Wednesday, 12 March 2014

First hatchings of the year

We invested in a new incubator this year, there is nothing wrong with our old one other than it only holds 24 eggs and this new one holds 48 hen eggs. It is just as easy to look after 48 chicks as it is to look after 24.
We collected the eggs from all three hen houses, the Indian Game, the Light Sussex and the Barnevelders and set them in the incubator. After seven days I candled the eggs to check fertility and dispose of any infertile eggs. Sadly all the Indian Game eggs were infertile, but we expected this as they are usually a bit later in the season. So we were now down to 31 eggs. Another 14 days and we would see how successful we would be.

The night before day 21 the eggs started to crack and the excitement began to build. I was banned from touching the incubator for the next two days as I normally remove shells as they hatch, assist where I shouldn't and generally do things I shouldn't. So the incubator was not to be touched until 48 hours was up, by that time the ones that will hatch will do so and anything left are just not meant to make it. It's hard, but we do it and they are soon popping out throughout the next day and a few the following morning. 

After 48 hours we have 26 little fluffy chicks, 14 yellow (Light Sussex) and 12 brown speckled (Barnevelder). The remaining eggs had no movement in them so they were left to go cold.
The chicks were scooped up and put into the brooder house in the spare room and they will be moved to the shed in a few days where they will stay for the next 5 weeks. Once they are feathered and the weather is warmer they will occupy the old cockerel house to continue growing.

It was a bit of a test for young Jes, she was only a small puppy when we had the chicks last year, so she would have to relearn not to touch. She is use to catching mice and rats now and these are similar just different squeak and they flap. She did try to grab one but got scolded and hasn't tried again. You can't see in the photo but both dogs are licking their lips!

We are currently collecting another 48 eggs to re set the incubator, we are hoping to have more chicks this year and in a shorter period of time. So far so good.

And so another year begins.
All the best
Stell and Diz

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