It's arguably the wrong time of year to be hatching hen eggs and that does seem to be a conclusion I can draw from the eggs we hatched a week ago. Only 3 hatched and since then, one of the chicks has died. We have no idea at the moment what sex the two remaining chicks are. Our plans to build up a stock of breeding exchequer leghorns are still going forward but the timetable will be a bit longer. We will get more eggs in a month or so to ensure we have hatchlings in the early spring.
To help carry forward our poultry plans, we have decided we need another incubator, one larger than the current one we have (which currently has 12 quail eggs in it.) In my plans for building up a local network of food producers who swap their produce, I am hoping to be in a position to provide such a network with poultry, as well as eggs (and jam, honey, preserves etc). Another incubator to run alongside the existing one is therefore a must.
Meanwhile, because of the uncertainties about the sex of the chicks, we still need to get a cockerel for our flock of hens. We have been offered a light sussex/silkie cross by a friend who lives in a hamlet near Sunniside. We will be collecting him next week. At this point, he will have 20 hens to look after!