I would like to introduce you to a possible new member of the Bellecross Hen flock. I say possible because at only 9 weeks of age, he ( if he is a he, which I'm sure he is ) is far too young to judge on suitability as a breeding cock but so far I like what I see. If suitable he will run with a small number of our Light Sussex hens. The resulting pullets being GoldTops, fantastic hens with amazing brooding and mothering instincts.
My last post was all about the final hatch of 2014 and honestly that was my intention but my lovely, old faithful Maran had other ideas. Letting her out one morning I heard the familiar 'clucking' that only a hen intent on motherhood can produce. For a few days I ignored her hoping she would soon change her mind as it was getting late in the year but as the days wore on she grew more and more determined. She had taken up residence in a straw bale in the feed store, which also happened to be the favoured place for the other hens to lay and her grumpiness and intolerance of their presence was unsettling the whole flock. I tried (admittedly not very hard) 'breaking' her out of her broodiness, but after a day or two relented and set up the broody ark in the garden. Despite it being late in the season I managed to collect together a clutch of 11 eggs, which she covered easily. After a week I candled them not expecting many to be fertile due to the timing - many of the birds were starting to moult and also only having young unproven cockerels running with them but all 11 were and on the 21st day of incubation 10 of the 11 eggs hatched. Sadly one of the chicks had either died on hatching or had been squashed leaving 9 lovely, extremely strong chicks who are now a week old and one very proud mother hen.
This morning on opening the hen house I heard that familiar sound once again. This time from the Indian Game, she has already raised two hatches this year, her last chicks are only 8 weeks old. Now really is too late, so I won't be sitting her and will be keeping a very close eye on her to make sure she doesn't 'sneak off' anywhere.