Don’t count your chickens before…

For those of you that have been wondering – the chook saga hasn’t died a quiet death. It just went on a short hiatus... But it is now back in its full slow but steady swing.

So when we ordered our chicken eggs, madamme, in her wisdom, ticked the box that indicated we would collect the eggs on the farm, which is located two hours away, one way, that is. Grrrr… and we are so overloaded with work already, then we commit to a four-hour plus outing. But way back then, I did agree, silently hoping that it may turn out to be very interesting. OK, I’ll admit it – I love site visits!

For a long while Peter, the egg farmer at Victorian Heritage Earth Farm, went quiet. He didn’t answer any emails, he didn’t post anything on Facebook either. We almost thought we were had in a scheme… not quite, but you know how those thoughts cross your mind. But then at last he surfaced… he had been quite seriously ill. So the day finally arrived – he let us know our eggs would be ready the next week. On our request, he said he would select the eggs from different pens so that we could breed with them – in that way, we won’t get siblings. Good man, this Peter.

So there we were, travelling two hours, one way, inland to Victorian Heritage Earth Farm to collect 24 fertile eggs – twelve Scots Greys, six mixed Sussex and 6 mixed Wyandotte. Oh, but this post isn’t about breeds and playing lotto. So, where were we? Oh yes, on a four hour road trip to collect 24 eggs…

But these are special eggs! Especially the Scots Greys are a very rare heritage breed. We could only trace two breeders, and the one didn’t even answer our messages – well, to this day not. And all three these breeds are docile, family friendly and good layers. But they are all big heavy birds, so we’ll have to see how free-ranging in the delicate Dreamland forest garden goes. Oh no, I‘m digressing again…

Anyway, we got away a bit late – nothing new in that, and we had quite a search for the place, because someone entered 227 instead of 277 in the satnav… but eventually we got there. Peter and his friendly cattle dog greeted us and he promptly proceeded to carefully wrap our marked eggs in paper towels and carefully pack them in egg cartons. There were literally hundreds of packed cartons and mail boxes around. I bet he must be very organised. We had a million questions, which he answered in detail. Very informative, this Peter.

He looked so busy packing eggs that we didn’t ask him to show us around. We didn’t take any photographs either. It just happened to be like that. But there were many, many pens with many, many free-ranging chickens around – about 300 he said. Of course, when we were two kilometres away on our trip back, we both said ah…. we should have asked him to show us around. He was so accommodating in answering all our questions, maybe we could have learnt so much more…. Darn, I should have taken photos, even if it was only of Peter packing our precious eggs…. But it is too late now – it is what it is.

It was a weird trip back. Normally we would have stopped somewhere interesting for a snack and a tea or a coffee. We half-heartedly looked at one or two places, but we were so concerned about our precious cargo that in the end, we just rushed back. Back at home we placed the eggs at an angle overnight, and then at the reverse angle for the next day, as per Peter’s instructions. So after a full 24 hours, we packed and switched on the incubator – great excitement for the kids! Now to slowly count down 18 days until we can increase the humidity…

Eggs - our babies

“Our babies!”

In the meanwhile, the brooder has been built, and it’s ready for its precious first batch too. Although, we are now having big debates about where it should be placed! Oh well, we’ve got 18 days (and counting) to sort that out.

Brooder - 1

Brooder ready

About (207 Articles)
My name is Martin Rennhackkamp, I now live happily in Lara, Victoria, Australia with my wife, two children and two dogs. My interests, apart from the obvious Organic, Biodynamic and Permaculture Gardening and Farming, include sustainable living, surfing, horse-riding, a wide variety of music, dancing, nature, birds, reading, Christianity and a few other things which I never get to...

10 Comments on Don’t count your chickens before…

  1. Oh my! That is a lot of work for chicks. Ours were already hatched when they arrived. Years ago, I got some ‘recycled’ hens that were already laying!

  2. It’s like a real world soapy! Can’t wait for the next episode…

  3. Really hope that they all hatch….so then you can start counting 🙂

  4. Always the challenge what to do with the little roosters. Have you got a plan?

    • I know… do you want to join the lotto as to what odds hens vs roosters we will be getting? Well we thought of plan A selling (as they are quite rare to get pure-bred, or B there’s a local poultry swop and sell group. Option C we don’t mention out loud…)

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