Broody Rusty

Rusty is definitely broody. She was in the nest box from when I first went out this morning. I looked in the nest box and she raised her tail. It made me realise that Freckles must have been going broody recently when she was doing the same tail raising thing.

The odd thing was that she didn’t commit to it so I passed it off as not being broody. She had been in the nest box on and off for a couple days and then finally laid a tiny egg. She was raising her tail when I checked on her in the nest box. After she laid her egg she returned to the nest box briefly as if she wasn’t sure she had laid it and then left the nest box and didn’t return to it. She did then take a break of six days before starting to lay again. It’s as if she was about to go broody but changed her mind.

Rusty raises her tail

Rusty raises her tail

Unlike Freckles fan like tail Rusty's silky tail is whispy

Unlike Freckles, fan like tail, Rusty’s silky tail is wispy

I lift her out of the nest box

I lift her out of the nest box

Every time I have gone out to the girls today I have lifted Rusty out of the nest box. She would then go and have some pellets from the three amigos feeding station, then run up the ladder for some water from the bottle (I have no idea why she goes there for water), then have a manic dust bath.

She isn’t an angry broody and is totally docile and quiet. She will let me stroke her and pick her up and never growls or tries to peck like some past broody girls (Topaz). In fact at the weekend we had our grandchildren to stay over, they are aged five and eight and they were thrilled that they could both stroke her and hold her. They don’t usually get this chance as the girls usually keep their distance from visitors.

At one point this afternoon she spent time on the perch above the ladder and I wondered if she may come out of this fairly quickly.

Freckles then went in to lay her egg and when I next checked Rusty was sat on it. I guess an egg is just too hard to resist. By now it was five o’clock and unlikely that any more girls would want to lay so I took Rusty out again and closed the nest boxes. It would be good if I could help her snap out of it sooner rather than later.

I always think it’s a little sad to spend days sitting in a nest box without an end result and it’s better that they get back to doing normal chicken things as soon as possible but I am so glad that she is a sweet broody girl rather than a little monster.

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Oh dear! I think Rusty may be broody

Yesterday afternoon Rusty went into the nest box and stayed there all afternoon. I was surprised that at the end of the day she hadn’t yet laid her egg and took her out of the nest box. She usually lays every other day and had actually laid the day before.

At bedtime she was back in the nest box and I moved her to the chicken shed. This morning she was back in the nest box again and I started to think maybe she was broody but I was surprised she would go broody when she hadn’t just laid an egg. I took her out of the nest box again.

Mid morning I lifted her from the nest box once more and there was her egg. I knew it was her egg as Freckles had already laid hers a bit earlier. I wasn’t sure at this point if she was broody or had just taken longer than usual to lay her egg.

She returned to the nest box and was joined by Emerald and Peaches who laid their eggs. Rusty sat on their eggs until I removed them. I am surprised that it’s Rusty rather than Freckles that looks as if she is broody as Freckles has always liked to gather other girls eggs underneath her. Freckles has been laying now for eight weeks and Rusty has only been laying for three weeks. I guess that’s enough eggs to be a good clutch though. She has laid nine eggs in total. Freckles has laid thirty eggs.

Later in the afternoon I decided to take Rusty out of the nest box again. Instead of putting her on the patio where she leaves a pile of shavings for me to sweep up I decided to put her in the run. Emerald promptly started digging right next to her and showered her in dirt. We couldn’t help finding this funny, although when I collected my camera and went to take some photos, Emerald then covered my feet in dirt too. As it was a warm day I was wearing my flip flops so my feet were in were the state as Rusty was.

Rusty sits covered in dirt

Rusty sits covered in dirt

I am not looking at you

I am not looking at you

After a few moments she stood up and did a massive shake off. She ran at speed straight up the ladder for a quick drink from the water bottle then sat puffed up on the branch perch.

Rusty is a puff ball

Rusty is a puff ball

Compare her to apricot sat a little further along the same branch perch

Compare her to Apricot sat a little further along the same branch perch

She returned to the nest box shortly after this but as it was nearing the end of the day and the rest of the laying girls had laid I decided to close the nest boxes and leave her out. I don’t know if I can stop her going broody but for now I thought I would leave her out and see what the next day brings.

There is never a dull moment in this flock.

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A bit of colour on our drive

Last year a little plant arrived on our drive. I thought it was a weed but I thought it was pretty so I let it stay. I put out a blog post about it and Mum told me it was a plant not a weed but I now can’t remember what it is called.

This year it has established itself all the way along the wall of our drive. It needs no looking after and thrives here giving a splash of colour to the edge of our drive. We are happy to leave it be.

A bit of colour on our drive

A bit of colour on our drive

A close up shows how pretty it is

A close up shows how pretty it is

I love it when something pretty arrives on it’s own and makes itself at home.

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Dandelion’s first egg

Dandelion hasn’t seemed herself for the last few days. She was spending time sitting with her head hunched down into her ruffles. I was worried that there was something wrong with her.

This afternoon while Rusty was in the nest box laying her egg I was very surprised to see Dandelion by the ramps of the nest boxes. I have never seen her go to the patio, without persuasion, apart from at bedtime. She then left the nest boxes and went into the shelter followed by her trusty sidekick, Cinnamon. I have never seen these two go in there either.

I started to think that she must be getting ready to lay an egg. I had thought Cinnamon would be the first of the three amigos because her comb is the most red but I noticed that Dandelion’s face and comb were a deeper pink than before. I guessed that her blond colouring compared to Cinnamon’s brunette colouring could be why her comb and face are a lighter shade.

