Just worth posting that I set the my first ever batch of eggs beneath my silkie x sussex bantam this morning. Having acquired 13 pheasant eggs from the game farmer down the road, I turned them yesterday while the final preparations were being sorted out, then set them this morning when she was out for her daily “eat all you possibly can, do a shit that a labrador would be proud of, then go back indoors” session.
I powdered the nest with some diatomaceous earth to keep on top of any mites which might try and set up camp in the coop, and although I was originally worried that she was too small for so many eggs, they’re now all tucked up underneath her in a very promising fashion.
I’d be much more excited about this little side project if it wasnt for the fact that a second bantam is following close on the heels of the first, and she has been put into a coop which is so new that I only finished waterproofing it this evening. Although “waterproofing” is a rather grandiose way of saying that I tacked a Marsden’s bag over the roof. It’s all rather chaotic, and there hasn’t been time to really get as overexcited as I thought I would.
It has turned out that I couldn’t get hold of any grey partridge eggs to coincide with the sitting of my two broodies this summer, but the chicks (due to hatch tonight), along with several others in egg form which I ordered today, will become part of a longer term project for next year.
Grey partridges might seem like a bit of a diversion from the grouse theme of this blog, but given that there are many similarities between black grouse habitat and hill partridge habitat, they are a convenient and appealing way to learn about upland management. What works for grey partridges will, to some extent, also apply to black grouse, particularly insofar as brood rearing is concerned, and the lessons I’m learning about keeping, hatching and rearing gamebirds will certainly come in handy when the time comes for me to start building an enclosed breeding stock of black grouse. I must admit too that, since there were greys on the Chayne within living memory, I do like the idea of being able to add another column to my gamebook on the Chayne in the long term.