welcome to my first blog of 2012. There is plenty going on here at Slate House Farm from planting fruit trees to hatching chicks. December 28th was the dawn of the
first hatching here, from the original 24 light sussex eggs, 20 were fertile and 16 little chicks made it out into the world. Sadly one chick had a deformed limb and had to be culled in the interest of its welfare. Two weeks on and 15 chicks are eating and pooping for Britain. Here’s a quick pic of the first hatch in the incubator;
We’ve also been planting some Fruit trees we picked up for a bargin from a local garden centre, into our existing orchard (if you can call it that), which has 8 tree’s, 2 of which I’m unsure what they are. We have added a Victoria Plum, Opal Plum, Concord Pear and Pixie Apple. So we’re looking forward to tasting our fruit and discovering the unknown tree varieties.
Last week I was invited by the local farmer on a shoot around his farm as a beater. It was great to get involved and meet lots of new local faces. Everyone was very welcoming. The Sloe & Damson Gin breaks were most welcome given the high winds and cold temperature. It was the farmers own brew, I must say both were very nice and I think we will be making some ourselves in 2012 🙂
We also took delivery of 8 Embden Goose hatching eggs last week, rather early in the season for geese. However I candled the eggs a little earlier and 7 of the are fertile and developing well. All being well they should hatch around the 4th of February. The incubation time for a goose egg is 29-32days, and unlike chicken and ducks which hatch like clock work on day 21 and 28 (respectively) goose eggs can hatch anytime from day 29 onwards.
Finally after a short trip to London for work, I returned this evening to the following little bundles of fluff in the incubator. The large black and two yellow chicks are all from my own hybrids hen stock. They have a Rhode Island Red cockerel running with them. I am hoping the they will produce some good eggs layers in the hens and ample meat in the cockerels. Only time will tell. The smaller chick (front right) is a Pekin X Scots Dumpy, he/she should be interesting to see develop with short fluffy legs.
Over the next few weeks I be looking to move the first hatch off heat an into an indoor rearing pen. This will only be for a few weeks whilst they get used to no heat, then they’ll move outside. The Kune Kune pigs are off the the sausage factory later this month so looking forward to some home reared pork.
If anyone has any questions on any aspect of poultry from hatching to health, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org