were always weak possibly because Mrs. Dorking was so old and since she died during the bad snow the winter before last I have sort of given up of breeding pure breeds since then.

I would still like my ‘own’ breed though, I just don’t know what I want it to be! I got the Maran eggs as they are the very dark chocolately ones but I don’t really feel drawn to Marans as a breed as I love the old farmyard looking hens but who knows they might shin through when I have my own little flock of them

Dorking chicks

Whilst I was away some of my Silver Dorking chicks hatched

In the end I only ended up with six eggs as the seller who I bought the second half a dozen from chickens stopped laying. When I candled the eggs at twelve days then five out of the six seemed to have chicks in so I was a little disappointed to only have two chicks hatch, especially as I never normally bother to candle eggs, but they are still very sweet.

Silver Dorkings

There is another Silver Dorking egg hatched in the incubator, we’ve moved the last chicks that were left in our room outside a few weeks ago.

It had become so normal to have one kind of bird or chick, quail, gosling, etc. making a noise in the room that I almost didn’t even realise  when I heard the first cheeping that is was coming from the incubator at all.

A new chick hatching has bought up the question again about whether our bigger chicks are girls or boys…

Silver Dorking chicks are ‘sex-linked’ which means that they have different markings for girls and boys when they are born. I think from the markings that they had when they were born were boys, but now that their feathers are through I’m not so sure as they look more like the hens feathers then the cockerals.

Any way, whatever the two older chicks are, the one in the incubator is the other sort!

In the brooder

Ok, I didn’t manage to keep up with my intention to keep a recorded of what eggs went into the incubator but things have been moving pretty fast. I didn’t even really manage to keep track of the dates that different eggs were put in there either so every so often there has been a nice surprise of finding a chick of some sort or a pipping egg when checking on the incubators, in spite of that though we had done pretty well on the hatching front.

There is a Muscovy duckling/chick (?) who is the oldest, as it is the first one we have hatched out I’m guessing it is a boy. There is two Silver Dorking chicks, Silver Dorkings are ‘sex linked’ chicks so they have different markings when they hatch, from the pictures that I’ve seem on the internet they are both cockerels. There is a little white chick that was hatched under an Indian Game hen, they seem to sit ok but aren’t very good with there chicks afterwards we took the chick away as she was pecking at it.

And lastly there are the goslings, who are all doing well.

Left in the incubator there is the last of the goose eggs, that I don’t think are going to do anything but I wanted to given them a chance, some other eggs that were under the Indian Game, which I also don’t think are going to do anything but again want to give them a chance. Two Call Duck eggs that are due to hatch in a week or so, and some more Silver Dorking eggs that went in yesterday.

All go

Such a lot happened this weekend, some very happy and some sad. I had already started to blog about Saturday and was just going to post after taking some photos but then Sunday arrived and I didn’t so much as get to look at the camera. I have posted up Saturdays post as it was written, and I enjoyed writing it so much and I haven’t really felt like I have the time to enjoy writing lately so there it is, below.

I bought one of the kids in over Saturday night, who is now named Ada, she was the first born and the smallest and just a little bit slower to get going than the other two. All three are having top-up bottles so as we can make sure that they are all getting feed. Ada spent all night wrapped in a towel in a box with a hot water bottle firstly on the floor by my feet whilst I wrote, and then at the end of the bed. The kids seem to be a little premature, they have very soft hooves and are, not sleepy exactly, but not as active as day old kids are.

I got very little sleep during the night as Ada spent all night talking to herself and demanded a bottle at 2am and then a few hours later. I went out and checked that the other two were doing ok as well, but by the morning it was worth it as she was fine and starting to stand better like her sisters.

When I feed the other goats Maude was being odd, more than normally I mean, she wasn’t off her food but was being very picky about which bits she was going to eat. She then went and stood in the sun and her stomach was contracting and she had a far off, crazed stare on her face. So into a goathouse she went for about the third time in a week. It must be really annoying to be kept in whilst everyone else is outside, especially when you see no reason at all for it and are then let out again later with nothing have had happened.

