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
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
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 started some more eggs off in the incubator the Friday-before-last, I bought 24 White Texas A&M eggs to try and have 11 of my own eggs in there as well. The time has gone really quickly, they’re due to start hatching a week tomorrow.
I’ve only put in eggs from one of my quail houses as I didn’t have a very good hatch rate last time. Out of 22 eggs, 5 hatched (but only 3 lived), 2 dead in shell and the rest of the eggs were empty. When I started to think about it I realized that the male in the house with the most girls is about 2 – 2 ½ years old, which is very old by quail standards. I will see how this hatch goes and possibly do some moving around, I’m just not sure what to do with the old male if it turns out he’s no longer fertile. I don’t want to having him living on his own, but I don’t want to keep him with hens that I could be using for breeding. I’ll just have to see.
I’ve started keeping a log this time as well, it’s part of my ‘be more organized in 2009’ plan.
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.)
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