Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last weekend at the poultry auction

The poultry auction was a 4 hour drive, and we left bright and early. I have to admit, I've never seen a real live Dorking before, so was hoping to see some as advertised.

The shed was hot and full of crowing and clucking. We wandered the isles looking for the three Dorkings that were suppose to be in pen 26, but instead there was a single white chook in there. We kept looking and found a couple of possible Dorkings in a different pen. Sadly they only had 4 toes and some of their markings were a bit odd.

Never mind, we followed the crowd of people around the pens as the auctioneer sold them off one by one. It was a strange way to buy an animal! Some of the chooks were lovely, obviously good examples of their breed. Others were not-so-good, with feathers missing, crooked toes or obvious health issues.

When it came to selling the Dorkings, there was little interest. Although they went for more than we wanted to pay for them, we weren't disappointed that we missed out. We didn't walk away completely empty-handed however!

Dorking eggs! (The dozen at the bottom of the picture - white)

We got them for a bargain at only $20. No-one seemed to want them as badly as we did! :) Even better, we met the owner of the eggs after the auction and he told us a little about them. That made my day, as he was obviously very proud of his Dorkings.

So, we drove 4 hours home again - carefully - wondering how we are going to incubate these eggs!

Monday I did lots of research, scoured the internet, and eventually posted a "Wanted" add in the Backyard Poultry website. Thankfully I got a response right away from a nice couple who had an incubator for sale. I drove down there that very afternoon and came home with this.. and some of their Wyandotte eggs that they kindly gave me!

(Well, the temp gauge is our old fridge thermometer from the campervan days!)

So, I set it up and turned it on when I got home, and left it on overnight and all today - to be sure the temperature is just right. Tonight is the big night when we'll put the eggs in! Hopefully the end result will be some Dorkings and Wyandottes of our very own!

Of course, being our first try at incubating, we're not likely to get 21 chickens at the end, but we'll be trying our very best to get as many as we can!

Oh, the temp is low in the picture because we put in some supermarket eggs that had been in the fridge. We're waiting until they're warm before we put the fertile eggs in. As I've written this, the temp has risen back up to 36.4, so not long to go now! Once it's back up to 37.7, we'll pop in the fertile eggs and start the long 21 day wait. :)

Expect updates! :)


  1. Oh that is so exciting! We bought wyandotte eggs last year and an incubator and hatched out first home-grown chooks, it was brilliant! OK, it gets a tad tedious somewhere around the middle, but once they start pipping through... oooh the thrill! I turned mine 3x day, others do it 2x. Candling is fun when you know they have worked! I ended up with 7 hatching from a dozen which is apparently a good rate.
    Best of luck!

  2. You won't be disappointed in the wyandottes. They are the most friendly, docile breed I've ever encountered. I hope you get a great hatch rate on the dorkings too, as you seem to really want that particular breed. I've never had experience with them, but you can let us all know your experience once they hatch.

    Fingers crossed and if you have any questions, fire away. Although Backyard Poultry is an exemplery forum, that will no doubt steer you in the right direction with any queries too.

    Good luck and have fun! :)

  3. Great buy! Sadly we have just sold the last of our incubators and only have a few chooks left to supply us and a couple of neighbours with eggs. At age 75 we both feel we have reached the end of our chick producing days.
    Manda, did the good people at the egg auction tell you about keeping the eggs 'pointy' side down? This is to ensure that the chicks head is in the right position to pip through the shell. Good Luck.

  4. Thanks everyone! I have a small confession to make though: The incubator has an auto turn! So, nothing to do but keep the water level up and wait. :)

  5. Olive, yep, pointy side down. :) Thanks!

  6. we have two clucky chooks at the moment and I just love the thrill of visiting each day waiting to hear those first little chirps....such and exciting time waiting to see how many will hatch.

  7. Good luck! I've got the exact same incubator, except without the auto-turn. I'm going to hack up a manual turner - turning 40-odd eggs individually 2-3 times a day is not much fun!

    I'm looking forward to seeing your chicks when they hatch.