Moulting, egg laying and going broody

Ebony had been broody for four weeks and Flame for just over a week when we finished the new chicken shed. As we were in the run most of the day working on it I closed the nest boxes and this finally triggered these two girls out of it although Marmite continued to be broody for a further week.

Ebony, Flame and Speckles all started moulting at this point. A week later they stopped moulting and ten days after starting to moult Ebony and Flame started laying again.

In ten days Ebony has laid eight eggs. The first four were in the wooden shelter but the last four have been in various nest boxes so it seems that she has now accepted the nest boxes in their new positions. Flame has laid six eggs in ten days and is happy with any nest box.

I have never seen so much white on a black feathered head as on Ebony

Ebony still looks tatty feathered

I am amazed that a girl looking like this is laying eggs. I know that chickens can’t produce enough protein for both feathers and eggs. I think what has happened is that the moult has stopped and new feathers are not being produced but the fluffy underneath feathers are now on show due to the top feathers having dropped out.

I suspect that at the end of the summer egg laying will stop and the moult will continue. I have never seen a moult of two halves before.

Flame looks pristine apart from having a short tail

At the end of last year Flame looked a real mess while she moulted. The start of this partial moult seems to have stopped with losing the odd feather and all of her tail feathers. I am guessing that when her moult continues she will keep her new tail feathers.

Speckles looks pretty much like she always does

It seems as if Speckles shed a few feathers in sympathy because she lost some feathers but not enough to make her look any different. Speckles hasn’t resumed egg laying but that doesn’t surprise me.

Smoke has now been broody for ten days and Vanilla has been broody for two days. Vanilla had only laid six eggs in seven days before going broody again. Smoke and Vanilla have a pattern of three weeks not laying as they are broody and then recovering and then one week of laying nearly every day before going broody again.

I find Smoke and Vanilla’s pattern quite frustrating. They are the best layers when laying and both lay the biggest serama eggs but this is countered by their serial broodyness. Oh well, nothing I can do about it, they will do what they will do!

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Another pretty moth

Yesterday I saw another pretty moth on our path. It’s also black and white but quite different from the other one.

Another pretty moth on the path

I googled it as usual. I think it’s a marbled white moth. The pattern is absolutely identical but the colour of our moth is much more faded than the photographs on google. Our moth was there a long time and I wondered if it was at the end of it’s life however when I next checked it had disappeared.

Edit

I have just googled again and now think it’s a marbled white butterfly. Both look the same but the moth is found from India to the Philippines and from Japan to Papua New Guinea¬† whereas the butterfly is found in the U.K. and flies in July so that fits.

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Ebony has a new place to lay her eggs

Ebony and Flame have both laid four eggs in six days since they both restarted laying after a half moult.

This coincided with us finishing the chicken shed and moving the three nest boxes to their new position. Ebony is obviously not happy with the new positions of the nest boxes and is now laying her eggs in the wooden shelter. She has laid all four eggs in there.

Flame is happy to go in any nest box but lays her eggs in the same nest box that broody Smoke is in. Flame then lets Smoke sit on her egg while she spends her time following the little girls around waiting for a chance to sit on their eggs.

This is most peculiar behaviour. Flame isn’t broody because she leaves her own eggs to Smoke and she leaves the nest box once I have removed a little girl’s egg from underneath her. I have never come across this behaviour before. Flame just seems to like sitting on the little girls’ eggs.

Ebony’s current place for laying her eggs

Ebony reaching for pine shavings to put on her back

It doesn’t matter to me if Ebony wants to lay her eggs here as it is dry.

The girls have also been very noisy lately. There is a lot of shouting. The little girls shout before they lay an egg, if the nest box they want is occupied, when they have laid an egg and also when Flame is sitting on their egg!

Flame and Ebony shout before and after laying an egg and also shout while the other one is in the nest box/shelter and Speckles shouts if both Ebony and Flame are laying at the same time and are out of sight of her.

It is quite exhausting with all this shouting going on and I worry about the neighbours. As soon as the egg laying is over for the day the shouting stops.