Me and mother went to collect some boots from a freecycle member and move some of the donkeys to a fresh field with middle-younger-sister. I was still very tired so lots of tea and something good on Iplay was in order in between checks on Maude who wasn’t doing much.  I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to beat myself up about not doing anything productive for the afternoon. I had thought that even if it was raining I would at least get some tyres up to allotment and work out where the tomato bed was going to go.

I found Maude with her two live, health looking kids at about 6pm. Yay! A very large light coloured male and a very pretty female, both good sizes, especially the male and starting to get up and look for their first feed.

Maude's boyPICT0175

When I started feeding the other goats for some reason I picked up one of Fucshia’s kids and tried to stand it up but it couldn’t stand with its front legs, there just wasn’t any strength in them. Up to the house she came for a hair dryer and a warm bottle, she didn’t drink much of the bottle but seemed to have a full tummy. I left her in the house and went to feed and milk, but when I came back in the kid had gotten very weak and just wouldn’t get warm. Mother gave her a stomach tube and a dose of antibiotics as instructed by the vet and she picked a little bit and was wrapped in a towel and put in a box with a hot water bottle at the bottom of the bed but sadly didn’t make it through the night.

Since then this week has been a repeating of feeding, work, feeding, dinner and then bed with very little time for anything else but it is so nice to stand and watch the babies. They have all started to become naughty little goat kids, learning to do things like climb in and out of each other’s houses and even out of the houses into the pen a few times.

And this evening there is another new baby in the house, my first Silver Dorking chick has hatched and is as I type cheeping away to itself in the incubator. Hopefully some more will hatch and then the goose eggs that are in the incubator too.

Silver Dorking Hatch

I think it is almost time to give up on the Silver Dorking eggs that I have in my new incubator, something should of happened by now.

I’m disappointed, I was really looking forward to having chicks and the start of building up my flock


I’m a little bit last with everything this week, I went on a residental at the weekend which was great fun. It was in Wales by a beach, I haven’t been to the beach for ages and I also liked the beach at this time of year.


We spent loads of time on the beach and I collected one and a half carrier bags of cuttlefish for the quail. It made me really happy, and the quail love cuttlefish. They were all very sandy and some had bits of ‘meat’ on:


On Monday I was given some new quail as well. Someone contacted me about them a few weeks ago from a new quail forum I’ve joined. Any way, they are all lovely and I can’t wait for them to start laying.


And my quail eggs started to hatch yesterday. 

When I got home on Sunday night there was some babies in the kitchen:


They were born on Saturday night, their mum has been looking like she’s been going to kid any day for a couple of weeks now. I even spent last Thursday night getting up to check on her as she was looking ‘odd’. there really isn’t an easy way to explain how a goat, or anything else, looks before they give birth. There are all the signs you get once they have started but once you’ve lived along side animals for a while you just seem to know. It’s nice, it’s a part of living with animals that I really enjoy being able to communitcate without any sort of noise. And they do it back too, I often use to spend time in the goat pen/houses when I was younger just sitting or reading and they would know if I was up-set about something and always come and sit close and nussle my face. 

Any way, the kids mum wasn’t very good with them and kept knocking them across the house if the stood up so they are in the kitchen. Their mum is very up-set about it and crys everytime you walk past her house or go out to milk her (she’s also started drinking milk from herself) it’s very sad but if she’s going to treat her babies like that than nothing else can be done.

More meat chicks

Five weeks ago Mother ordered some more Ross Cobbs, the lady in Gloucester needed a minimum order of 50 chicks and as we’re only have 30 we were going to have to wait six weeks but she would let us know if any became available sooner.

Well she did get some sooner so me and Rhys now have 30 chicks in the brooder in our room.

The lady who sales them is in a very odd place in Gloucester, on the edge of a disused business estate, but I guess that just proves the point that you can go some way to producing your own food anywhere.