These chicks are lucky to have hatched out in a warm incubator

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The partridge eggs saved from a nest disturbed by a stray dog, have hatched.

Partridge egg hatching is quite something.The partridge chick makes a semi circular incision in one end of the shell, and emerges with the shell virtually intact.

You can literally close the lid on the empty egg after the hatch and make a whole egg again.

Nine eggs hatched, seven chicks survived.

One managed to get under the incubating tray (they are like bumble bees) and drown itself in the humidifying tray, and the other partridge chick had splayed legs and never thrived.

The others are doing well and John has added to their numbers with twenty newly hatched chicks from a game farm so that he has a decent size covey to go outside in late summer.

Summer. Summer? I tell you those chicks are lucky to have hatched out in a nice warm incubator. The day they hatched brought yet another downpour. The chicks would barely have survived in the wild.

Our intention is not for these English partridges to be put down for shooting, but to increase indigenous numbers. We can still see several of the adult English partridges John released last year, but sadly no coveys of chicks.

This morning John and I spent an hour going round the cattle and sheep in the fields. The lambs are standing with their backs hunched against the rain.

Ewes and lambs literally shake themselves like dogs to rid themselves of the wet. Conditions are miserable and John is vexed that the lambs are not thriving as they should do at this time of year..

Added to this concern is a worry that he might not have made the right choice of tups for our flock.

We have always used Suffolk or and Texel tups, but last autumn we had a change, on the advice of buyers for the supermarkets and butchers, to another breed of tup.

The lambs are leggy and to John’s eyes, do not conform as well as the progeny of Suffolk or Texels.

As several are due to go to market on Monday, the proof will be in what the buyers are prepared to pay. I sense a fire sale and new tups bought in for the autumn.

Even more miserable in the rain than the sheep however were the cows.

A calf born yesterday snuggled up to its mum to dodge the rain. A sodden introduction to life.

However the status of top miserable farm dweller clearly goes to John. He is desperate. The cows had once more broken down the electric fence that runs beside the fence that separates stock from a wheat field and that needed mending.

The ground that he had dug out for a fresh stretch of yard to be concreted is now full of water and he has had to cancel the delivery.

Silaging and hay making remain a distant dream.

The barley is starting to turn and the thought of combine and tractors travelling in such soggy fields is a nightmare.

And the forecast? More rain.

Mrs Downs Diary