The saga of the laying partridges continues, with 38 eggs now laid in a fortnight. A silkie x sussex is sitting on the first clutch of a dozen, another dozen are getting started in the incubator prior to going under an old and trusted black rock bantam, and I gave ten to the keeper’s son next door, who had a silkie sitting and wanted to see how he would get on. Maddeningly, I broke one egg by pulling the pen over onto fresh ground, not realising that it had been hidden away under a tuft of hay. A smear of yolk and shell was all that remained of it as the heavy breeding pen mashed it into the ground.
Following on from my post last week about dummy eggs, I am having a great deal more success using specific grey partridge dummy eggs which I bought from Perdix Wildlife Solutions in Warwickshire. Perdix seems to be a good place for supplies which are specific to grey partridge rearing, and it’s interesting to note that it is more or less impossible to buy replica grey partridge eggs from anyone else. They are pretty expensive by the time they are delivered, working out at almost a pound a piece, but they are a huge improvement on the white plastic pigeon eggs which I have been using so far. One of the hens is about to lay her sixth egg into a clutch of plastic forgeries, and I find that all I need to do to keep the ruse ticking over is to change the eggs over at night time with a torch. She is very good at hiding her eggs away, and the neat little bowl of hay grows slightly bigger each day.
Despite my best efforts, the other partridges simply will not lay in the same spot. I find their eggs scattered far and wide across their pens, and no matter how much I try to persuade them into laying a clutch, nothing seems to work. I should have planned for this in advance, and although the dummy eggs from “Perdix” are fairly pricey, I will have to invest in more for next year.