Firstly, welcome to my new blog. I’ll be talking about all things poultry related, but mainly my own wonderful birds, their daily antics, and hopefully I will be able to pass on some tips and encourage people who are thinking of keeping back yard poultry to jump in and do it!
I only have a small garden but keep chickens (Darcey, Daisy, Dandy, Treacle & Eve), drakes (Bumble & Bee), ducks (Erin, Alice, Topaz & Jade) and quail (Ping, Pong & Yang).
April and May are wonderful months for poultry keepers – hatching time! At the moment I have Eve, who is a Silkie crossed Sussex sat on four duck hatching eggs. A broody hen can make a wonderful mum to ducklings as well as chicks and many breeders prefer to use the broody hen over the broody duck as they tend to make more reliable mothers, managing to sit the full 28 days for ducklings and then they raise them without a care that they are not in fact growing up into chickens.
Eve started sitting on 22 April so the 28 day countdown is on. You count the first day as Day Zero so these should be due to hatch on 21 May, but nature never quite works on schedule so I will be ready with all the feed for them well in advance as well as having emergency brooder facilities just in case anything goes wrong with the hatching.
Eve is so far proving to be a good mum, she has finally remembered that she should go back into the broody coop and not the main coop (silly chuck kept going back and sitting on thin air for the first few days so I had to scoop her up and show her where she had left her “babies”). In the morning she takes her 20 minute break from sitting, but then it is straight back to sitting for the rest of the day.
I will of course keep you updated on the progress of the duckling hatch, with pictures when they arrive! If you are interested in hatching your own poultry, either by incubator or with a broody, why not visit the Forums where experienced and new poultry keepers alike will chat with you about their experiences. You may also want to read up on the Poultry Pages about hatching and raising all different types of poultry in the back garden or on a larger scale.