Broody, eggs and chicks :
(better photos to follow; click on images to enlarge)
(Welsh Black hen, Exchequer Leghorn chick )
This morning the broody decided to call it a day on her remaining unhatched eggs and give her full attention to the two chicks that successfully hatched. Considering the time of year, the unusually severe weather Hereford has been experiencing over the past couple of months and the fact that we moved the broody and her eggs half way across the country (well almost) less than a week before hatch date I think the fact that two hatched is remarkable. Sadly though one of the chicks died this afternoon. I think it was just too cold. For now the lone chick is being kept as snug as possible under her mother, her fate undecided. Head is saying one thing, heart another. I say *her* it's sure to be a he !
This morning we removed the temporary fence set up around the IG house, giving them the full run of the paddock.
For the first couple of days on arriving the birds were reluctant to leave the security of their house, the cold, wet, windy weather gave no encouragement for them to do so. However by Thursday they were out and about and the two pullets had found a gap under the fence and were making regular forays to the compost heap.
It was lovely today to see them raking around in the sunshine, dust bathing and generally enjoying their freedom.
The Welsummer settled in immediately on arrival and the hens seem happy to have him around. He is a very quiet cockerel both in nature and voice and his plumage is stunning, especially in the sunlight. He does tend to favour the Ixworth and Sussex hens so tomorrow I am going to have a remix. The Ixworth and Australorp will go in with the IG cockerel. One of the Speckled Sussex, I think, is going broody. So hopefully with only four birds left the cockerel might turn his attention to the Welsummer hens providing me with fertile eggs to put under the potential broody.
All the new birds are in super condition and I am really pleased with them, it is a joy just to stand and watch them. The hatching eggs - disappointing- but not unexpected for this time of year. They were after all a * test run *.