Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eggs in the Kitchen, Chickens on the Hill

Funny how the setting instinct has been bred out
of chickens, and now folks have to resort to buying
exceptionally expensive incubators and turners
in order to hatch eggs.

Might have been some money in selling chicks if darn
hens knew how to set. . .

Little Bantam Hens will set all day, but they are simply
too small to cover enough large breed hen eggs to make
it worth the while.

So since this little Seabright gal above is the only
"setter" we have, and she might fit 4 full sized
eggs under her if she is lucky, we invest in the
most recommended incubator and turner in our
price range:
The Brinsea Octogan ECO 20


(click to order - photo)

And I split an order of 
13 Wheaten and Blue Wheaten
Ameraucana eggs
with a friend at Old Vic Donald's Farm
in Kentucky

 and then purchased
7 Blue Laced Red Wyandotte eggs
 and 8 Black Copper Maran eggs
(all photos from Luanne's Garden, where we
purchased the eggs from in Florida)
And I put them in the incubator last
Wednesday morning.
Though shipping is hard on eggs,
I am hoping for a 
great hatch on MARCH 9TH!

Copper Marans lay, when bred well,
deep chocolate eggs
Ameraucanas are uncommon and lay,
typically, lovely blue eggs
and then BLRW are just beautiful chickens.

All of this involvement with chickens reminds
me a lot of my Dad.

He died in June of 2009 at 85 years old, and
there is not much he enjoyed
more than growing berries, grafting fruit trees
and raising Guinea Fowl and Bantam chickens.

He was able, being equipped with "Old Timer" skills I do not
have any idea how to tap into, would set eggs in a caste iron
skillet, all types of eggs, wrapped in an old wash cloth and 
with the pilot light on and by turning by hand, hatch out almost
every single eggs he sat. People usually do not believe it, if they
have a great deal of chicken "expertise," but he was able to 
do it every single time. 

Daddy did not like large breed chickens, as I do, though.
He thought they were fairly inept at protecting themselves,
and they are.

He preferred Bantams or "Banties", which set on their eggs,
forage well and can fly and roost in higher places than their
larger counterparts. 

I have looked all over my house for a DVD with scan of my
dad in 1929 or so holding one of his hens, but I cannot find
it at the moment.

At any rate, whenever I deal with poultry, I think of Daddy. . .
and keep a few Bantams just for him around here :)



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington