Saturday 5 January 2013

Hatching the 2013 hens

An unusual kitchen appliance - holds 180 eggs
January is the month for sitting by a warm wood fired stove; reading or  blogging, taking it easy, idling and planning for the year ahead. The first item on the " to do list" is to get the incubators out, cleaned and installed in the kitchen. They have to be in the kitchen as they need an ambient temperature of  at least 15C, everywhere else is too cold and draughty.  Mid month is an ideal time for the first setting of eggs and this year I want to get almost everything hatched and reared in one batch.  The earlier hatched birds tend to be bigger and as they grow the day length increases,  reaching 16 hours a day just as they start laying in June.

The little red hen a Silkie x Lt. Sussex
Any later hatches of ducks or even geese will be small scale and natural; hatched and reared by a broody hen. Among the first batch for setting are a dozen eggs from Eire, Silkie x Light Sussex, these are the best broodies and should be available for hatching from late summer. Perhaps better if you can get them are Indian Game x Silkie hens, they used to be considered to be "hot" broodies because of their bigger breasts and legs they could cover more eggs at a slightly higher temperature.

There should be a batch of Bresse Gauloise eggs coming from France and Ixworths from England, all of these batches have to arrive at the same time for setting and simultaneous hatching. After hatching they'll go into the new "high security" predator proof brooder house, it looks like a Securicor van without the wheels. 

Given our regular power cuts I also have to ensure that the generator starts first pull and keeps on running.

No comments: