Friday, 16 May 2014

Eggs away

We cleared a space in the guest bedroom to set up the incubator.  It used to go in the small room, where the organ lives.  However, the organ was replaced by Orla last year, and now gets played every day.   It's not practical to put the incubator and paraphernalia in there.

Hopefully no one will want to come and stay in the next 3 weeks or so - we put 20 eggs in the incubator yesterday.   

 Our well thought out plans (fitting around DH's need to parent-sit) were  trashed by Norman, who had decided to go broody.  This also impacted on our plans to put Henry plus a select few girls (incl Norman) into their own run for a few days, so we could be sure which chooks we were collecting from.

Norman (and her sisters) are 5 years old now.   Norm was hatched under her mum, but her mum abandoned her.  We brought her home and put her in the brooder along with her cousins/brothers/sisters, who were all a couple of weeks older than she was.  

She was tiny in comparison to them,  but always did whatever they did - she had no idea that she was so much younger.    We were convinced she was a cockerel (she used to square up to us all the time), right up to the day she laid an egg.
Guess which blonde bombshell is Norman?

As Norm is 5 now, I really wanted to have a chick from her (even if it won't look anything like her because the father is Henry).

Anyway, The day after Norman came out of broodiness, we shut her in a separate run with Henry for a few hours.  Hopefully Henry did his job properly.   We then shut the Norman's sisters (SiouxsieSioux and NotNorman) in the run, so that we would know that any of their distinctive eggs laid elsewhere would be Norm's.

Norm laid one egg.   

The sisters were inadvertently let back into the run with everyone else,  so the second egg that we collected might or might not be Norm's.

We also collected one egg from Siouxsie or NotNorman from the day the were shut in together.  And second egg which could be from anyone of them.

We stared at all the eggs for sometime, and discussed what to do. 

I wanted a baby Norman.  Obviously, it would be a half-Norman, but a half-Norm is better than no Norm. I like the other two, but it's Norm that I want to keep a piece of.

If we hatch eggs that might be from the Sisters, we might not be able to tell... unless we are lucky, and the chicks inherit Norm's blondness.   It's unlikely as Henry, the father,  is black.

But then I realised that if we intend to keep a female hatchling, we'll need to keep a couple of them, to give them any chance of being integrated with the established flock.   Hatching just the two eggs doesn't give us much chance of getting 2 girls. 

In the end, they all went in the incubator.   In the unlikely event that we end up with 4 girls, we'll probably keep all 4 of them.

That left 16 spaces for other eggs.  We looked at  the 18 other eggs we had collected over 3 days. They all looked viable, no odd shapes.   We could see that one hen had contributed 3 eggs, so we took one of hers out.   16 is too many really, we don't actually want that high number of chooks to hatch.   However, Henry has a large harem, and so we can't be entirely sure that he's covering them all.

In the end we put 16 in, plus the 4 NormanFamily eggs in.

We'll see what happens. 

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