Egg production has increased though. Before Ebony and Flame starting laying again we were getting one egg a day. We have had now had two, five egg, days. This has been Marmite, Vanilla, Flame, Ebony and Salmon today and the day before yesterday and Marmite and Jasmine on the day in between.

It is lovely having plenty of eggs again but I just wish the girls could be a bit quieter about it!

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Classic car show

We went to a classic car show two weeks ago, the first, with our Morris Traveller. I took lots of photos but I had several posts in the pipeline and didn’t get round to doing a post. Then I forgot about it. Then I came across the photos and wondered if it was now too late to do a post.

I talked to my mum on the phone recently and said this to her and she said that she didn’t think it mattered that it was two weeks ago so I decided to do the post now.

The show was on from nine o’clock until six o’clock. It just happened that on that day we had to cater for a christening and needed to deliver the food at half past eleven. This meant we couldn’t get to the show until twelve o’clock.

We had no idea how well attended the show would be. It was local to us but apparently people came from afar. There was a huge queue of cars waiting to get in and classic cars were going in the opposite direction from us and winding down windows to tell us that the show was full and they were being turned away.

We decided to stick with the queue and try our luck as there were some cars leaving the show. When we got to the visitor car park we were held in queue and told that if we wished to wait that for every classic car leaving the show field another classic car could enter the show.

As we got to half way through the visitor car park a visitor left and we were told that we could park in the car park space if we wished. We decided to do so. Even though we couldn’t show our car at least we could see round the show.

Next year we will make sure we don’t take on a function and we will go early. It’s ironic that the first time we took our car to a show we had to park in the car park but at least we didn’t have to go straight home again which would have been much more disappointing.

So to kick start my photos I decided to take one of our Morris Traveller in the car park just to prove that we were actually there!

Our Morris Traveller In The Car Park

And on to the show.

A Row Of Cars

Mercedes

Our Neighbour’s A 30

Morris Traveller

Another Morris Traveller

And another

Morris Minor

A.C.Cobra

Highway Patrol

Beetle

Ford Anglia

Beautiful Maroon Car Not Sure What This Is

M.G. Sports Car

This Is Pretty, Not Sure What This Is Either

Ford Escort Twin Cam Which My Husband Wanted To Drive Away

We had a great time. It was a hot and cloudy day so perfect as no worries about too much sun. There were so many cars that I could only take a snapshot and tried to take some rows of cars to get more in.

Our neighbours about four doors up have the A 30 that I coveted and it was great to get to chat to them. We agreed we must have a bit of a street get together.

Before we viewed our Morris Traveller we viewed a black A 30 and I fell in love with it so was very interested in our neighbours car. They have had it a long time and have spent a fortune doing it up to an immaculate condition. They have replaced it’s engine with a Susuki¬† engine.

We were going to eat at the show but the queue for food was also a mile long so eventually we got back in the queue to get out of the car park and headed home.

It was an amazing show and every one there was so friendly creating an amazing atmosphere. We were so glad we went even though our car ended up in the car park.

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Updates

Yesterday we finally got round to blocking up the pop hole in the old shed. We have decided to leave it until next year to decide what to do with the old shed.

The old pop hole is properly blocked up

Smoke has laid eight eggs in ten days and has now gone broody again. We seem to permanently have one or two broodies on the go.

Ebony laid another egg in the wooden shelter, that’s two days running. I have no idea why she has started laying there when we have three perfectly good nest boxes.

Marmite’s purple patch has faded to mauve but the good news is that she has pins.

Marmite has pins on her head

Feathers are coming in

It will be so good to see Marmite feathered again. I think the purple spray has been a success.

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Flame has laid an egg too

This morning Flame settled in a nest box after a bit of twirling around and I knew that she was getting ready to lay. I think that the broody spell set Ebony and Flame into an early moult and now the hot weather has halted their moult and kick started them laying again.

When I next checked on Flame, Smoke was settled in the nest box with her, and when I checked a bit later Flame had laid and Smoke was sitting on her egg. I think Smoke is about to go broody again.

