Chicken Breeding Season, of Some Kind

It’s chicken breeding season. Obviously, I’ve had to lower my expectations this year. Things got started later than originally planned and I don’t know how many eggs I’ll be hatching or how far apart. However, I put 25 eggs into the incubator just over a week ago, so we are underway.

From the blue pen, fathered by Sage, there were 4 Jemima eggs and 7 Judith eggs. Jemima has been a bit overweight so hasn’t been laying as well. At least she’s getting some exercise now being chased by frisky Sage in the mornings. He’s still learning how to be a gentleman. Unfortunately, Ninja is in the wrong timing for breeding since she’s still growing her new feathers in. I may do another hatch of eggs out of Sage since I’m not going to keep him. If Ninja isn’t laying then I’ll have to hatch some eggs from her and Jack of Spades later on. I need to make sure she wasn’t tainted by the red feather gene line. Same with Judith.

(Edit: I later realised in my baby brain fog I had confused Ninja with Judith. Last time I spent a lot of time with the chickens Ninja was a lot lighter before her new feathers came in and her eggs before moulting were decidedly more elongated than they are now. Oops! Judith is the one who’s finishing moulting/regrowing feathers. The eggs are from Ninja.)

The Blue Pen: (left to right) Judith, Jemima, Ninja and Sage (the correct version).

From the black pen, fathered by Jack of Spades, there were 7 eggs from Morpheus, 6 eggs from Dahlia, daughter of Tiggywinkle, and 1 egg from Trillium, daughter of Trinity. I wasn’t going to hatch any eggs from the pullets yet but since there are less options now I added some in. Dahlia’s eggs are a bit bigger than the others’ so far, aside from the giant ones that Trillium sometimes lays, which are double-yolkers. I won’t hatch any from Magnolia as she is Jack of Spades’ full sister.

The Black Pen, headed up by Jack of Spades, on a rather windy day.
Ok, wind just doesn’t make for good photos.

Tonight I candled the eggs while The Little Fulla watched. Seven got chucked out because they were infertile or early deaths: 1 of Morpheus’, 3 of Jemima’s and 3 of Judith’s.The poorer outcome from the Blue Pen is probably because these chickens were moved out of the main flock, into a different coop and the hens haven’t been exactly thrilled to be stuck with Sage, who is on the young side for breeding and rather frisky with his newfound position of being alone with ladies. Also, Jemima’s flirtation with obesity isn’t helping. Ideally I would take out the auto-feeder and feed them a ration twice a day, but I can’t reliably do that just yet.

So, we are left with 18 eggs in the incubator:

  • Morpheus + Jack of Spades — 6
  • Dahlia + Jack of Spades — 6
  • Trillium + Jack of Spades — 1
  • Jemima + Sage — 1
  • Judith + Sage — 4

Now I have to decide whether to let broody Morpheus sit on some and when, or whether to hatch them all in the incubator and give her the chicks to raise. She did so well with being given lots of chicks last time. I just almost lost an arm in the process. When I get the Big Cage set up for her I think I will give her either Dahlia’s eggs or her own. Then I’ll have less to keep track of in the incubator. It’s a tricky decision because eggs will usually have a better hatch rate under a good broody hen, but then there’s the risk of them getting pooped on or stood on and broken. Morpheus has had a poop incident before. Maybe I’ll leave her own eggs in the incubator, just in case, as they are more important.

What do you think?

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