To celebrate their third week, it’s worth including this picture of my first batch of partridge chicks, which are now thriving in a ten foot square pen. I realised too late that I should have made the clutch sizes bigger for each broodie, since I now have three hens with just eight chicks each – it would obviously be far simpler to have fewer broodies with larger broods. Fortunately, the fact that the partridges are still laying means that I can do the remainder of this year’s eggs in larger clutches. I now have 38 chicks out of 48 eggs (ten having either been trampled, ill thriven or failed to hatch altogether), and another 13 are due to hatch tomorrow.
Watching free ranging partridge chicks is probably the biggest time-waster I know. On a sunny day, they dustbathe, squabble, stretch and feed on worms and leatherjacket grubs, and the hours just slip past unnoticed (hence why this blog has not been updated very often recently). I’m particularly taken with the first batch of chicks because they seem to have come on so brilliantly in the past ten days, and they can now fly happily around their pen. I even noticed that on day 7, the first signs of tail ticking began, long before they even had tails.
Interesting to note that the partridge hen who laid the huge clutch of nineteen eggs has now gone broody on the plastic clutch which I replaced them with. She sits very tightly and only comes off briefly at around seven o’clock in the evening. Her eggs are in the incubator, and when they get close to hatching, I’ll put them back under her. It will be very interesting to see what sort of mother she makes.