Hatching for the BBC

Over the years we have worked on a number of projects with the BBC and other similar organisations.  But this weekend was the first time we had ever been asked to hatch to a precise time for onsite filming. 

We knew the day the crew were coming to Heritage Turkeys to film a ‘Spring Themed’ event for ‘Countryfile Diaries’, but the hatching egg requirement was a bit of a last-minute inclusion. 

I was amused by a charming researcher who thoughtfully enquired at what time the hatchings would occur so she could ensure the crew were on site and prepared.  I explained that nature wasn’t quite that precise, but stated I was ‘optimistic’ given we had hatchings due the day before and after, although not actually on the day they planned to be here.

The day before there were quite a few eggs showing early signs of hatching and we went to bed optimistic that we would have something to film.  But during the night and before the crew arrived we had 7 hatch.  Fabulous, fluffy and irresistibly filmable, but their early arrival left only a few eggs pipped that might possibly hatch in front of the camera.

To facilitate filming we put the few remaining eggs in another incubator as this offered a more ‘controlled’ environment, also this left the other incubators undisturbed and to progress as normal.  The ‘studio incubator’ was watched carefully and between other filming commitments, Brenda checked it regularly.

Our optimism paid off, and to an accompaniment of ooh’s and aah’s a Buff chick eventually hatched in front of the camera.  The crew were absolutely astounded by the miracle that is a chick hatching, and delighted that they were able to capture the event on film. 

For me, it was a miracle because of the associated problems encountered with both hatching and filming, let alone undertaking this in a tight timeframe.

The filming was for the new Countryfile Diaries, and this short series is being shown on daytime television within the next few weeks.  Although I asked it amused me they didn’t know ‘precisely’ when it would be aired.  Good job we didn’t leave it to them to arrange the hatching then…

They were a great crew and filming was fun, and given our past experience, the program should be a great advertisement for anyone who breeds traditional varieties of heritage turkey. 

Leave a comment