Worming the girls

I usually worm the girls twice a year in March and September. This year I totally forgot in September. By the time I realised that I had missed doing it I decided that it was near enough to March to just do it then.

I have now been giving them daily flubenvet for seven consecutive days and I haven’t found any worms in their poop so I am wondering if just once a year is enough.

I always add the flubenvet to four little dishes of mash as I find this is a really easy way to make sure all the girls get a share. The girls love mash and by the end of the day the dishes are empty and I make sure that I have seen all the girls get a share.

The first day of worming the girls
Later in the week

The job is done easily and the girls have enjoyed their daily mash.

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Sugar lays her first egg

This morning both Shadow and Sugar were very vocal. Sugar was as vocal as Shadow is when she is just about to lay and she was looking in the nest boxes too. I was pretty sure that Sugar was about to lay her first egg.

Smoke is broody after laying twelve eggs in nineteen days.

When I checked back on the girls Smoke was sitting on two eggs. I deduced that they were Shadow and Sugar’s eggs. I was disappointed that I hadn’t seen Sugar sitting in the nest box. It’s so cold at the moment that I haven’t been in the run so frequently.

The size and shape are a good indication though. Smoke’s eggs are large for a serama and round. Shadow’s eggs have remained quite small and are also round. The mystery egg was in between the size of Shadow’s and Smoke’s and was more oval in shape and also had the tell tale streak of blood on it.

Eggs

On the left is Flame’s egg then Smoke’s egg, next is Sugar’s more oval shaped egg with a little blood streak and on the right is Shadow’s egg.

I hope to catch Sugar in the nest box next time but this egg is quite different in shape and that along with the blood streak makes me sure that it belongs to Sugar. There are also no other girls laying at the moment.

This is three weeks after Shadow started laying. Well done Sugar!

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Allotment greens for the girls

Nothing from the allotment is ever wasted when you have chickens. We have just been clearing the allotment plots ready for the start of this year’s planting.

There were still some cabbages that hadn’t hearted up. We decided to lift them and let the chooks have them. I put some in the run each day and take the bare stalks out at the end of the day.

The girls have allotment cabbages
The girls are enjoying their cabbages
There are just the stalks left at the end of the day

I love to see the girls enjoying the allotment produce. It gives them their daily greens but also provides them with a bit of entertainment too. They keep going back to them and pecking at them a bit more.

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Updating “The history of the flock”

Each time we have new girls I like to update “The history of the flock” page at the head of my blog. I am now on “The history of the flock part three”. This is mostly a record for me to look back on.

I like to include photos of the new girls when we first have them and if they are chicks to update it again when they are all grown up which I consider to be around the start of egg laying.

I did this yesterday but thought that I would include the photos here too as Sugar and Shadow are such photogenic girls. They are very pretty and are also very used to me and my camera and they pose beautifully for me.

We got Sugar and Shadow on the eighth of September last year and they were about three months old. They are now about eight months old. Shadow has been laying for a month now but Sugar has yet to start laying.

The chicks at three months old
Shadow
Sugar

Shadow has changed such a lot. Like Spangle Shadow has lost a lot of her dark feathers and like Spangle I think that Shadow has become more beautiful.

Both girls have a lovely red face and comb and both have grown in confidence and are very friendly girls.

They have settled in to the flock easily and are such lovely girls.

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Flame lays her first egg of the year

This morning while Smoke was in the nest box Flame decided that she wanted to lay her first egg of the year. Of course she really wanted to do this in the same nest box as Smoke.

I knew that Flame was ready to lay as she always makes quite a mournful sound when she is about to lay. Flame had taken a look in all three nest boxes and the chicken shed but she kept coming back to the one that Smoke was in.

Eventually Flame settled next to Smoke and Smoke allowed her to share the nest box.

Flame and Smoke share a nest box

A little bit later I checked again and knew by Smoke’s behaviour that she had laid her egg. I reached under her and removed her egg. A little later still I checked back again and Flame was out of the nest box but Smoke was still in there.

I lifted Smoke out and found that she had been sitting on Flame’s egg. I wondered if she was about to go broody again. She has laid nine eggs in fourteen days.

Smoke shouted very long and loud after I had lifted her out but she didn’t return to the nest box. Maybe she will lay for a bit longer. A little later Shadow laid giving us our second, three egg day, of the year.

Four girls’ eggs

On the left is Flame’s white egg and next is Ebony’s beige egg, next is smoke’s egg and on the right is Shadow’s egg. Flame’s eggs get bigger once she has been laying for a while.

In other news I have now solved the mystery of what happened to Marmite’s feather. I said in the comments on my last post that Marmite’s feathers were back to normal but that there was no sign of the feather in the run.

The next day Marmite’s feather was sticking out again but not quite as much as before. I thought that she must have preened it back into place. A bit later that day it was sticking out just as much as in the photos I had put on my last post.

Today I saw Marmite preening on the bottom rung of the ladder. Her feathers looked normal again and I thought that she must have got the feather back in place again.

I then went in to poop pick the run and there was her feather just underneath the bottom rung of the ladder. It appeared that it was annoying her after all and she was intent on sorting it out.

One thing that it has shown me is that the girls are able to sort this kind of problem out by themselves so in the end I did the right thing by leaving it be. I am glad that it has resolved itself without my help.

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Marmite has a feather sticking out

Marmite has had a feather sticking out at right angles for about a week. A few times I have tweaked it to see if it is loose. Then I picked her up and gave it a bit of a tug. It’s not loose, it is firmly, attached.

