Contentment is a shed full of soil. Although without movement, this picture looks like a load of hens being agonisingly swallowed by quick-sand.
Contentment is a shed full of soil.

With spring now obviously progressing in leaps and bounds, I have been giving more thought to my broodie birds for this coming summer’s rearing programme. I have got quite a good mix (as well as several chicks which are on the way), but it could be that I need a couple more bantams just to bulk things out a bit. Ideally, I’d like to do away with my incubators altogether this coming year, but I know that it won’t be as simple as that. Most of my birds are untried and establishing a traditional keeper’s flock may take some time.

There is a poultry auction coming up where I might be able to pick up some back-up broodies, but otherwise it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game and making sure that all my birds are in as good a condition as they can be. Poultry keeping is an accidental off-shoot of my project, but it brings its own perks. Watching my hens dust-bathing this morning was a real pleasure, and working with them adds a whole new dimension to game rearing. I probably wouldn’t be very interested in rearing gamebirds if I was doing it using modern technology, and while there’s no doubt that proper broodies are more labour intensive, I hope I won’t have to go back to heat lamps and incubators now unless there’s an emergency.


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