Expect the unexpected

We just finished up the second hatch of the year, and it was a bit disappointing. There are so many variables involved when incubating eggs, especially ones shipped across the country, and many people end up with no viable chicks at all. We started out with 28 New Hampshire eggs and 3 homegrown Olivers and ended up with 4 New Hampshire chicks and all 3 Olivers.

Four New Hampshire chicks and 3 Olivers.
Four New Hampshire chicks and 3 Olivers.

Shipping distance, temperature of eggs before incubation, time of year, parent’s nutrition, incubator flucuations and operator error can all play a part in how each hatch turns out.

A second generation Oliver chick with Marans coloring.
A second generation Oliver chick with Marans coloring.

Needless to say, 4 chicks isn’t enough to start a breeding flock, so another dozen from a different breeder will arrive this week. Most poultry breeding literature advises that only the best 10% of chicks hatched will be worth keeping, so we have a lot more work ahead of us in building up a quality flock.

Pale yellow New Hampshire chick.
Pale yellow New Hampshire chick.

Chicks from our previous hatch are getting closer to full-grown, and we’re starting to evaluate them for breeding potential. We’ll keep all the pullets until they start laying so we can decide which have the conformation and egg color that we’re looking for. But we only need one roo from each breeding group, and we won’t wait too much longer to make our choices.

Young roosters awaiting their fate.
Young roosters awaiting their fate.

It’s been raining off & on for most of the past week, and many projects and chores are on hold until the sun returns. Even though it’s almost June, sometimes an evening fire in the woodstove is just the thing to burn off the damp. Bismarck especially likes the heat, and usually relaxes in the rocking chair by the hearth.

Otto von Bismarck, his serene highness.
Otto von Bismarck, his serene highness.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s