Our neighbour entrusted us (or rather George our sitting bantam) with another 8 precious eggs. We checked them on Monday and one was crushed which left 7. The other 2 bantams seem to have lost their broodiness and so we excluded them from the Eglu completely to avoid any more ‘accidents’ and ‘fowl deeds’. They were a bit miffed to say the least with the quality of the alternative accommodation on offer and Saturday evening I spent nearly half an hour chasing them round the little wooden run loaned by our neighbour, shepherding them in like a scene from ‘one man and his dog’ through a very small sliding door with wide arms and a garden cane. The same happened on Sunday but thankfully by Monday they’d got the message and put themselves to bed in the temporary run, tempted in by a trail of corn.
The trouble with the run is it’s quite low, so Katty Clean Doors the Silkie, being tall, has to crouch when she’s inside. It’s also not very waterproof and when it rains the food gets wet and so do the girls as they don’t seem to have the sense to go inside the ‘bedroom’ section to shelter. If we are successful with the eggs there is the potential for us to have growing chicks through into autumn and winter and life outside the Eglu would be very miserable for Georgette and Katty Clean Doors in the other run.
As luck would have it, a second hand but still boxed ‘as new’ Eglu with run became available and so we decided to treat the ladies to an upgrade. Very posh it is too. I hope the girls appreciate the lengths we have gone to as this has been couriered 439.4 miles from Cornwall. It arrived this Thursday afternoon…..
They seemed very interested initially.
George was having a break from sitting and was first to venture inside.
She approved but is now back in the purple Eglu on her eggs. The other two are now sleeping pretty in pink !
We’re not having much success hatching our neighbours eggs. Having waited another 3 weeks, of the 8 eggs she gave us, 3 hatched successfully, 3 were fully formed but never made it out of the eggs and 2 were a no show.
This time we excluded the grey Lavender Pekins and they spent most of the 3 weeks running round the outside trying to get in. Phil checked on Monday and found the Silkie finishing off one of the chicks. That left 2. The same day the Silkie was out in the run with the remaining 2, one of which strayed too close to the edge of the run and was attacked through the mesh by the evil Gray Twins. Phil had to despatch it.
That left us with one. The Silkie and last chick were transferred to the other run which has solid sides. The next day however It had jumped up into the water dish and drowned.
Many lessons learned. We are hoping to give it one last try……
Hard to believe it’s three weeks ago that we put another 8 eggs under our Silkie bantam and this weekend is the big hatch. This time we are better prepared as last time all three bantams piled on the nest with lethal consequences. This is natural behaviour as the presence of a clutch of eggs in the nest and a broody hen makes all the others broody too. Unfortunately, the three hatched chicks were smothered.
Yesterday once the hatch was underway we left just one of the bantams on the eggs in the Eglu and the other two were turfed out. Sounds cruel I know because now all three are broody and all want to be mum. We have a small spare run so the two Lavender Pekins had somewhere safe to go last night but have been frantically running round the outside of the Eglu trying to work out how to get back in. There currently camped outside the Eglu.
Regarding who we decided should be mum, we took advice from Kelly at Canny Chicken Co and she said the Silkie would be best. It seems fair considering she has been sitting for 6 weeks now. The chicks will imprint on the first moving they see which will be Skelf (see post ‘words for snow’ in Bantams category). We will keep them in the Eglu run safe from the Jackdaws until they are large enough to return to our neighbour. Fingers crossed !
And by this morning …..
Lift off…… Houston we have three chicks !
Three tiny Belgian Bearded D’Anvers.
These are a rare breed true Bantam as they don’t have a full size counterpart. The Bearned or Barbu d’Anvers is one of the oldest bantam breeds, and is thought to have originated in the province of Antwerp (French: Anvers) in northern Flanders. It is the only Belgian bantam breed not threatened with extinction. In the United States it may be called the Antwerp Belgian or Belgian Bearded d’Anvers.
Hopefully by tomorrow there will be more in the nest. Watch this space !