It’s now exactly 28 days since the original 11 eggs went into the incubator. Two didn’t develop at all, and one looked infected at around the halfway mark. That left us with eight. As I write, we have seven lively ducklings! Increasing the humidity in the R-Com 20 incubator seems to have paid off.
I caught the hatch of number 4 on camera. The third had just hatched, and her cheeping and movement may have encouraged the fourth to emerge. Here’s the hatch in pictures:
Some pipping action is visible, and as we watch, more holes start to appear in the shell
We’re hatching a clutch of duck eggs for a friend at the allotments. When we last checked, 8 out of the original 11 were still viable. The first surprise came yesterday afternoon, when the three-day hatching phase commenced. A couple of eggs had already started to pip, 48 hours earlier than we would have expected. You can see the first little chips in the shells as the ducklings start to hatch.
The weather’s on the turn, although we got a spectacular show of hoar frost again at the allotment.
We went down to the allotment nice and early, because the drinkers clearly weren’t going to thaw without intervention. Much antifreeze was needed simply to unlock the gate!
The new bantams were fine, although they still form a little group of three, and haven’t fully integrated. But, thank goodness, there was no sign of bullying.
We saw a post on the Practical Poultry Forum which told a sad story. A predator had wiped out a flock of bantams, leaving only three survivors. The young lady who kept them wanted to find a new home for them. They sounded lovely, so today we picked them up and introduced them to our existing flock.
So we have another Wyandotte, a silver pencilled one this time. She’s being given the once-over by our senior hens, the chocolate Wyandotte and the white Silkie:
It’s not the happiest month for chickens. The plentiful windfalls and surpluses of autumn have gone, and cold winds have started to blow through the run, in spite of the sheltering straw bales. But we’re keeping their spirits up (and, we hope, their health) with cabbages and broccoli to peck at.
The Light Sussex garden hens are still quite shy, although not as scared of the squirrels and local cats as they once were.