a new silkie cockerel

A new man's in town.

A new man’s in town.

After agonising back and forth about whether or not to make a change, I picked up a new cockerel yesterday evening. He is a pure partridge silkie and is the son of my old cockerel who now has a new home outside Dumfries. Slightly smaller than the old cockerel, the new cock (named “vulcan”) will hopefully sire the next generation of broody hens for my partridges and pheasants, and it certainly doesn’t go against him that he’s a really stunning bird. When I first thought about rearing my own birds for the Chayne, I knew that I wanted to use traditional methods. Having hens was always going to be part of the process, but I had no idea how much fun I would have with my silkies outside their astonishingly determined and tenacious flair for incubating eggs. I am now devoted to my small flock of silkies and silkie crosses, and although I have got plenty of time for other breeds, I know which one is my favourite.

Speaking of silkie crosses, one of my two silkie x sussex hens which came out of the incubator in May has gone broody in the past twenty four hours. I will take her out of the house tonight and set her up in a broody coop with a few eggs to see what she is made of. It struck me that when my eggs hatched out last year, a few chick deaths were caused by inexperience in the mother. I now have three broodies which are excellent mothers (having learnt the hard way), but the majority of my young flock is totally untried. If I do manage to produce grey partridge eggs this spring, I will use the sitters that I know and trust, but there’s no reason why I shouldn’t use this opportunity to give this young bird a “trial run” with some eggs from the hen house. If she pulls it off at this time of year, then she’ll be the best broody I have…

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