After an unprecedented 93% success rate with last year’s hatching, resulting in an additional 13 birds – 7 boys! – in less than 4 weeks, we decided to give hatching our own chicks a miss this year. However, the Other Half wanted to sell hatching eggs to supplement those that we sell to eat but  I’ve been dragging my feet as it entails the hassle of separating the breeders from the rest. So, I was cleaning the coops out on Monday when he returned from walking the dogs and informed me that he’d just had a chat with our chicken-keeping neighbour. He’d told her that she could have some blue hatching eggs. He’d also told her how, in the past, we had timed the hatching for Easter weekend which she thought was a lovely idea. (She would, wouldn’t she!) Now, Easter Sunday is March 27th this year, quite early. This means that the eggs need to go into incubation March 5th/6th.  Unlike humans, sperm can survive in the hen’s body for 4 weeks, which is why the breeding birds need to be separated from the rest – or at least, the girls need to be kept away from the ‘wrong’ boys – for a month prior to collecting eggs for hatching. Working backwards that takes us to, oh, this week! That is why late yesterday afternoon, in the rain and hail, we were hastily assembling a run then chasing several reluctant Cream Legbars round the pen. A box of fertilized pure breed eggs can be sold for approximately four times what we sell the ‘eating’ eggs for so, fingers crossed, it will be worth the effort.

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