Smoke and Flame in the nest box together

Flame has laid

Flame’s, large, white, egg is on the left. Next is Ebony’s, then Smoke’s and Jasmine’s egg is on the right. I was correct with identifying Ebony’s egg yesterday as you can see that Flame’s egg is larger and paler.

I have never had this happen before but I am happy that we will be getting some more eggs for a while.

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Weird chicken behaviour

Eggs are sporadic at the moment. In the last week Jasmine has laid two, Cinnamon has laid two, Salmon has laid three and Smoke has laid five. Vanilla, Marmite and Spangle haven’t laid any eggs in the last week.

Then much to my surprise, while poop picking the run yesterday, I found a big sized egg in the wooden shelter. Speckles and Flame lay white eggs and Ebony lays beige eggs. The egg was beige so it must be Ebony’s egg and yet Ebony of the three girls has been moulting the heaviest.

I have never had a girl lay while moulting before. I don’t really count seramas as they moult a bit at a time but I have never had a girl lay an egg while having a proper moult. I wonder if this why Ebony has been shouting so much as they are often more vocal when about to start laying.

Eggs on an egg ramp

Ebony’s egg on the left, Smoke’s egg is in the middle and Cinnamon’s egg is on the right. I used these as a comparison because Smoke’s (and Vanilla’s) eggs are the biggest serama eggs and Cinnamon’s eggs are similar in size to all the other seramas.

Eggs on the egg stand

Ebony’s egg is on the left, Smoke’s egg is in the middle and Cinnamon’s egg is on the right.

Ebony today

Ebony doesn’t look like a girl who could lay an egg. I have stopped picking up feathers though so they are no longer dropping. I also noticed a nest sized dip in the corner of the wooden shelter the day before and also in one of the nest boxes.

Both Ebony and Flame checked out the nest boxes when I put them in their new positions after we finished the new shed two weeks ago. I took the photos below but then didn’t use them at the time.

Ebony in an nest box

Flame in a nest box

The other weird bit of behaviour is that over the last few days when Jasmine, Salmon and Cinnamon have laid Flame has been sitting on their eggs. I would see one of the little girls in the nest box and when the shout would go out and they were back in the run I would look for their egg and find Flame sitting on it.

I haven’t come across a moulting girl doing this before either. She isn’t broody because she isn’t sitting once I remove the egg but she just seems to want to sit on the eggs as they are laid.

These two girls are throwing up some very strange behaviour.

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Ebony’s moult

This is Ebony’s first moult with us. She looks very tatty and her face is a mass of pins and carotene. It has changed how her face looks and it’s not a pretty face.

Ebony’s face is all pins

Not a pretty face

It’s also done the same for her personality. She is behaving like a thug. She chases all the little girls (except Cinnamon who remains above her in status despite being below the little girls) and she is quite brutal with them. If they get in her way she will hang on to their neck feathers while they squeal and sometimes I am able to break it up and sometimes feathers are pulled from them as they escape.

Ebony’s moult has made her an angry thug. When I go in with treats she spends the first few minutes chasing the little girls away and she will rush at me too in impatience. I have gone back to using the leg protector as I think she would peck my legs. She is also very vocal with spells of shouting for no apparent reason.

I will be glad when Ebony is through this.

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The garden is looking lovely

I love the garden at this time of year. There is so much colour and I love the way one thing grows through another which is the result of time and the garden maturing.

On the other hand some things get too big and we have to do some cutting down and cutting back but having no gaps keeps the weeds out and any moisture in.

The chimney pot is giving a splash of colour

A pretty hedge has developed up by the chicken run

 

I love the way that the planting now hides the fence

The lavender and lilies grow through each other

The flowers on the leeks are now nearly all open

Rambling rose

The standard rose is now huge

Himalayan honeysuckle

I love sitting in the garden in the lovely sunny weather we are now having. I am soaking up the sun and the colour.

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A fish treat for the girls

I thought a fish treat would give the girls a bit of extra protein to help with their moult. I divided the fish between four small dishes.

A fish treat

The fish rapidly disappeared

I was amazed how quickly the fish got devoured. I think I can safely say the girls enjoyed this treat.

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