Category: Microholding

Hatching Eggs and Caring for Chicks

Though all the books say chicken eggs hatch after 21 days of incubation, in real life things aren’t actually that cut and dried. Chicks tend not to all hatch out at the same time. Thankfully, they can go for at least 12 hours without food or water after they hatch, having just absorbed the yolk sac before fighting their way out.

However, they can’t survive in the incubator forever and are best moved to a brooder within a few hours. I tend to build a new brooder each year, consisting of the following ingredients:

  • Large cardboard box
  • An old T-shirt
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Incubating Chicken Eggs

IncubationBack in August last year, I posted my Annual Chicken Plan, a plan I failed to follow last year due to not hatching any eggs. This year we’re right back on track as 12 Light Sussex eggs are nestled together in my incubator, set to hatch this Friday evening.

In the past I built my own incubators, more details on this later, but more recently I’ve used an R-Com Suro 20 Pro, which is every bit as impressive as it sounds.


To answer this, let’s consider the conditions required to incubate chicken eggs.

Total Incubation Time 21 days
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Best Seed Tray Ever?

Growbag Seedtray
Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair of those brittle, little seed trays and the tiny pots made out of peat. Instead, get a growbag tray (£8-10) and thereafter buy only a single growbag (or two, depending on your veg plot size) each season, costing about £3.
Hey presto, you have a single, extremely tough, seed tray that can be moved to wherever you need it – perfect for hardening the plants before planting as you can pop the tray outside during the day and bring it in again in the evening.
And when one set of seeds is … Read More

Butchering Half A Pig

Not sure what I can add to that title. Here’s a video of me butchering half a pig. It’s not the only to go about this, though the main cuts (ham, belly, back and fore end)  are pretty standard. The half in this video is turned into:

  • Ham (back leg)
  • 2 x Belly Joints
  • 3 x Back Joints
  • Ribs
  • Tenderloin
  • Fore end (shoulder to hand)


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Clipping A Chicken’s Wings

Or, more precisely, clipping a chicken’s wing – singular, because this is what actually stops them escaping. Cut them both and you have a good chance they’ll still be able to fly. That’s the received wisdom anyway, I’ve never seen it myself.

The actual clipping of a chicken’s wing is fairly straightforward as this video shows, but if yours are as untame as mine, it’s the catching them that’s the issue. I usually do this at night, when they’re all tucked up in their house, but that doesn’t make for great filming.

You’ll need to do this when the chickens … Read More

Free Ebook & Audiobook
I hope you’re enjoying your visit to my site. While you’re here, I’d like to offer you a free copy of the first book in the ‘Omnifex Chronicles’ series: Montgomery’s Trouble in the Underworld in ebook AND audiobook formats. Just let me know where to send it, below.

Not only that, but I’ll also keep you updated with my occasional newsletter.

What I won’t do is share you details with others or send you loads of unwanted emails!