This morning I realized that it’s 2017, and I really need to think about hatching plans for the coming months. I’ll be trying to take better notes as my ducklings grow this year, so I purchased a 2017 journal from Amazon. This will be a combination garden and duckling journal, so I’ll go in and mark out my hatches and planting schedule once I have it fleshed out.
Preparing for the First Hatch
Before I can even set my first hatch I need to think about who I want to try to collect eggs from. I know that I’d love to produce more offspring from Brienne, her size alone puts her at the top of my list, but she’s got good markings on top of that. The obvious problem with Brienne is that it’s not clear that she’s laying eggs. We’re getting 2 eggs daily, but with 4 young hens, and 1 veteran layer there’s a possibility that the same ones aren’t laying every day. To try and suss out the “who’s laying” conundrum, I’m going to section off part of the hen house and isolate 1 or 2 hens each night. They will have to be in the house, and able to see the rest of the flock so a section of wire fencing should work fine.
Separating 2 of the flock at a time should make it easier to ID the laying hens. My suspicions are that the Old Lady is laying daily, with one other hen laying daily, or 2 others in rotation. Because of this, I’ll likely keep the Old Lady out of the separated group since I’m sure she’s 1/2 of the guilty party (I actually witnessed her laying back in Oct, so I know she’s been doing some of her part.)
I’m not sure if this is going to work, but I feel the need to try. It’s entirely possible that whoever is in the separated group may not lay in the early AM hours because she prefers the nesting box. If that happens I’m hoping that she’ll lay as soon as I give her access to the nesting box in the AM.
I’ll be updating this post over the next week, with egg counts from each group.
Night 1 – 1/6/2017
Night 2 – 1/7/2017
Night 3 – 1/8/2017
Night 4 – 1/9/2017
Night 5 – 1/10/2017
I’m pretty sure Brienne is the 2nd layer here. The first night, Lady Mormont broke through the barrier sometime during the night leaving Brienne alone. There was 1 egg that morning, and thinking that it could be either of the gals in group 1 I opted to have Night 2’s Group 1 just be Brienne.
Night 2 gave me no egg on the Group 1 side, but only 1 on group 2. The stress of being separated alone may be the culprit here.
Night 3 was VERY cold, so I opted to “reset” and not separate anyone. 2 eggs.
Night 4 was still very cold and I decided to keep them all together. 0 eggs.
Experiment Suspended after the death of Old Lady.