Last weekend saw our second blue marans hatch – this time twelve. Little disappointed as we set twenty four eggs – never had such a low rate – but we were breeding from a particular breeding group and eggs were limited, and we did set some eggs that were on the old side… maybe that was the reason? The fertility was high, but they didn’t pip. We also invested in a turning cradle, as turning the eggs five times a day is a bit of a commitment and makes going out for the day difficult.. so maybe it was that? Dunno yet.. but twelve is still a good crowd.
Thankfully, we had a broody hen (well three - like buses they call come at the same time), and we slipped the twelve chicks under our tried and tested broody who accepted them as her own – once again she sat on a plastic egg for a week and hatched 12 offspring and is sure she is very clever!
I do like seeing chicks being raised by a hen, she is so careful with them, taking them inside when it rains, and scratching the ground for worms, with a well practised routine she steps forward, the chicks rush away, she scratches the ground, finds some worms, they all rush in an scoff… and repeat. These chicks are on a high protein diet thanks to her.
Meanwhile the first hatch are looking good and like mini chickens at at seven weeks, and very happy in their large grassy run. In this hatch we have two gold tops, which we are naming Enid and Edna as this year is E and we plan to keep them. The reason we have these is for broody hen futures, my old broodies are knocking on and I am told a Goldtop – which is a gold silkie x light sussex is a good bet for a broody – The silkies are notorious for their brooding, but crossed with a larger hen, are a more sensible size with more sensible feathers etc…
I’ve never seen the attraction of silkies – I like ‘proper looking chickens’ – but actually these goldtops are great looking, and very friendly, so I might be a convert.
With so much more going on for us this year, we decided on just one hatch, so obviously the second hatch is a figment of our imaginations. As is the third in the incubator, the duckling situation, and the meat bird chicks on order. Obviously….