The Countryman's Weekly

Game Rearing

Game Rearing
February 20
08:04 2019

The mysterious art of hatching – a potted history

by Graham Brockhouse.

ONCE we have caught up our laying stock (or bought some in) it’s never a bad idea to swap a few cock birds of a similar type with a friend from another area. It puts a few new genes into your chicks. Most years when I was rearing all my own birds it was generally reckoned I would get my first egg on April fool’s day and invariably that tended to occur. Initially you tend to get quite a few eggs which aren’t worth setting, some are small, some blue with powdery shells etc. but as my wife said, they make good cakes.

The storage of eggs as I have already described is relatively simple and standard, egg trays will suffice for the purpose. Initially I used to store my first setting directly into the inserts in the setting trays, but after three weeks if you haven’t got spare trays use the cardboard ones. Eggs can be stored for quite a while but my first three weeks eggs tended to fill one third of my setter.

The choice of setter is both wide and varied and I personally only ever used a large Western TB machine (apart from early days with the old Glevum and Gloucester still-air jobs). Usually there are three sections, one for each week, and the capacity depends on the machine size.

There are obviously a great many more modern setter/incubators on the market now and while I no longer rear, the modern keeper has a lot more choices.

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