I want to show off some of the pretties we’re hatching this year at Oregon Serama!
First off, a little about this years hatch. This is a big hatch for us, because I’m only hatching once this year (I hope)! So I’ve gotta make it count. We’re working on type, increasing our pool of silkie feathered birds, and hatching for two color projects: blue and chocolate.
Last year I hatched out in dribs and drabs throughout the seasons. This produced small, manageable batches of birds, but the house was constantly full of growing birds (especially during colder months), which was lovely but also kind of awful. This year the goal is hatch everything now so they can go out earlier and in time to acclimate in the winter. This should also produce birds that will be a good age for sale in the fall and next spring as we sell down to our best, which will then be paired up for next year’s hatch.
I’ve got two incubators going for a rolling hatch, a Hovabator Genesis 1588 (as incubator) and a Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance (the hatcher). Every few days, I add eggs to the Hovabator, and as eggs approach day 17-18, I move them to the Brinsea.
We’re hatching more than we need, selling some in coming weeks to keep numbers manageable, and then will sell more in the fall. One thing that’s nice about hatching in greater quantities like this is that you get to learn more about what your pairs produce.
An example: on a whim, I set a bunch of eggs from the birds I hatched last fall. This pen contained three chocolate girls, one of which is frizzled, and two nice mottled tri-color boys. I already knew the boys carried one copy of recessive white. Well, one of the chicks we hatched is a white frizzle. This tells me the frizzle female also carries recessive white. Her two siblings may then be carriers, and one of her parents must also have a copy of the gene.
From this same pen, I’ve hatched two silkie feathered chicks, which again tells me I have two lines of silkied carriers in my coop I didn’t previously know about. I can now make new pairings to suss out which birds are throwing the silkieds, and then use them more effectively in my silkied project.
Another lesson learned: You’ve gotta give it time between pairings. I took a white silkied hen from the general flock and paired her to a mostly black silkied male. I did wait a little bit before pulling eggs from them, but apparently didn’t wait long enough. The first chick I hatched from them is smooth feathered, so I know my silkied male, Hawley, wasn’t the father.
This little one has a white spot on the head, kinda blurred into the brown down, which tells me this chick is barred, and male. If the type is good, he could be an interesting project bird for getting barring into my silkieds (should I decide to do so). I had 3 barred (or cuckoo) males in the general flock at that time, so any one of them could be daddy.
The chick below is one of only two blues I’ve hatched so far this year! I’ve set a number of eggs from this guy’s (yeah another blurry spot on the head, so male barred) parents, but this is the only one to make it to hatch so far.
For some reason, the only two I’ve named so far are my blues. The little dude above is Downton. And the sweet girl below is Chili.
After we hatched the little brown guy who was supposed to be silkied but turned out smooth and barred, the pair started churning out some for real silkieds. I’ve got 4 so far, and they all basically look like this one:
Anyway, that’s a taste of what we’re up to this spring! Continuing to hatch for the rest of June, hoping to get more blues, a couple chocolates, and maybe something out of my chocolate-based cocoapop pair.