Other people’s hens seem to have been laying again for a while now and I have spent lots of time looking at different hens, comparing comb colour and worrying about egg eaters or wild birds getting in to the house and taking them before I get there.
There would have been a photo but it has already been cooked and eaten.
The oldest of the Silver Dorking chicks is looking very cockerel like, but as they are sex-linked chicks I’m not really surprised. Still it would have been nice to be wrong, if that one is a cockerel then so is the other so no hen chick for the minute. There are a few more eggs in the incubator but I’m starting to get inpatient, I only have a breeding pair so that is only one egg at a time and I don’t want to set to many eggs and have a big gap of ages in the brooder so tonight I have been looking at buying some eggs for hatching.
There are some very good plus sides to buying in eggs, any chicks would be unrelated to my cockerel and hen, my hen must be getting older now so it would be nice to have some other hens ‘coming up through the ranks’ for when she retires from laying. There are a lot of breeders out there selling all kind of eggs and day olds, but not too many selling Silver Dorking eggs or chicks, I have emailed some breeders and a few breeders of other verities too…
I put the first eggs in my new incubator last night, three goosy-lucy eggs.
I can’t really remember ever having hatched anything other than hen and quail eggs before, but I’m sure we must have hatched duck eggs when I was younger, so this will be interesting. The new incubator is a manual turner so I’ve got to remember to do it at least twice a day.
There’s still some room left in the incubator so I may add some more soon. I’ve written yesterdays date and ‘day’ on one side, and ‘night’ on the other.
I’m getting ready to hatch some quail eggs, I’ve been collecting the eggs and turning them for the past two days and the incubator has been washed and is running ready to put the eggs in on Saturday.
It seems like an ideal time of year for hatching now, especially after the disaster of the lot of eggs that I tried hatching in May, all the quail are inside for the winter now so it’s not an issue hatching chicks now and having to have them inside until the spring as everyone is inside any way. There is almost no chance of any thunder storms, which I’m sure was the many problem with the May hatching and if I set the eggs on Saturday hatching will happen around Christmas eve which means I will have a few days off for it but there will be other things going on so I won’t be as likely to keep wanting to have a peep inside to see what is happening.
Some of my current quail are getting on for two years plus now so their life expectancy isn’t that much longer either so I need to be replace them too.
Ever since I took over the pen of chickens that I’ve been looking after I’ve wanted to try breeding pure Silver Dorkings or Marsh Daisys, I’ve spent hours on eBay looking at hatching eggs and going through poultry forums for sale lists. I’ve even almost arranged buying eggs but whenever I’ve been able to hatch them then other peoples birds have been off lay and/or broody.
Any way, today mother and me went and collected my new Silver Dorking cockerel. I found him through the River Cottage Forum, and Rhys named him Richard (after Richard Dorking.)
Outside it is snowing, huge flacks but it’s been raining all afternoon so the ground is, touch wood, to wet for it to settle.
October has flown by; I’ve spent most of it working. I work right though from the 13th until the 22nd, two days off and now I’m back at work. Officially I’m on holiday, but only from one job this week. Next week though…
Everything is mostly indoors now, on the 12th I almost completely cleared up the vegetable garden. Planted out the kale and spring cabbage plants, pulled up all the nettles, potted up all the strawberry plants. The garden looks bare now, the purple sprouting plants are coming back well have being completely massacred by caterpillars. The sprouts are coming back as well, but the ‘sprouts’ aren’t forming as sprouts but leafy bubs. I thought that some of the red cabbages had survived the caterpillars but the remaining cabbages are rotting away at the stream and falling over.
We also mated Keris, Kniteshade is such a good boy. He could easily flatten any and all of us if he wanted to but he just does as he’s asked. Mother has taken him out for a few walks with the other goats and he’s been really good then as well.
Indoors I’ve been pickling lots of quail eggs, they are all indoors for the winter now and still laying at least one egg a day each. Working on pegloom-carrier-bag mats for the next LETS meeting.
Tonight mother took me out to buy my 21 birthday present, I didn’t know what I wanted when it was my birthday. I now have two drop spindles and a big bag of ‘rolls’ to play with. A while ago I was thinking about self-sufficiently and clothes, it’s just not practical to try to make all of your own clothes while working, tending to animals, processing food, etc. there just isn’t enough hours in the day but something on a small scale is doable. So I’m learning to make socks, right from spinning the wool to knitting them. That’s my plan any way, and that’s what I’m working on re-learning to knit and now spin.
I’ve never really had a good opinion of McDonald’s, they’ve always been up on my list of ‘greasy company’, and so I was really suspired to find that they hold a Good Egg Award.
“The Good Egg Awards seek to recognise companies that are making a difference to the welfare of laying hens by switching to cage-free eggs. Through this latest initiative, we celebrate companies that are helping to improve the lives of farm animals through their selling and purchasing decisions and thereby aim to encourage others to follow suit.’”
McDonald’s uses appox.81 million eggs per year and so around 300,000 hens benefited a year from the company buying non-caged eggs.
After growing up on a smallholding surrounded by ancient woodlands filled with beauty, adventure and the freedom roam as far as my little legs could carry me I am trying to creat a slice of the good life and a special place in the world that I can call my own... Without having to let go of any of the magic of childhood or join the Rat Race to get there