Salmon lays a good shelled egg

Salmon has struggled with egg laying up until now. She laid two tiny grape sized eggs, one mid January and the next mid February. Then two weeks ago she looked hunched and miserable  in the afternoon and the next morning there was a soft shelled egg in the chicken shed. One week ago exactly the same thing happened and there was a second soft shelled egg.

Yesterday Salmon was very vocal and was digging in the corner of the chicken shed when I cleaned in the morning. Later she was looking in the nest boxes and settled in the one nearest the chicken shed for a little while. I found this quite encouraging.

A little later still salmon had settled in the corner of the chicken shed nearest the pop hole. Salmon was picking up pine shavings and placing them around her. I felt that this time she was going to lay properly.

Salmon is in the corner of the chicken shed moving shavings around

Salmon settles down to lay her egg

The next time I checked on her Salmon was just leaving the chicken shed. I checked her corner and there was a good shelled egg. It was smaller than the other girls’ eggs but I was so pleased that it had a good shell.

I am hopeful that Salmon will be okay from now on and that it was just a problem getting started. Hurrah! Well done Salmon.

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Sharing a nest box again

Yesterday Ebony and Smoke were sharing a nest box again. Once more they both laid their eggs together. Flame had also laid in the same nest box a little earlier. These three have their timings in tune at the moment.

Ebony and Smoke share a nest box

A little later both their eggs were in the same nest box

This was our second, six egg, day. Flame, Ebony, Smoke, Jasmine, Spangle and Marmite all laid.

Speckles hasn’t laid again since her first, blood streaked, egg nine days ago. Coinciding with laying her first egg she has been drinking lots of water and doing sloppy poops again. I think that she must have an internal problem but she looks absolutely fine in herself.

Speckles is about six years old. This happened last year when she started laying but completely stopped over winter. I thought it was a one off problem but she is just the same again as last summer and it has started with her starting to lay again the same as last year. I think the problem must have to do with her starting to lay and may be a kidney problem.

She is eating well and behaving the same as ever so I am not too worried. I think it may be a sign of her ageing. She laid twelve eggs last year and I am sort of expecting about six eggs this year if she follows her previous pattern. Her comb isn’t as huge as it used to be. She seems happy and is doing all the usual chicken things so I am not going to worry.

Only Sienna has yet to lay her first egg and I think that may be soon as she has been a bit more vocal than usual. Jasmine and Sienna are the same age and Jasmine started laying six weeks ago so Sienna is quite a late starter.

I think Dandelion and Cinnamon are about to start laying soon as well as they have also been very vocal recently. Last year Cinnamon started at the beginning of March and Dandelion in April.

Jasmine’s egg laying has improved and she looks fine when she is about to lay now. Salmon’s last two eggs have been soft shelled, both laid in the chicken shed in the early morning and about a week apart.

We have an abundance of eggs but the important thing for me is to have the girls healthy and happy. I hope that like Dandelion, before her, Salmon will improve in time.

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Sharing a nest box

I was surprised to see Ebony and Flame sharing a nest box.

Flame and Ebony share a nest box

The next minute Smoke had joined them.

Smoke decides there is room for her too

Three girls in a nest box

The girls seem a lot more cosy than usual at the moment. When I next checked their eggs were side by side.

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More signs of spring in the garden

There are more and more splashes of colour in the garden now.

Hyacinths growing through pulmonaria

Anemones with primulas

A pot of vinca

Raspberry canes on the veg plot

T had bought too many raspberry canes for the allotment. He wanted just one row of canes so he gave us the spare ones. We decided to plant a row of canes at the back of the veg plot. We aren’t sure if they have enough space here but we are going to try it and see how it works out.

We like the idea of a few permanent plants on the veg plot so are planning putting in some strawberries on the opposite strip at the top. That way the top portion of the veg plot will be filled all year round. We don’t need so much space as we will have produce from the allotment as well as the garden.

We have never grown raspberry canes before so this will be an experiment. It would be great to have some fruit from the garden. It will be interesting to see what this summer brings.

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Vanilla and Flame lay their eggs together

One of the reasons that I knew Vanilla was about to start laying was because I had seen her on a couple of different days with Flame in the corner of the chicken shed. Vanilla seems to want to lay her egg wherever flame does but I didn’t manage to get a photograph as when I returned with my camera they had both left the shed.

Today I caught them laying their eggs together in the chicken shed.

Vanilla and Flame together

They laid their eggs side by side

You never know which unlikely pair of girls will choose to lay their eggs together.

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Vanilla’s first two eggs and our first, six egg, day

We were away for the day yesterday so I am just catching up.

