Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The First New Chicks

Last year I incubated three lots of eggs - 27 with 21 hatching. Amazingly only 5 roosters and 16 hens. I kept four hens and two roosters and the rest were sold or bartered. Word got around that we were breeding Light Sussex hens and now I have pre-orders.
This year I will probably end up with lots of roosters so the process may take a while. Especially with Light Sussex it takes a long time to be sure of their sex. 
Our best layers are the Isa Browns and they are getting a little on the old side so I started with a clutch of their eggs. Their rooster has a fair bit of Barnevelder in him but I think they will lay well.

So I cleaned out the incubator, added the eggs and 200ml of water and waited. On Day 18 when I turned off the turning device and went to increase the humidity I had a scare. There was almost no water. I thought that I had not checked it often enough and that none would hatch or if they did they would be deformed. So I was very pleased when on Day 20 the first chicks emerged looking happy and healthy. Over the next 24 hours another four followed. While the smallest succumbed to a leg injury, possibly sustained by being bullied by its bigger brood mates, the other five are growing fast. They will have to mature quick enough to move out of the brooder when the next batch - this time some Light Sussex - crack out in another week.

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