Then I picked her up and attempted to push the feather back in place. I put her down on the patio area and she shook herself and the feather popped back out again.

Marmite has finished moulting and this feather isn’t loose. I can only assume that one of the girls has grabbed her by the feather and it has got twisted.

It doesn’t look great but it’s not bothering her. I don’t feel as if I can pull it out as that seems cruel and she might not be so happy around me if I did that to her.

Marmite’s odd feather
Marmite’s feather from behind
Marmite’s feather

Has anyone else experienced this and would you pull it out or leave it be?

In other news a few of the girls are looking in the nest boxes so there may be more eggs soon. Sugar will go in the nest box and peck at the shavings.

Sugar in the nest box

Flame, Spangle and Salmon have all been looking in the nest box too. Even Marmite briefly had a look and so did Speckles but that probably doesn’t mean anything.

It’s definitely a sign of spring though and more eggs to come soon.

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Shadow laying her egg

Yesterday I went up to the chicken run with my camera and just happened to catch Shadow laying her egg. This was her fourth egg, in just under two weeks, since she started laying.

This time she was in a different nest box. Shadow was in the favourite nest box next to the store cabinet. When I checked on her she was already in the standing position ready to lay.

Some of the photos are a bit blurred because I had to take them very quickly and this doesn’t allow time to focus properly. Shadow was so quick to lay her egg and leg it out of the nest box, instantly, that I didn’t manage to get all of her with her egg. By the time I clicked the camera she was already moving out of shot.

Shadow is just about to lay her egg
Shadow is in the egg laying position
As soon as her egg was laid she made a hasty exit
Shadow’s egg on the left and Smoke’s egg on the right for size comparison
Smoke’s egg on the left and Shadow’s egg on the right

The first eggs are always small and usually gradually get bigger. I think she laid it quickly as it was small but I was surprised how quickly she left the nest box after laying.

Once out of the nest box Shadow briefly gave the egg shout. It was the first time that I had heard Shadow shout. She is now a proper grown up girl. Well done Shadow!

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Updates

Shadow has now laid three eggs which I saved for today’s breakfast. I used them for scrambled egg as I could put all three together for a one person portion.

Shadow’s first three eggs

I wanted to crack Shadow’s eggs into the bowl first to see how they looked. They look great and are all an even size and all had good shells. Next I added the only Ebony egg we have so far and one of Smoke’s eggs to make enough scrambled egg for us both. And delicious it was too.

In other news the girls are now going in at night without me leaving the chicken shed door open a bit. I continued doing this throughout the freezing weather as I didn’t want any of the girls to be out in the cold for a moment more than they needed to be.

Now that the weather has warmed up I decided it was time to see if they could get in through the pop hole before it closed. I started four days ago and was pleased and rather amazed that on the first night all the girls were in in time.

Smoke and Shadow were on the chicken shed floor so they had obviously left it late and it was then too dark for them to get up on the perches. I placed them on the perch.

The next night all the girls were in and perched so it didn’t take them long to work out that they needed to get in a bit sooner. They have been perched every night since then.

Hurrah! The girls are now back to getting in on time without any help from me. Hopefully they will continue to do this, probably until next winter, when the short days catch them out again.

That’s all the news from the chickens until the next girl starts laying which I have a feeling won’t be too long.

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Our first, three egg day, of the year

I say that it’s our first, three egg day of the year, but it’s also our first, more than one egg day, of the year as well.

This morning Smoke laid her second egg this month. She laid her first egg this month two days ago. Soon after Smoke laid Ebony laid her first egg this month. After a few days of practising she got the job done.

Smoke had laid eleven eggs in January before going broody. Ebony had laid two eggs in January.

A bit later in the afternoon Shadow laid her second egg a week after laying her first. Shadow laid both her eggs in the nest box by the gate.

Shadow is in her preferred nest box by the gate
Our February eggs

From the right is Shadow’s first egg and then her second egg which still has a little streak of blood but it’s smaller than the streak on her first egg. Next is Smokes first egg this month followed by her second one today. On the left is Ebony’s first egg this month which is a little smaller than her eggs usually are but that’s normal when starting up again.

What an exciting day. It is so lovely to be getting eggs again. It will be interesting to see how long it is before Sugar starts to lay.

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Smoke lays an egg

Ebony is getting ready to lay again and has been practising over recent days. Smoke doesn’t need to practise. When Smoke is ready to start laying she just settles in a nest box and gets the job done. It’s a month since Smoke last laid.

Today Ebony and Smoke both wanted the same, favourite, nest box at exactly the same time. There was shouting. Smoke settled in the favourite nest box, next to the store cabinet.

Ebony went into the same nest box and Smoke left. Smoke settled in the nest box next door and all went calm and quiet. A bit later I heard the egg shout from Smoke and both girls were out in the run. I checked the nest boxes.

No egg in Ebony’s nest box so it was a false alarm but in Smoke’s nest box there was her egg.

Ebony wants the same nest box that Smoke is in
Ebony gets the favourite nest box
Smoke settles in the nest box next door
Shadow and Smoke’s eggs

Smoke’s egg is on the right and Shadow’s first egg is on the left for size comparison. Smoke’s first egg is always a bit smaller than usual and her next egg will be a bit bigger than this one. Smoke’s eggs are always almost round.

It looks like the egg season has begun. It will be lovely to have our own eggs again but I expect more nest box dramas to come!

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