Lockdown has been an interesting and challenging time for everyone. The customer support team at Brinsea have been incredibly busy as it seems like everyone in the world wants to hatch eggs! A few weeks ago, we received an email from Helen, who needed our help!

Helen wrote, ‘Are you open? I need a small incubator urgently as when I was weed cutting, I chopped down some weeds and there was a partridge nest under it. The eggs have not been sat on yet so I need to get them into an incubator ASAP. Mole Valley haven’t got any in stock, and it’s urgent, can you help please?’

Luckily Helen was very local to Brinsea, only living a few miles away. We could not allow customers to visit our factory due to restrictions put in place due to Coronavirus, but our UK Sales Administration Manager, Juliette came up with a plan! She arranged to meet Helen in her stable yard, and maintaining social distancing she lent Helen her old Mini Advance incubator that she uses for hatching chicken eggs in.



Helen said, ‘I have my own stable yard, three pet sheep, some chickens and ducks. I did hatch some ducklings a few years ago. We were killing weeds in our paddock and as we cut down a massive thistle, I realised there were eggs there. My heart sank so we tried to cover it back over but 24hrs later mum had not been back and laid any more eggs or any signs she was even going back to nest. So, we started searching for an incubator and during lockdown it seemed everyone had taken to hatching eggs and there were none available in our local Mole Valley Farmers store. I sent an urgent message to Brinsea in the hope someone could help. Thank goodness they had one in the office, they tried it and messaged me to say it had been tested and was working. We were in the middle of very unsettled weather with thunder and had power cuts which wasn’t best for starting to incubating eggs. A lovely lady met me near my yard and delivered the incubator, incubation disinfectant and hatching mat – everything I could ever need to hopefully hatch the eggs. Observing social distancing and with great care she off-loaded the equipment from her car and I loaded it into mine and off I went and started it up and waited for the temperature to settle and in went the eggs.

When I found the eggs, I felt so bad but had to try and hatch them and having never hatched partridges before I can say they are much harder than ducks and chickens. They seemed to get stuck in the shells and needed a helping hand. The mum and dad partridge come to visit us every night for food, so I had to try to save their eggs. I put them into Juliette’s incubator and hoped for the best. A few days later, I candled the eggs and all eight were viable and I got view of blood veins. It was so exciting; I even went to tell the mum and dad partridge that I was hatching their egg, I’m sure people would think I was mad! Watching water levels day by day and then starting to see the eggs moving was fascinating as never even thought of hatching red leg partridges before. As we approached lock-down we upped the water and waited. The day they pipped was an amazing feeling as once one pipped all the others pipped in less than 24 hours. We had six eggs hatch; sadly, two died very quickly but the rest have thrived and are currently running around my lounge like mad things.

Thank goodness for Brinsea stepping in as we have four amazing little partridges giving us a daily headache having to watch where we walk and of course, the cats are banned from lounge!’

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