I decided to get my camera and take a photo to demonstrate this. Just as I snapped the first photo she laid her egg, in the run, right in front of my eyes. A tiny, warm, damp, egg. She immediately perked up and looked back to normal. So that was what her problem was. There was no blood on her egg and it is even tinier than Freckles egg.

Maybe she was stressed because she didn’t know where to lay her egg. I think it took her by surprise when it arrived because she hadn’t even sat down. I know they have to stand up to actually lay their egg but they usually sit first.

Dandelion lays her egg in front of my eyes

Dandelion lays her egg in front of my eyes

I didn’t realise when I clicked this photo that that expression on her face was the concentration of laying her egg. It wasn’t until she stepped forward that I saw the egg.

And there it is

And there it is

As she stepped away from her egg her eyes brightened up instantly.

Dandelion's egg on the left, Freckles egg in the middle and Rusty's egg on the right

Dandelion’s egg on the left, Freckles egg in the middle and Rusty’s egg on the right

Dandelion's tiny egg on the left

Dandelion’s tiny egg is on the left, it is a paler colour than the other two

It is so tiny that it falls through the egg stand

It is so tiny that it falls through the egg stand

Dandelion's first egg

Dandelion’s egg

I took this photo to show the egg’s size with the fifty pence piece to compare it with. This was so unexpected. Today we had three little girl’s eggs. Well done Dandelion.

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Speckles and Freckles egg

Yesterday Speckles and Freckles laid their eggs together. Freckles doesn’t seem to mind who lays their eggs in the same nest box as her. She is happy to share and she likes to gather any eggs underneath her and will happily sit on them until she has laid her own egg.

Surprisingly, despite this, she hasn’t gone broody yet and is in fact our best layer. Her record is now laying four days in a row. When I saw Speckles and Freckles eggs side by side in the nest box it made me smile because Speckles lays the biggest eggs and Freckles lays the smallest eggs.

Speckles and Freckles eggs

Speckles and Freckles egg

You have to smile at these eggs.

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We have a new television

We bought our television when we moved to this house ten years ago. We wanted something small so that it would hardly be noticeable as we have tried to keep with the Edwardian style of the house and didn’t want something modern to jump out.

People have laughed at it and said that they thought it was our lap top rather than a television but we have always been used to a small T.V. so we were fine with it. Over the last few years though our eyesight has deteriorated a bit and we found that neither of us could read anything on our T.V. any longer.

I would pause the T.V. and stand in front of it to read out loud anything written. We could no longer read sub titles or text on phones or football scores. We decided it was time to move to the next size up. One size up would still fit the small corner where it lives.

We were surprised to find that they are not very expensive. Yesterday we bought one and set it up and oh my goodness, what a difference! We are suddenly able to see every bit of writing. It has made a huge difference to us. We wonder why we didn’t do this before. It still feels like we are watching someone else’s T.V. at the moment. It is so amazing to be able to see everything that is written and every detail that we didn’t even realise we were missing. Lines on faces and beads of sweat. Yes Steve, I know you will be wanting to say “I told you so”.

Old T.V.

Old T.V.

New T.V.

New T.V.

Oddly enough in the photographs it doesn’t look that much different and yet it makes a massive difference to us. The screen is much wider and perhaps because it’s ten years newer there is much sharper detail. We have also put the D.V.D. player in a different spot underneath the drawers which makes the T.V. look slightly lower.

We are so pleased that we finally got around to changing this. We just hadn’t realised how much difference it would make to us. Better late than never, we can enjoy detail once more.

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A day in the life of a tulip

I have been waiting for a bit of sun to open our tulips.

Tulips tightly closed despite it being a bright morning

Tulips tightly closed despite it being a bright morning

A bit later in the day they are starting to open

A bit later in the day they are starting to open

by the afternoon they are open

By the afternoon they are open

I love the way the tulips react to the sun. The red is so bright in the surrounding sea of blue. You can’t help but smile.

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Speckles finds a new place to sit

Speckles seems to like the shelter. She likes to sit in there and once laid an egg in there. Yesterday she was sitting on top of the shelter. She seems to have claimed this shelter as her own.

Speckles finds a new place to sit

Speckles finds a new place to sit

They do like to find a new place to sit.

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We have reclaimed an extra strip of garden

Since my lovely husband gave our rose a hard prune in readiness for our new fence we have reclaimed an extra strip of garden. The rose used to extend out to the chicken run leaving us just the brick path next to the run to squeeze down to do any maintenance. Now we have a strip of garden beside the chicken run.

We now have extra garden

We now have extra garden

The trees in this area are all self seeded and we are leaving them to create a sort of hedge. We intend to keep the rose back on to the fence in future to keep this strip of garden so that it makes it more accessible for us to get in here and maintain the rose and the chicken run if necessary.

It is also lighter in the run for the girls. When I laid the first row of these bricks last year the rose was grabbing me and I was fighting it. Now we can walk on the brick path with ease.

It is the first time this end of the garden has been tidy as the rose was daunting to tackle. It will be interesting see what it looks like as the season progresses. I think it will be good to have it under control and to have a neat fence and more space in the garden.

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Speckles is getting her fluffy bottom back

It was just over two weeks ago that I took this photo of Speckles bottom.

Speckles bare bottom

Speckles bare bottom

Speckles has pins on her bottom

Speckles has pins on her bottom

Compare it to this photo. She has rows of pin feathers and the gap is closing up. As the fluffy feathers open the gap should fill in.

I am so pleased that her new feathers have come through so quickly and ┬áthat they aren’t being pulled again. Hopefully this means that the problem has passed without becoming a habit and she will soon be back to normal.

I really think it was the stress of the girls being confined to only half of the run that triggered this and now the girls are fully integrated the problem seems to have passed. This is really good news.

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