The duck hatch was so successful we set some eggs from our mostly New Hampshire flock. Somebody gave us a gold laced Wyandotte and a Buff Orpington so those eggs were mixed in as well. We can sift those chicks out as they hatch striped, not a big deal. They started hatching Thursday night and will have to be finished Sunday morning so I can set more eggs.
We are attempting to hatch our own replacement layers this year. Approximately 20% of the eggs we get are not New Hampshire eggs. 50% of those remaining will be males. And we shouldn’t expect to hatch more than about 75% of the eggs we set. That means I probably only get 12 pullets every hatch. I’ll be hatching for a while. It would be better if I would just go separate those two hens from the flock but the kids like the striped chicks.
For now we are brooding in a 300 gallon Rubbermaid trough in the back room. Really, this is just a place to keep the chicks warm until we free up brooder space in the greenhouse. (AKA we kick the ducks out). We’ll need nicer weather before we do that.
This is an awful lot of fun and could be the beginning of generations of NHR chickens on our farm. Their mothers and fathers (plural) have survived 2-3 years of heat, cold, wet and dry. Some of their peers didn’t make it. Hopefully, in a few generations, we’ll have birds that are genetically predisposed to success on our farm.
Red birds? Red cows? I sense a trend.