Notes from Windward: #71


Baby Birds Arrive at Windward


     This year, I've been struggling with an extremely low hatching rate but my hope was revived when I attended a lecture by Joel Salatin of PolyFace Farms. He related some of the history of his son's 4H project raising rabbits and persevering through several years of reduced productivity. He continued breeding the ones that did well and now has rabbits that are particularly well suited to their land. I am hopeful this pattern will play out here with our chickens as well.

     Wondering if the low hatching rate was due to our incubators we recently decided to buy 15 Silkie Bantam chicks from Cackle Hatchery. These birds are considered to be good broody hens and will hopefully diversify our incubation options.

     On the morning of August 5, we got a call from our friendly Postal Officer letting us know that the birds we ordered are arriving this morning. Tammy and I quickly finished our project and headed into Klickitat to pick up our new baby birds from the post office. Tammy is my sister and spent this past week visiting Windward. When we opened the door to the post office we noticed an adorable cheeping noise and Linda said they were on the counter ready for us to pick up. We opened the box to have a look at our new birds.

a box of silkie bantam chicks

     Tucking them safely in the back of my car, we headed back home to set them up in the battery brooder.

a box of chicks tucked safely in the back of my car

     Cackle Hatchery describes the Silkie Bantam as
"a miniature sized chicken known for their nearly black skin, hair like feathering and fifth toe. They are credited to origination from Japan and China. They are kid friendly, good mothers and one of the most popular breeds at poultry shows. Several varieties are recognized and admitted to the American Poultry Standard of Perfection from 1871 - 1996. We offer for sale 4 color varieties of the Silkie Bantam Breed."

two chicks with different colors

     I believe we have Blues, Blacks, and possibly Splash.

a "Blue" Silkie

a "Black" Silkie

     Settling In

we're thirsty

     This year I decided to collect eggs daily but to hold the eggs and start clutches once a week. Two weeks ago, I changed tactics and have stopped holding the eggs‒starting incubation immediately. The eggs in the Warmerator are doing nicely however the eggs in the Styrofoam incubator have about 50% viability.

the neighbors‒two Rhode Island Reds hatched on July 28

     June hatchlings included Rhode Island Reds and the Rhode-Wyandotte cross

Growing up ‒ 2 RIR and 2 Rhode-Wyandotte cross

Three Wyandott-Rhode cross cockerels ‒ hatched mid-June

     Four guinea fowl just hatched and I am hopeful that the hatching rate will increase in the next few weeks before I pack up the incubation project before taking some time off in September.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 71