Vanilla has finally got started with egg laying and has laid her first two eggs. They are a very distinct, torpedo, shape. I am not sure if that’s just because it’s her first eggs or if they will remain this shape. I suspect they will probably become more egg shaped as she lays more of them.

Eggs on the roller

For a size comparison there is Ebony’s egg on the far left followed by Flame’s egg. Next is Jasmine’s egg and then Smoke’s egg. On the right are the two eggs from Vanilla.

Vanilla and Smoke’s egg

It’s difficult to see the difference on the roller so this is a closer view of Vanilla’s egg on the left and Smoke’s egg on the right. They are the longest, narrowest, eggs yet.

Smoke was the first of the amigos to start laying in December which was when the amigos were about six months old. That would make Vanilla about nine months old which is quite a late start.

Only Sienna is yet to start and I would put her at about ten months old. Silky girls are slower to mature but Jasmine started laying two months ago so at about seven months. It just shows how different the girls can be.

Today has been our first, six egg, day as Smoke recently started laying again and Marmite started again today. Our first egg today was from Marmite followed by Ebony and then Flame. Smoke was next to lay followed by Spangle and then Jasmine.

The egg rollers are filling up. We have an abundance of lovely eggs.

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Speckles first egg of the year

This morning Speckles was back in the nest box again. She had piled a little heap of pine shavings on her back.

Speckles with a pile of shavings on her back

I was sure she was going to get her egg laid this time.

I checked back a little later and she was back out in the run. Her egg was in the nest box but I was a bit worried to see quite a streak of blood on it.

Speckles bloodied egg

Ebony’s egg is on the left, Flame’s egg is in the middle and Speckles egg is on the right.

I googled blood on an older hen’s egg. What would we do without google! I know that a chicken’s first egg often has a streak of blood on it but Speckles is an older hen, possibly about six years old.

It said that an older hen sometimes has blood on the first egg of the year because a little blood vessel in her vent may rupture when laying the egg especially if she has a bit of a struggle to lay it or if it is a large egg. Speckles has been trying to lay her egg for three days now so this would make sense. It is also a large egg but Speckles has always laid large eggs and it’s not as large as some she has laid.

It said that as long as it’s not ongoing then it’s nothing to worry about. I am hopeful that it’s just a glitch and her next egg will be blood free. As Speckles lays an average of three eggs a month it may be a bit of a wait for her next egg. At least the fact that she doesn’t lay often should make the process easier for her.

Having said that she did lay her first two eggs a few days apart last year and then a long gap between all the eggs after that so we will have to wait and see.

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Speckles is definitely getting ready to lay again

For the last couple of days when I have gone to stroke Speckles she has dropped into a squat. She is definitely getting ready to lay. Today she sat in the nest box nearest the chicken shed and was piling pine shavings on to her back.

I really thought she was going to produce her first egg of the year but she later came out with out laying an egg. Even an older girl sometimes needs a bit of practice.

Speckles in the nest box

Speckles is putting shavings on her back

Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

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Soft shelled egg

This morning when I went in to the girls Salmon was back to her usual perky self and enthusiastically joined in with the morning sunflower seeds.

I went into the chicken shed and there was a soft shelled egg under Salmon’s roost spot. I think she had laid it from the perch and it had broken on landing.

Salmon’s soft shelled egg

It had had shavings scratched over it. The shell was really soft which was why she had had such a problem passing it. I really hope that the next one will be okay and that it won’t be a continuing problem. Only time will tell but for now the crisis has passed.

Edit

Later in the day Jasmine got her egg laid too. Flame also laid and then Spangle. Apart from Ebony, who is laying every other day at the moment and she laid yesterday, that is all the current laying girls. Smoke and Marmite are still on their broody break.

I am pleased that both girls laid today and Jasmine is also back to her usual self too. Jasmine’s egg looks normal but I am expecting the shell to be thin.

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Salmon has a problem

We seem to be beset with egg laying problems. Smoke, Marmite and Spangle have been laying with no problems. Jasmine has struggled and her eggs have thin shells which I know is what is giving her a bit of a problem.

Salmon has taken ages to get going with one egg in January and one egg in February. Over the last week she has been practising. She would sit in the nest box for about half an hour and then give up.

Today she didn’t look happy. This is now such a familiar posture to me that I know it is a sign of struggling to lay an egg probably because of a thin shell.

Salmon is not a happy girl

I hate to see them like this but there is nothing I can do to help her. I hope that over the next day or so she gets her egg laid and bounces back.

When I gave out the bedtime corn Salmon wasn’t at all interested which is a sign of how uncomfortable she must be. To make matters worse by this time Jasmine wasn’t looking very happy either. I hope they soon get their eggs laid and get back to normal.

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