My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


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Brinsea mini advance incubator hatching photos

The first time I used my incubator, I had a complete failure (problem was with the eggs, not the incubator). This time I had five eggs hatch out of six.

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When I got home from work there was one chick hatched and another two hatched shortly after. (I think the second two waited for me to get home so I could watch them.)

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Then another one pipped. You can see the little egg tooth peeping out.

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Then it zipped it’s way around the egg.

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Then it pushed on the shell to make enough room to get out.

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Hello world.

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Exhausted and time for a sleep. After all, the pip did start at 7pm and the chick greeted us at 1:30am. Ah, hrrm, yes, well I did sit up watching the whole time. It was my first hatch after all. One of the previous chicks pipped, zipped and greeted us all within 20 minutes. These are Speckled Sussex chicks.

 


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A new incubator and a terrorising rooster

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My chickens do not go broody so I bought an incubator.

Well, that is not entirely true of course. Aunt Dorrie, my bantam has been broody many, many, many, many times before but for numerous reasons, has not resulted in any chicks.

It all seemed to happen at once. We decided to increase our egg production and bought two beautiful Plymouth Barred Rocks in their first year of lay.

We also bought an incubator to hatch some of our own eggs since we had two roosters and were not having any luck with broody hens. Hannah Hen did go broody a few years ago and hatched chicks from fertilised eggs we bought, but hasn’t been broody since. Possibly something to do with the fact that she is almost 8 years old. The two Barnevelders have never been broody in their three years.

So an incubator, it is.

The weekend that the Brinsea Mini Advance incubator arrived, happened to be the same weekend that the Plymouth Barred Rocks arrived and the same weekend that we had King George put down.

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The following weekend we had to get rid of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

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With King George gone, Jonathan Livingstone, my Silver Spangled Hamburgh, took his place but as the main rooster he started terrorising my girls. He chased them relentlessly. They were running for dear life and squawking and even flying against the glass doors to get away from him. Hilda, my usually slow moving Barnevelder, ended up running into the hen house with Jonathan close on her heels. She jumped into the nesting box to get away from his terrorising advances. Jonathan relentlessly paced up and down the hen house waiting for her to get out of the nesting box. He finally gave up and came out and chased the others. Hilda stayed in that nesting for a full 24 hours.

Needless to say all egg production ceased that weekend and Jonathan was “taken away” the very next day.

So now I have an incubator and no roosters. If I could get some eggs into the incubator this week, fertility shouldn’t be an issue. With George having been so ill, he had not been doing his roosterly duties but Jonathan more than made up for that. But did I really want his aggressive genes in any of my chicks?

We were going away on holiday in a few weeks time and if I set the incubator this week, we would be away when the eggs hatched. That would be no good.

So we set a mixture of Barnevelder and Plymouth Barred Rock eggs in the incubator a week or so later. The chances of the eggs still being fertile were fairly low, but it is worth a try. I have low expectations so won’t be too disappointed if nothing hatches.