A Catch Up Post

So it’s been a few months of drama around here – not that you’d guess it given the complete lack of blog posts (sorry!)

When I last left you, we were enjoying our new chick, Speckles, and waiting for our first lot of eggs to hatch in the incubator. Well, it was a bit of a disaster all round. Speckles developed paralysis of the legs and died not long after. It was a very sad day around here as he was a real little character, spending his time flying up and onto his mum Sophie’s back, riding around on her back until he’d slide off. Here he is perched under Sophie:

The ill-fated incubator hatch:
That was followed by a long and agonising hatch in the incubator. Using a new incubator, and being new to incubating, we were still learning what we were doing (despite reading the manual a thousand times). Hubby had mentioned that he suspected the turning mechanism hadn’t been working properly for the first five days of the incubation period. I’m guessing he was right. Of our dozen eggs or so eggs, only one hatched. The chick, a little black thing, struggled to break through the shell, taking much longer than what I’ve read should be the case. I stood by watching from the viewing holes, but powerless to intervene – according to everything I’ve read you really should let nature take its course. Despite the chick finally breaking free of the shell, it never stood or walked but lay down and died. Honestly, it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch and has completely put me off hatching eggs in the incubator, at least for now.

Here’s a pic of the ill-fated egg hatch being set up:


And the incubator:

The Storm:
A little while after that I decided to take the kids into town to stay for a night and came home to discover there had been a storm big enough to knock out our phoneline, internet and electricity. It also managed to blow up our modem. Nice. The computer, hooked up to a surge-protector, survived (apparently surge-protectors work, who’d have thought?) The electricity was sorted within a day, the phone and internet took a lot longer. After a couple of weeks and several attempts later our phone was up and running again.

New Chicks:
So, given our disasters with hatching, hubby decided to get a few chicks from a feed store down in the big city. The chicks were (supposedly) sexed to ensure we wouldn’t get a rooster, and came with a rooster-return guarantee. We thought we’d give some purebred chicks a try to see which breeds we preferred. We took home one Light Sussex (“Lemon”), one Barnevelder (Crรจme), and one New Hampshire Red (“Butterscotch”). Given the fact that it was summer in the sub-tropics, no heat lamp was required which simplified matters.

Here the new chicks are growing up:

First day home: Butterscotch and Lemon (being handled by the kids)
First day home: Butterscotch, Lemon and Creme (left to right)
Chicks’ first outing to the tomato bed
All grown up: Lemon (big Light Sussex chicken to right) and Creme (dark Barnevelder chicken to left)

Oh, yes, and true to our usual form, two out of the three chicks were roosters. Crรจme and Lemon both started crowing a couple of days ago! I suspected, given the neck and saddle feathers and general behaviour, but that confirmed it. We’ll be sorry to see either of them go as they have been beautiful chickens. Lemon, the Light Sussex, is a particular favourite. Ah well!

A lot more has been going on! I’m going to make an effort to post shorter updates more frequently ๐Ÿ™‚

Upcoming in the next post (not three months from now, promise!) – Giant Birds of Death, Tornadoes in the Sky and Other Less Dramatic Stuff.

Hope you’re having a great week,

4 thoughts on “A Catch Up Post

  1. Sad to read of the demise of Speckles and the little hatchling ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ’tis the farming life I guess though! I always found it so heart wrenching and totally get that it’s put you off the incubator!

    How lovely the new ones are though! So majestic! Looking forward to reading the next update with the goings on ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, things have been very dramatic at your place! I’m sorry to hear about wee Speckles. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Do you think it could have been Marek’s? It usually surfaces around the age of 9-11 weeks. But there are other things that cause paralysis too. You are quite adept at getting boys! It must be a special kind of skill. ๐Ÿ˜› Mind you, both my current chicks appear to be boys so I can’t laugh too much. Lydia’s Junior is a little nutcase so goodness knows what I’m going to do with him in the coming weeks. Never mind, we can always get more, can’t we…?

    I hope you can suss out your incubator. I’ve heard that a lot of people buy a little thermometer and humidity gauge to put inside their incubator for more accurate readings. I don’t know if that would be helpful, but the turning thing is a bit of a doozy. I really have taken the easy route by getting Frodo to hatch all my eggs but it would be a different story, probably akin to yours, without my super broody. None of her daughters have been broody yet so Frodo is my one precious incubator!

    Looking forward to more updates. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Twiglet, yes I was wondering if it was Marek’s, especially after reading the issues you’ve had with it. And I think you’re right about our talent for getting boy chickens. We have some sort of rooster-seeking skill. Junior sounds like a bit of a handful!

    The gauge inside the incubator sounds like a good idea. I didn’t fully realise how critical the humidity levels were to hatching. I also wonder whether it was too dry – the reservoirs had run dry at one point and I didn’t realise. So many areas for novices like me to go wrong! I would much prefer to use a broody hen like you. It takes so much of the ongoing maintenance and regulation of temperature, etc. out of the equation.


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