We got Spot at the end of last September when she was five months old. I had waited for two summers to get her because during both those summers the breeder had ended up with ninety percent cockerels and I think she probably only let me have Spot because I had waited so long.
Spot was very nervous when we first had her but I gradually won her confidence and she became very friendly and would eat out of my hand and occasionally jump on my back.
We have had Spot for eight months and she had grown in beauty and in confidence and had a lovely nature.
In February her comb and face became red and she practised in the nest box a couple of times but never laid. After that she never returned to the nest box and at a year and a month old she had never laid an egg which I felt meant that there was something adrift with her.
I think Spot had heart failure as she went very quickly and a heart problem is probably why she never laid. She had such a short life but did have eight happy months with us.
Spot was such a lovely girl and will be very much missed.
I am still in shock that we lost Spot yesterday. It was so sudden. She had been dust bathing, running around, rushing to the treats and seemed her usual self.
I went up to the girls late afternoon and Spot was sitting with her eyes closing. I knew straight away something was wrong. I picked her up and inspected her. Everything felt normal. Her chest and crop felt normal and there was no sign of an egg problem which is the first thing I look for.
I set her back down in the run and she moved away. I checked back in ten minutes and was shocked to see her laying in the run. I thought she was gone already but she was still breathing. I picked her up and put her in a nest box so she would be somewhere more comfortable.
I kept checking on her and she hadn’t moved. I felt that she wasn’t suffering because she looked like she was asleep. I kept checking on her and she was gone a little later. I left her closed in the nest box overnight and we buried her in the chicken’s strip this morning.
We dug up a yellow poppy and buried her and then replanted the poppy over her and marked her spot with a wooden cross.
I believe that Spot had heart failure as I have seen this before with Sienna and then Jasmine who were siblings. I think that if she had a heart defect that would have caused her to be unable to lay eggs and then her heart just suddenly gave out.
For Spot it was a quick way to go and she has had eight happy months with us. For me it is heart breaking. I waited two summers to get Spot. She was a year old last month. In my heart I knew that because she had never laid there must be something adrift but she looked vibrant and beautiful.
She had grown in confidence since we had her and had a lovely nature. I just can’t believe she has gone so suddenly. I will do a tribute for her soon but at the moment I am still reeling from the shock. She was such a beautiful girl and I will miss her.
Yesterday Flame laid her first egg since her broody spell. Today Sugar laid her first egg since her broody spell and Flame laid her second egg.
It’s two weeks since both these girls came out of their broody spell. I knew Flame was getting ready to lay again as she has been practising for the last couple of days.
I was surprised that Sugar was getting ready too as she had been broody for such a long time but yesterday she was in the grit then looking in the nest box and today she settled in the nest box and got her egg laid.
From the left is Storm’s egg then sugar’s egg. Next is Snowflakes egg then Gold’s egg with Flame’s egg on the right.
I was just on the verge of buying some eggs as we only had two regular girls laying but now with four regular girls laying there is no need to buy any. The eggs should soon build up again.
Storm laid her second egg two days after her first egg. It was very slightly bigger.
Spangle has now laid three eggs each a week apart. Her egg today was the same small size and darker colour as her last one.
The reason I thought Spangle’s last egg was Storm’s egg was it’s small size. It is exactly the same size as Storm’s egg. I was surprised at the colour though as I had read that modern game lay a white egg but then when I did further research I saw that game girls’ eggs can vary a bit in colour.
Spangle’s eggs were usually beige but I think because her eggs are now smaller they are darker in colour. The pigment doesn’t have to stretch so thin on a smaller egg which can give a darker colour.
Spangle’s egg is on the left. Next is Storm’s second egg and then her first egg. Next is Snowflake’s egg and Gold’s egg on the right.
Flame had a short practice in the nest box today which means she will probably start laying in the next day or two. It is two weeks since her last egg. It will be good to have another girl laying regularly.
Snowflake hasn’t laid for four days which is the longest since she started laying. She seems to be taking a break.
Salmon and Spot are still yet to start laying. We have had girls not lay very often in the past but we have never had a year old girl not start laying. Spot is a mystery.
Today Storm spent some time scratching in the nest box before settling ready to lay. I took a few photos because she is such a quirky shape. I think her long legs make it difficult to sit comfortably.
A little later and Storm had laid her egg. A tiny, white, egg. I realised that the previous egg that I thought was hers couldn’t have been.
I now believe this egg was Spangle’s second egg and being smaller than usual has caused it to be darker in colour. I know it can’t be Spot’s egg because bantam silver spangled hamburgs lay white, medium sized eggs. Also Spot hasn’t shown any interest in the nest boxes lately whereas Spangle has been in and out quite a bit.
Salmon’s eggs are almost round and pale plus she hasn’t been showing any interest in the nest box. This egg was laid a week after Spangle’s first egg so it would make sense. It is the darkest egg we have had. The good news was it had a good shell. We have eaten the egg so I could only use the photo for comparison.
