Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Hens and roses

Domino watching over the chicks
Did anyone say heatwave? The only place that reached 37.5C here in the past few weeks has been the incubator, where we've been hatching our first batch of chucks. Otherwise, 22C was the limit, now fondly remembered.

Tough start to life   

The first hatchling
Now transferred to the brooder
It was fascinating to watch the entire hatching process in the incubator. We had a couple of late nights! It takes about 21 days for a chick to hatch. After 7 days you candle the egg to make sure there are signs of life. Out of our nine eggs, six developed and five hatched - not a bad rate. On day 21 the chicks start to pip a hole in the shell, but that's so exhausting that they take a long break after the first hole has been made and then later continue work on breaking off the end of the egg to get out. We got five cute fuzzballs, one brown, one yellow, one white and two silver-grey ones. Now it will be quite a wait to find out what sex they are, though the yellow one and one of the silver-greys are much larger and more assertive than the others - so maybe they are cock birds.

In the garden there is now produce, though everything is weeks behind. We have:

Aguadulce broad beans
Tasty rhubarb of unknown variety
Kelvedon Wonder peas
And the first tomatoes are turning red
Outside, we haven't had to water anything and everything is very green.
Freshly mown middle paddock
There are roses everywhere, and a few other flowers, too, but mainly roses. The previous owner was an afficionado so we have an enormous variety. And I have to say, David Austin roses make a lovely tea.

One of the posh David Austin roses
Dog rose
Another of the posh roses
Wild rose in the hege
Beautiful catnip flowers
The lavender is out
I've resown several veggies: squashes, beans, sweetcorn and asparagus. It will be interesting to see if the season is long enough for them to ripen (and for the asparagus to do anything at all). In the meantime, the original squashes and courgettes seem to have recovered. Phew!

First courgette forming


  1. Your roses are lovely! We still have only Burnet Rose, Cinnamon Rose (the wild one) and Double Cinnamon Rose (cultivated) flowering.The tomato in the photo looks very much like a Black Sea Man...
    The chicks look somehow slightly suspicious of Domino's intentions.

  2. Yes, well spotted, that is our first Black Sea Man - delicious. They're the biggest tomatoes in the greenhouse by far. I wouldn't trust Poppy's intentions towards the chicks, but Domino is actually making overtures to be friends with the adult chickens (who are not impressed). Maybe this lot are going to be his pals.