My Hens landed a noble job!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by highcountrychickens, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

    Aug 28, 2008
    Jackson Hole
    So the Game and Fish Warden just came by to inspect my Mews for Falconry, and saw my beautiful friendly Black Jersey Giants. He asked if they tended to get broody, and I told him that I hadn't really left eggs in long enough to see...
    Because they're so gentle and friendly (I hand raised them in my office) and BIG, he asked if he could use them for a few months in the spring to help hatch Trumpeter Swan eggs for a reintroduction program they have been working on - It turns out that wild swan eggs that are incubated by a hen for the first 10 days have a 90% hatch rate. The swan lines they are trying to hatch have been carefully studied since the early 90s, and there aren't a lot of individuals left to contribute, so they have a lot of hope for this year's hatch of cygnets. If it works this year, my girls could help contribute to what will be the first breeding pair of swans in a particular river valley in Montana in over 100 years!
    They're building my ladies a huge run and lovely nest boxes lined with sugarcane (evidently makes for the most draft free nest) and will be treated like queens - there are volunteers (including me) who will hand turn the eggs 3X every day, and he is setting up an incubator to incubate a handful of Jersey Giant eggs so at the end of their job, they can have their own chicks hatch! Then, when their job is done, they get to come home for a summer in the garden with me!

    It is perfect for them because they only want 6-10 hens for the program, and they have to come from the same flock so not to introduce outside birds - So my backyard chickens project continues to be a great thing.

    How wonderful is that?!! I'm so excited! [​IMG]

    I feel like a proud parent [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    Oh, cool! You are going to love doing that. Pick your best broodies cause swans take longer to hatch than chicken eggs (I think...). Good luck and keep us updated!
  3. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    Wow, what an awesome story! Your ladies are gonna be locally famous! Congrat to you and the girls. [​IMG]
  4. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thats great! What a worthwhile thing to do. And you know what? It shows people how diverse the uses for chickens are! How exciting for you. I bet those jersey giants are big enough to hatch them aren't they?
  5. briana1975

    briana1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2009
    Carleton Mi.
    That is great. Here is hoping for some broody chickens. [​IMG]
  6. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

    Aug 28, 2008
    Jackson Hole

    See? Reason 694 to keep a small backyard chickens flock!!

    Thanks, BYC... [​IMG]

    Yep, they will be big enough to set 3 swan eggs... (Trumpeter swan eggs are 1 POUND each !!) What they will do is to let them set the eggs for the first 10 days, then move the eggs into the incubator, and replace them with a new batch (or stagger the replacement) All the while, there will be Jersey Giant eggs in the bator, so at the end of their set we'll slip them in so the girls can hatch their own babies. (Wynette - if you read this I'm going to be writing to you soon to be put on your list!!! [​IMG] )

    Evidently this practice of incubating swan eggs under hens for the first 10 days was developed by the Peregrine Fund, and other reintroduction programs - it has a 90% hatch rate over hundreds of tests. Honestly, who comes up with this stuff? It's fascinating.

    btw fancbrd4me02 - I love your avatar! Pretty rooster, what kind is he?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  7. BellLisamo

    BellLisamo Diagnosed w/ Muscovitis

    Feb 7, 2009
    Tombstone, AZ
    that is soooo awesome!!! congrats!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. Madcap621

    Madcap621 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    How wonderful!! [​IMG] [​IMG] Your ladies will do great, I.m sure [​IMG]
  9. NoelTate

    NoelTate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2008
    Mobile, AL
    What a noble, worthwhile program to be involved in. Congrats! And thanks to you and your ladies for being willing to help out!
  10. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

    Aug 28, 2008
    Jackson Hole
    Does anyone have a recommendation for any other big, broody friendly breeds that would be good for a project like this in the future? What about Orphingtons? Any insights?

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