Ixworth chicks and silkie cockerels

new chicks

Out of the last batch of Ixworth eggs that I put in the incubator only 2 successfully hatched. One egg was cracked so I didn’t put it in, 6 looked to be infertile or didn’t develop at all. Three developed nearly to full term, but died before hatching and these two little poppets hatched out while I was in London last week. They are doing well and will hopefully form the basis of our new flock of Ixworth chickens. I am not sure why so few hatched, possibly getting sent in the post wasn’t good, maybe because it is late in the season so fertility was reduced. Hopefully there wasn’t a problem with the new incubator. I am getting better at interpreting what I see when candling. I had guessed that five had chicks in and 6 were infertile, but left them all in the incubator as I wasn’t completely sure. As I get better, I will remove the infertile eggs earlier.

Chick standoff

Chick standoff

We won’t hatch any more eggs this year, but will wait until the spring. I might go and collect some eggs in person to hopefully increase our odds. I say a little more here about why I have chosen Ixworth hens.

three little not-born chicks

The four chicks that hatched nearly four weeks ago – see here and here – are not chicks any longer, they look like proper mini chickens. I have moved them to the garage into a big old dog crate as they have more space. When it is nice I let them out into the garden in another dog crate. I will start letting them free roam during the day in the next week. They will still need to be back in the garage at night as it is cold and they need the warmth of the heat lamp. Not sure what type these ones are as we had six Ixworth adn six blue-egg layers. I hope the three white ones are Ixworth.

Four growing chicksmeeting the silkies

N.B. The turkey is still sitting on her eggs which should hatch any day now. I am not too hopeful as we have had some cold nights and many of the eggs have gone rotten – they have exploded or cracked and she has pushed them out of the nest.

N.B. The silkie cockerels in the front garden are now having cockadoodle-doing competitions that start at 3.30am. It is time to have fewer cockerels. We tend to let the cockerels live until they annoy us beyond belief, we have reached that point now. We will keep one of them. At the moment it is a tie between the daddy and his lovely golden son who has a plumage like burnished copper. The deed will probably get done early on Sunday morning and then we will eat them, make stock and maybe give some to the dogs.  It is hard, but I don’t want them to start fighting and they have had a pretty fantastic life. We have also tried to find homes for them  …. if you want a lovely, good-natured silkie cockerel for free now is the time to get in touch!

silkie cockerelsilkie cockerel2

5 responses to “Ixworth chicks and silkie cockerels

  1. Always good to get chick news. Totally understanding being ready to terminate rights to the cockerels with 3:30 waking services. Thanks for the updates. Keep ’em coming. Love your posts.

  2. I miss hatching chickens. That’s always my favorite part. If my stupid neighbors wouldn’t spray toxic crap on their yards I’d have more. Killed a lot of my hens a few years back. Ah well, makes me want
    to come back to the farm at St. Margaret’s House all the more.

    • I know – I love it when they hatch out – is there anything more cute than a day-old chick? Bad news about the spraying – people rarely think through the consequences. Our smallholding is a lot more weedy and probably not as super-productive as it could be with chemicals, but I prefer it this way. Please come back …. we are waiting for you xxx

  3. Pingback: From Chicken to Chicken and Leek Pie | smallholding dreams·

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