It’s Almost Hatch Time Again. How Did That Happen?

After thinking about many chicken coop name ideas, the coops now have brand spanking new names. The main coop will henceforth be known as Featherburn Lodge and the small coop will be The Henley Hut. Both of these names have high country New Zealand influences. There are many named huts in the bush, popular with trampers as overnight accommodation for long hikes. Henley is also a small location in Otago. The ‘burn’ in Featherburn also comes from Otago, where there are a few place names such as Bannockburn and Wedderburn. It seems I can’t help but bring a little bit of the South Island up north.

The incubator eggs are in lockdown: the final three days. I candled the 32 eggs on Day 8 to check on fertility and growth. Beforehand, I had noticed that some of Frodo’s eggs that I cracked for cooking weren’t fertile and I became worried that none of her incubator ones would be. My worries were founded, for none of Frodo’s seven eggs were fertile. Maybe she and Andrew weren’t getting down to business. It’s not like her to avoid the attentions of a rooster, except when she’s broody. And now, she’s broody again. So, I thought I’d utilise her proclivity for broodiness from lockdown time.

Aside from Frodo’s seven dud eggs, seven of the other eggs in the incubator were thrown out for being either infertile or very early deaths at Day 1 or 2. That leaves us with 18 altogether, which is a more manageable number anyway. Now, Frodo is sitting on two Blaze eggs and five Dorking-Sandy Whiskers cross eggs. Jemima’s eggs, Tiggywinkle’s eggs and one Dorking-Sandy Whiskers cross egg remain in the incubator. I thought I’d like to see one Dorking cross chick hatch to see what it’s like. Once the incubator chicks have hatched and I’ve marked the chicks to keep track of them, Frodo can have them all. Well, she wants to be a mumma!

IMG_20190718_190929553_HDR 3x2.jpg
Candling a chicken egg on Day 8. It isn’t the best photo, but the dark blob and red veins indicate that the egg is fertile and a chick is growing.
Look at these two posers: Andrew and Tiggywinkle. It’s almost like they know their babies are about to arrive.

Meanwhile, the three crossbred Paris pullets went to their new home, leaving us with the Paris boys and the purebred Australorps. It will be nice to have the Paris boys out of the way so I can better watch how the purebreds are developing. I butchered two chickens this past week, one of the Paris boys and Sandy Whiskers, the mature son of Paris. Well, ‘mature’ might not be quite the right word. Sandy Whiskers had become very annoying with his crowing, which was egging on Andrew through the fence.

Of all the roosters we’ve had, Sandy Whiskers had the most annoying crow. We might as well have had an elephant in the backyard. Despite what the books say, most roosters don’t say, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” Somehow, the roosters that have only three ‘syllables’ in their crow make the loudest, most powerful noise. Thomas was similar. The call of Sandy Whiskers sounded something like, “Err ERR AAAAEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!” And it was very frequent. Darrington had five ‘syllables’ in his crow and he was the quietest, comparatively, of all the roosters we’ve had.

Anyway, crowing analysis aside, I didn’t want Sandy Whiskers around anymore. There has been a lot going on lately and I reminded myself that the Dual Purpose Meat Bird Side project is just a side project after all, and since I didn’t want to keep Sandy Whiskers in the long term, I might as well get rid of his annoyance. Andrew is pleased and much more happy. The two Dorking girls that were with Sandy Whiskers have gone back into the main flock and I got The Henley Hut all cleaned out and sprayed, just in time for broody Frodo to settle in there and be given some of the incubator eggs for the final days. So that all worked out very nicely. We have four young Paris boys left to butcher in the next week or so and the chicks due to hatch on Wednesday.

Some of the flock, including Mittens, one of the Dorkings, on the left.

The Little Fulla and I recently went to the Waikato Poultry Show. Aside from  show birds, there were chickens for sale there, and somehow, probably wisely, we didn’t come home with any. There were a lot of bantam Australorps, and I have to say, it took a lot of willpower to walk past those cute wee things. I was quite taken with a different kind of chicken. I think it was a crele Leghorn. I was so mesmerised by the rooster that I forgot to look at the card on his cage. Crele is a colour that I’m not familiar with, but I don’t think it will remain that way forever, if you know what I mean… I’ll leave you with just some of the beautiful birds that were at the show.

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