Hatching Eggs : Buff Orpington and Welsumer
Information on our quality pure-bred flocks of Buff Orpington and Welsumer chickens, and online sales for hatching eggs.
Our flock of approximately two dozen pure-bred ‘large fowl’ (not bantam) Buff Orpington chickens is kept at our historic high-walled kitchen garden in the Hebridean island of South Uist. Orpingtons are ideal back garden chickens – very friendly in nature and productive layers of eggs with a creamy colour – sometimes with a pinkish hue. Born and bred here in the Outer Hebrides, our birds are accustomed to wet and windy winters, but are much more productive if they can sit out the worst weather in a warm, dry and comfy hen house ; and so that’s exactly what they have! Orpingtons are very good sitters and mothers, being blessed with plenty of ‘lacy petticoats’ to keep their chicks warm.
Our flock of approximately 70 ‘large fowl’ (not bantam) pure-bred Welsumer chickens range freely across the fields and shoreline of our croft in the Hebridean island of Eriskay, and as the hen-house is right beside the shore that includes access to the delicacies of the rockpools and amongst the seaweed. This environment makes for especially hardy birds, good foragers and extremely thrifty. The eggs are strong-shelled and are a lovely medium to dark brown colour, many speckled.
We incubate eggs throughout the year for replacement stock. With a view to maintaining healthy genetics and flock improvement, most incubations will include eggs bought in from carefully selected breeders. Fertility and hatch rates are consistently good – especially from eggs laid by our own flocks. The hen to cockerel ratio is never more than 8 to 1. Our birds’ diet is entirely GM-free, about a third being natural fresh forage from the walled garden, croft and sea-shore, and the rest a combination of mixed grains and ‘breeders’ rations’ according to the season and their needs.
Eggs collected each morning and brought to the house in a box of clean straw. First priority is to fulfill orders for hatching eggs, selecting – from that mornings collection – only those eggs that are nearest perfect for hatching. Weight, size, shape, colouring, cleanliness (but eggs are not washed) and freedom from dents cracks and any other physical defects.
Ordering and Delivery Information
For orders exceeding two dozen eggs or for deliveries to outside the United Kingdom, please contact us.
Price. Each pack of half-dozen hatching eggs costs £8.50.
Ordering. Click or Tap on the picture (below) of your chosen breed to add one pack containing a half-dozen hatching eggs to your shopping basket. You will then have the opportunity to increase the quantity of packs. You can return to this page to add the eggs of the other breed to your shopping basket, or continue to the checkout.
Payment is through PayPal : You do not need a PayPal account to use this (you can pay using a credit or debit card), or you can log in to your own PayPal account to pay from your PayPal balance or your PayPal funding source.
Packaging. Eggs are packaged in moulded polystyrene egg blocks (polyboxes – the 10cm deep type, ensuring maximum protection), sealed with brown packing tape and copiously marked with red/white ‘Fragile’ tape. (We know of only one in thousands of deliveries that were damaged despite this packaging.) The customer address label also bears a code (top right corner of label) with a code indicating number of eggs and breed. (There’ll also be our sender’s label.) Each despatch can be a half dozen or a full dozen. If you order more than a full dozen, your order will be sent as separate despatches each of half or full dozens.
Cancellation. If you change your mind, contact us as soon as possible after placing your order. If we have not already posted the eggs, we may be able to cancel your order and refund your payment in full or in part. If we have not packaged up the eggs ready to send to you and are able to sell the eggs to another customer at short notice, then we will refund your payment in full. Otherwise, the amount of any refund (if any) will be at our discretion, and our decision final.
Postage. Your hatching eggs will be sent to you by Royal Mail’s First Class Signed For service. We send the Royal Mail tracking code to you by email.
P&P Charges. For a half-dozen eggs a P&P charge of £5.50 is added. For a full dozen eggs the charge is £6.50. (The actual postage is the same, the difference is due to the additional packaging.) These charges are calculated automatically according to quantity of half-dozens you have in your shopping cart.
Delivery. We will usually despatch within three days of receiving your order, but we despatch Monday to Thursday only. The eggs will usually be delivered to you two days later, but in bad weather it can vary from the next day to three days later. If you have very particular requirements for delivery, please contact us to discuss – ideally before placing your order.
Viability. We are confident that the eggs we send to you are fertilzed and, at the time of despatch, are fully viable. However it is inherent to the sending of hatching eggs by post that the viability is liable to reduce due to environmental changes and handling in transit – matters which are wholly outwith our control. We expect you to recognize and to make reasonable allowance for that fact. If you decide to buy hatchiing eggs by mail order, you are expected to be aware of the inherent risks and accept that the success rate will be lower than would be the case had you collected eggs in person: you cannot reasonably put all the blame on the supplier.
Incubation. We recommend you candle the eggs on the 10th day of incubation, using a good quality candling torch in a properly dark room. If the eggs are not developing satisfactorily at this stage, you may return them for a refund, as provided for in our Guarantee (see below). Otherwise, it is reasonable to assume that the eggs are developing satisfactorily, whether or not you have candled them, and that any failure to develop that becomes apparent thereafter is due to problems with incubation, not viability.
Guarantee [UK only]. Notwithstanding the note above concerning viability, if you are disatisfied with the eggs you receive – regardless of reason, you may send your purchase back for a full refund of what you paid for the eggs. You must send all the eggs you received, in the original packaging, and you pay for postage, with evidence that you posted the eggs within 14 days of the date recorded for delivery to you. We will refund your payment to your PayPal address within five days of us receiving the eggs.
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This is one very lucky Welsumer pullet!
As soon as I entered the hen house, this morning, I could distinguish, amongst the babble of the flock demanding their feed, one voice that was of distress. Quiet, but persistent.
I found this pullet with a rat trap snapped shut across her neck.
Fortunately, due to the trap having seen a lot of action over several years, the rectangle of hard wire that ‘does the deed’ itslf has become twisted, and only fully strikes the wooden base at one corner. The pullet’s neck was caught under the other.
I freed her with ease. She could stand, unsteadily. I took her home with me and let her rest in a box of straw.
Now, late afternoon, she’s fully recovered, and ready to go back with the rest.
Now let me be clear about this, the croft is right next to a shoreline with plenty of interest to rats. It is unrealistic to expect we can eliminate them. They can get into the henhouse by the same means used by the hens themselves – the open pop-hole. They not only eat the feed put out for the hens, but they also spoil the feed that they don’t eat – and then the hens won’t eat it. We have to set traps.
Traps are set under an up-turned big heavy fish box, with a stone on top, in the corner of the henhouse. Rats can get in through the hand-holes. Chickens can’t. Or at least that’s what I thought. They can see through the hand-holes, though. And they can smell the sheep nuts with which the traps are dressed. And it seems that a young pullet can reach quite a way in through that hand-hole, too, to try and get one of those tasty little morsels …
The extraordinary thing is that, the trap having sprung, she managed to drag her head – and the trap with it, out through the hand-hole. I found her on the far side of the henhouse.
It’s my fault. I should have anticipated this. Now the traps are set and the bait laid at the centre only of the fish box, out of reach by even the boldest pullet.
Lesson learned. Thankfully at no great cost. That is one very lucky pullet!
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