I’m extremely excited about a few things that are coming up in the next few weeks. The first thing is Summer Coronation, which is happening on the first weekend in June. I haven’t been to an event since March, although I had planned to go to one in April and one in May. I ended up having to cancel out on Silver Arrow and TUA, because I have a rule that Real Life Comes First, always. Well, real life intervened and I ended up on a trip to Vancouver so that my husband could get a cornea transplant instead. This trip also resulted in my missing the hatching of my chicks completely.
My eggs had what I considered a poor hatch rate – 12 out of 24 eggs hatched, and we lost one chick after hatching – and I’ve heard from other chicken people that this is anywhere from an average hatch rate to a poor one. Due to not getting as many chicks as I’d hoped, I decided to find another source of Icelandic hatching eggs. This will also have the benefit of broadening the genetic pool within my flock. I am technically not supposed even have a rooster in my flock, due to the noise, and I’m not supposed to have more than 6 hens, but I know from a discussion with our bylaw office when I reported having gotten rid of a bird that had turned out to be a male last year, that unless my neighbours complain, nobody is going to come around and count my birds. Juveniles also don’t count. I’m hoping to keep a rooster out of my Icelandics, using a No-crow collar, both for protection of my flock, and to also hatch some eggs in the future. Apparently Icies go broody quite easily and frequently.
Anyways, I did find another breeder of Icelandic chickens within what I consider a reasonable distance of me… or at least it is since I will be travelling anyways. On June 2nd, I’ll be picking up another dozen eggs from Rhyant Rock Farms and popping them in the incubator when I get back from my Coronation trip. She has absolutely beautiful birds and I can hardly wait to see what I get from that batch.
I’ve also made arrangements to make a stop at Biggs Ranch on my way TO Coronation. Biggs Ranch is a breeder of Icelandic, well, everything, just about! They have Icelandic chickens, sheep, horses, and sheepdogs! I’m hoping to get an Icelandic sheepdog someday, but that’ll have to wait until after my current pup passes as he doesn’t like other dogs. Anyways, besides wanting to visit and photograph all their critters, I’m going to be picking up some fleeces from Icelandic sheep to work with on a big, long-term project I’ve been plotting for quite a while now. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.
In the meantime, I’m starting some research on some Viking-age fibre preparation tools, specifically wool combs, a swift, and drop spindles, most likely based on the Oseberg ship grave finds. I need stuff to use to prepare all that fleece!
(Picture of an Icelandic hen and her chicks at the top of the post is entitled “A mother’s job is never finished”, and was taken by Lisa Richards, and posted at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanh/3639302019/in/photolist-6xAnGx, used with permission under a Creative Commons license.