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 deep type, ensuring maximum protection), sealed with brown packing tape and red/white ‘fragile’ tape. (We have never known eggs to arrive damaged if this packaging is used). 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 senders 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.
Most recent post under blog category Chickens
That’s how to start the day. Put one foot down, the second foot forward … and away you go. It’s easier if there’s a routine to follow – at least until breakfast is done. Our lives are a patchwork of routines, or rather a patchwork that’s never quite put together – lots of blocks, but still no bed cover. Thank heavens, it’s the bits in-between – where we improvise, where life is most interesting. That said, even the patchwork blocks vary from day.
Here’s this morning.
Up when it was still dark, moon sailing high.
After ablutions and breakfast, I will – at this time of year, certainly – spend some time checking emails, re-working the task-lists, catching up with facebook, looking out for when it’s light enough to go and feed the livestock. If it’s light enough to drive with out headlights, then it’ll be light enough to see my way around at the croft. It’s three and a half miles to the croft, a third of that on the causeway across the Sound of Eriskay.
This morning I set off later – it was fully light (or as light as it’ll ever be on such a dreich winter’s day). I waited for Denise to come back from her morning walk with Tilly. There was an extra job this morning – two pairs of hands needed. The young Welsumer chicks in Greenhouse 1, now seven weeks old (Lucky’s three week’s older) are ready to join the main flock over at the croft. It takes two of us to get them ready to go: one to catch and snatch them as they scurry about, the other to pack them and keep notes: six hens (including Lucky), one cockerel, all with yellow rings on their left legs.
At the croft, the sheep get fed first. That’s because the Welsumer chickens are still under lock-down, shut in the hen-house all day and every day until the end of February: they won’t run around after me, stealing all the food I put down for sheep, for the geese, and even for … Come to think of it, it’s a good thing we live three and half miles away, and across the sea, because otherwise the hens would eat our breakfasts too – from under our very noses!
The chickens have been locked in for six weeks now, but they don’t seem too put out by the experience. They’re warm and dry, there’s daylight of sorts thanks to the windows high up in each gable, and plenty of ventilation to keep things pleasant. They’ve lots of company, plenty of room to get about – socializing with those they’re on good terms with, avoiding the others. And of course that nice man brings lots of lovely food – and fresh water too – every morning. They’re used to being indoors from time to time, anyway: who wants to go outside when there’s a wild storm and cold cold rain with it? ; and when young birds are brought along from the walled garden to join the flock, they’re locked in together for three days until the old girls have shown the new recruits around their new world. So there was a routine of sorts in putting today’s box of young Welsumers down, where daylight fell (rather dimly, on this dreich day) on the floor, and opening out the top of the box.
Being older and taller, Lucky was out first … the others needed a helping hand!
Beside the box I’d placed the feed bowl they’d been used to at Greenhouse 1, so they were more interested in the grain than exploring … those strange, un-seen, older voices could wait for now … couldn’t they?
But those strange, un-seen, older voices couldn’t wait to investigate those strange, un-seen, younger voices – and what they are eating!
By now, the geese have tracked me down. Mr Jackson is knocking on the door demanding to be let in … or is he demanding I come out to serve him with breakfast? I finished the routine in the hen house, and then led the geese to their favourite feeding ground …
At this point I fell off the edge of the morning block of patchwork, launched into free-form living until lunchtime. I say free-form, but my life over the next 2-3 hours would prove to be very much linear: cutting a slit-trench and burying the new armoured cable that’s to supply the hen house. The tools for this job consist of (a) a Spear & Jackson Neverbend spade with an ash T-handle, circa 1948, and with hardened steel blade worn by three generations of use to a tapered shape and the corners rounded off ; and (b) a 600mm length of treated off-saw 38 x 25 used to push the cable down into the slot. Oh, and (c) my booted foot. And a trained eye, and calloused hands, an aching back, and too many years studying at the university of pointless triumphs and glorious mistakes!
After twenty metres or so, I judged it might just take me long enough to drive home and get there just in time for lunch if I set off in just a few minutes. I straightened my beck, looked out across the sea and the hills of Uist … and I just got the feeling I might be … you know … watched. I picked up the tools, climbed back over the fence into Home Park, and … there was Mr & Mrs Jackson letting their breakfasts settle, considering what else might be done with the rest of the day, and where they might go for a spot of lunch, but in the meantime quite content to watch me work.
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