Improved Indian Game Pullet.

If there were 2 things I would, if I had the backbone or whatever it is you need to have when giving something up you enjoy…do.

I smoke very heavily, as I feel I need to give more than just the tax on my old age pension to our wonderful treasury to squander on lost bloody causes like the long term unemployable and foreign bloody aid.

I wake myself up most nights with a wheezing chest and fall back to sleep with the knowledge that, come morning, hopefully, I’ll be back in my greenhouse/shed/my space toking on another Benson and Hedges busting a lung in a self destructing hope that some bugger somewhere who benefits from my chucking  a large percentage of £7+ at a packet of fags appreciates the sacrifice I make on their behalf…so, if your there reading this a thank you Dave would not go amiss.

The other thing I need to address is my compultion to breed more birds. I have far to many already, but have just set another incubator full (48).

I have about 16 broodies sitting, but only 2 are sat of viable eggs. The others are on dead eggs. The chicks from test hatches are doing well, some are now 15 weeks and looking like being what I’d hoped them to look like.

 

The best test by far was a batch of ‘ Improved French Marans’ these are another step towards a dark egg laying table bird or a dual purpose dark egg layer. They hatched with attitude and almost forced the top off the incubator at 24 hours old. I had to move them out of the brooder box by day 5, as they were just bouncing around the box.

They were moved into a broody coop under a 150 watt dull emitter and a low wattage lamp of about 20watts for light. By day 10 I had them on greens (Clover) and they were perching by 16 days. The whole hatch looks full of bounce and I’m re hatching some more in case something happens to the rooster I bred them from.

Improved Marans hatch day.

These are by a very good rooster (Welsh Black) penned with 6 black and  blue French copper Marans 2 year old hens.

The hens are from an improved line which is now a 5th season strain, selected for egg color and general vitality and how the bird handles laying and feather retention balance. I like to see a bird looking in reasonable condition well into a laying season, as it indicates she is fit and agile enough to get the protein it takes to lay and keep feathers on. Not all birds do look in good nick, some feather loss is inevitable, but birds that look like battery hens that are free ranging should not really be bred from or at least monitored careful for the color and amount of eggs she lays.

It’s impossible to keep on top of everything if you have to many birds to look after, feeding and watering has to be done, cleaning and general bird welfare comes well before sitting in the house watching television. It all takes time and effort, but I don’t want to keep birds in squalor so stock comes first.

I have been trying to reduce my numbers for a couple of years and have bred towards just having 1 breed. A breed that does what it says on the tin. I want a dark brown egg laying dual purpose bird that will lay and be a calm sitter a breed that it’s worth taking the cockerels on for table birds with the knowledge that corn prices are going to get higher, in fact a dark brown egg laying Welsh Black.

Over the next month or 2 I shall move on most of my birds, as there is no way I can cope with another winter like the last 2 caring for this many birds. My health suffered last year and my OH (other half) has already bought a bungalow in Hay-on Wye with a short term view of moving into civilization and I need that like I need another hole up my arse, so some birds have to go.

The eggs I put in today (OH away on a holiday) are Improved French Marans and a few tests from breeding pens after rooster swapping, which is a mid season way of gene swapping in a strain/line. Using the best of the hens still looking fit and healthy and still producing with another rooster, usually related to the out coming rooster to see if a different gene mix throws out any interesting chicks.

Improved Indian Game with Welsh Black hens.

Record keeping must be practiced as after a few weeks you will forget which grower came from which pens of birds.