I will be more certain when a few more eggs are laid but it’s the most likely conclusion I can come to.
Modern game only lay in the spring months for breeding so she will probably only lay for a few months but it will be interesting to see often she lays.
Sophie asked if I could take photos to show a size comparison between the girls. She said it may be easier said than done and so it proved.
Snowflake by name and Snowflake by nature is difficult to photograph because as soon as she sees the camera she moves away. Gold and Storm are the opposite and as soon as they see the camera or more precisely my hands, they run to me and dive bomb the photo. I cant get back from them as when I step back they follow.
The rest of the flock are easy as they are used to the camera and take no notice. In the end I had to resort to treats to distract them. One of the photos is blurred but I kept it as it showed size comparison well.
I can’t understand why this amazing looking, one year old girl, isn’t laying yet.
Snowflake is wide and chunky and heavy but has short legs and is very low to the ground. Gold is taller but slimmer and lighter. Storm is tiny in body and very light but has long legs and a long neck.
Flame is the largest and heaviest girl. Spot is next in size but is much lighter than Flame. Spangle and Sugar are similar in size to each other with Salmon being a bit smaller. Storm is smallest of all despite her height.
Both Gold and Storm like to jump on me and follow my every move. They “help” me clean up by either riding on my back or pecking around my fingers and toes.
I can’t move in the run without their supervision. When I enter the run Gold steps on to the threshold of the gate and I have to lift her away to go in. She doesn’t mind me picking her up at all.
Snowflake has taken over digging duties and is always digging deep holes. She has quite large feet. I would have liked a photo of her digging one of her huge holes but every time I approached with the camera she abandoned her digging only to return as soon as I moved away.
And in other news it only took two nights in the crate for Sugar to come out of being broody. Two nights and just the one day in between. I think because she had been broody so long she was more ready to come out of it.
Perhaps next time I should try to break her out of it sooner. I would like to leave it to nature but as she was broody a month the first time last year and a month first time again this year I suspect that she will always be this committed.
For the last few days Storm has been trying out the nest boxes. Today I found her tiny egg in the nest box. I didn’t actually catch her in the nest box but the egg is so tiny that it has to be hers. Gold and Snowflake had already laid their egg today.
What a sweet little egg and what a clever girl! It looks like Spot is going to be last girl to lay if she ever does. Spot is a year old and it is a mystery as to why she hasn’t started laying.
In other news Flame is through her broody spell and Sugar is now in the dog crate. She has been broody for a full month now and is showing no sign of giving up.
I wonder how long she would go on for if I left her to it. I can’t leave her any longer because the longer she goes on the more committed she becomes and she no longer takes breaks. I worry that she will lose condition and also it’s no life for a chicken sitting day and night.
I am not sure how long it will take to break her of this but I hope it won’t be too long.
Yesterday I could see that Spangle wanted to lay her first egg of the year. Spangle was in the nest box for quite a long time.
When I went to check on Spangle I thought that I had caught her in the throes of laying as she was in the position and was straining.
When I next checked on Spangle she was out in the run and no egg was in the nest box. I picked her up to check on her and she had a messy bottom. I cleaned it as best I could with kitchen roll.
A bit later Spangle returned to the nest box and had another try. Once more she was straining and then she gave up without laying.
The next time I checked on Spangle she was in the run and didn’t look right. She had her wings down and her eyes were closing. I guessed that she must have an egg stuck.
I felt really upset. It seems that as each serama comes back in to lay they have a problem and I felt as if it was possible that I would lose them one by one. Spangle has never had a problem laying an egg before but then neither had Shadow or Smoke.
I hoped that later in the day if I could see some soft shell I could pull it out. I planned on bathing Spangle the next day if she still hadn’t passed her egg but wasn’t optimistic about that as it has never worked for me yet.
I visualised taking Spangle to the vet over the next day or two. I knew my decision not to have any more seramas was the right one and I visualised soon not having any seramas or being left with only Sugar spending ninety percent of her time in a nest box.
I kept checking on Spangle and each time she hadn’t moved. I then checked back again a little later and Spangle was on the patio area looking back to normal. I was so surprised.
I looked over to the spot in the run where she had been and there in the dirt was her egg. I was so relieved.
On the right is Flame’s last egg which was smaller than usual. Next is Snowflake’s and then Gold’s and then Spangle’s usual torpedo shaped egg on the left.
I couldn’t understand why Spangle’s egg had been so difficult to pass as it looked fine. This morning I made scrambled egg for breakfast and cracked Spangle’s egg to see what the shell was like.
The shell was wafer thin which explains why it was difficult to lay. I am so relieved that Spangle managed to lay the egg. I am hoping this is just a blip as it’s her first egg of the year.
Luckily Spangle doesn’t lay often. She usually averages an egg once a week. I worry about her next egg but we have to cross that bridge when we get to it and we have still have Salmon to start laying yet.