Well, ages ago I purchased some mail order Australorp eggs with the view of hatching and breeding Australorps as a dual purpose chook.
Of the dozen I bought, only 6 were indeed fertile. Luckily, all six hatched, although two disappeared (probably rat) and one was eaten by the dog. Thankfully, the three remaining were actually beautiful pullets!!! So, I bought a rooster and had three hens, who started laying beautifully. Then, I found one had drowned in the cow water trough
, one had to be euthanised for a prolapsed oviduct
, and have one pullet remaining. The rooster, a fine fellow, had some type of neurological disorder, which would mean that I would find him laying on his back, unable to get back up. This started to occur more frequently, and even though he was fine after being "righted" (he would wobble off and get his balance back eventually), I had to euthanase him, as it was getting into Summer, and he was found baking in the sun for goodness knows how long. I thought a quick end was better than heat exhaustion if it happened again. So, that left me with one Australorp hen, still laying beautifully. She was taken by a fox the other night at 3am, however, I gave chase, made the fox drop her, and then nursed her back to health. I couldn't believe that the fox wasn't a bit frightened of me, so much so that I thought I was dealing with a wild dog at one point!
Now... I have just bought 9 Gold Laced Wyandotte 6 week old chickens, and been given a Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster. I found a Bellsouth 100 incubator with auto turner in the local consignment shop, and will eventually have a crack at breeding Wyandottes for eggs and meat.
Wish me luck!