2012’s grey partridge project has begun, but not as I had planned. Originally, I intended to buy partridge eggs from a breeder in the midlands, but for one reason and another, I didn’t get my act in order before the first clutches had been sold. I will still get some eggs from that breeder but not for another few weeks, which was going to mean that I was going to end up wasting the first few weeks of the possible rearing season without any eggs to play with. Looking for a substitute, I asked around and had eBay recommended to me as a possible source of small quantities of eggs.
For some reason, eBay seems like an extremely unlikely place to find gamebirds. If it hadn’t been for the fact that my bantam eggs came from that website, as well as most of my girlfriend’s quail, I would hardly have believed that you can go online to bid for items which will one day become living, breeding birds. A small parcel arrived in the post this morning – 12 little grey partridge eggs, all looking in reasonably good condition.
Shaking up eggs has been shown to dramatically lower their hatching potential, and sending them through the postal system is a fairly good way of making sure that they are exposed to some level of abuse. I only had a 30% hatch from my broody eggs, but that takes into account the fact that the polystyrene box that they were sent in showed some evidence of having been seriously bashed about. However, by comparison, my girlfriend brought 80% of her quail chicks on from a clutch that was sent through the post, so as much as it’s not ideal, it’s better for me to have something to work on than nothing at all. It could be that the hatch will be great but if it isn’t, I’ve got another clutch of eggs on the way.
I’ll get these eggs started in the incubator and then slip them under a broody hen as soon as they start to go down. Fingers crossed that there will soon be the muffled sound of cheeping…