Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gearing up for the Hatching Season

Maybe it's the exceptionally mild winter weather, but I find myself getting spring fever already.

The biggest project this spring (other than continuing to fix up our homestead) will be building up our heritage bird flocks.

We finally sold off our extra male ducks, reserving only the best of the best which I will be hatching from.

Now if only they would start laying.....

It really should be any day.

Any day, now [taps foot].

Everybody is in vibrant health and really holding onto their feathers, and there is definitely lots of courting and mating going on. So it's got to be soon!

I probably won't set any eggs until at least next month, but we'll see how things go.

We still need to re-organize our garage to make room for brooders. Re-organize is an understatement, since we can barely get inside the door, at the moment. (Sorry, no pics - I'm too embarrassed.)

It would be nice to upgrade our incubation system from our single, still-air styrofoam unit, but all in due time.

Our main focus will be increasing our breeding flocks, but I have had a good number of inquiries about goslings, ducklings and hatching eggs. I just have to make sure I save plenty for us!

I would also love to add some more breeds.

We have a handsome Faverolle rooster, but he has no Faverolle hens (not that he minds, he has a colorful harem).

We sold off all of his sons not too long ago. They were nice and very lovely, but the hens weren't enjoying their ceaseless harassment.

So we we went ahead and pre-ordered some Faverolle hatching eggs from a family farm up north. We probably won't be receiving them until at least April.

I'm looking into other colorful heritage chicken breeds as well.

I love Marans and Barnevelders. Can we take a moment to admire the Blue Double-Laced Barnevelder?

Yes. WANT.

I'd like to offer a wide variety of feathers in my shop, in addition to preserving multiple breeds.

I also love Cayuga and Ancona ducks. Both are dual-purpose and would have nice plumage for craft sales - and colorful eggs!

Some strains of Anconas lay a rainbow of duck eggs, not unlike "Easter Egger" chickens.

Anconas themselves come in a wide range of colors, and they all have individual spotted patterns: black, blue, lavender, chocolate, silver, lilac and lavender.

Worth It Farms
Cayugas have that eye-catching, beetle green iridescence.

Image result for cayuga duck
Purely Poultry
They also lay a black and grey speckled egg, but this fades a bit as the season wears on.

Image result for cayuga duck egg

But one thing at a time.

For now I will work on preparing for the hatching season, and eagerly anticipating those first eggs...........

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