Line up and leg length

When I went to check on the girls the little girls were all in a line. It was as if someone had called them to stand in line.

Line up

Speckles joins the line

For some time I have thought that the silky chicks have longer legs than any of my previous or current seramas. They seem to stand taller. Whereas with Dandelion and Cinnamon and before them Rusty and Apricot, only their feet could be seen, with these two girls their legs can be seen.

Jasmine and Sienna

Dandelion

Cinnamon

Jasmine

Sienna

I looked back through my “History Of The Flock Part Two” and all the portraits of all the seramas I have had only show their feet. I think these girls may be different because they came from a different breeder.

It is interesting to see how different they are and I rather like their taller look. It makes them individual. They are lovely looking girls.

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Broody Cinnamon

Cinnamon is usually a good egg layer. She lays every other day and occasionally two days in a row. Every now and then she would have a broody moment. It only ever took one to two days of shutting her out of the nest box and chicken shed and she was over it. She then resumed laying after two weeks from when she had stopped.

This has been so different. She has now been broody for three weeks even though she is shut out all day, every day. I have wondered if the hot weather had something to do with it. I closed the nest box on the patio as none of the girls were using it anyway. The three bigger girls like the high nest box and Dandelion likes the shed or will lay her egg in the wooden shelter.

I have kept the shed closed until just before the girls like to go in at bedtime which is between half past seven and eight o’clock.

Every morning when I go out to the girls they are all out in the run except for Cinnamon. I lift her down from her perch and put her in the run with some corn.

Cinnamon is like no other broody. What she wants to do is to sit on her perch in the chicken shed all the time with her wings spread wide and her tail up. She doesn’t sit in a suitable place to sit on an egg like your normal broody. You may remember that when she first came into lay she would lay her eggs from the perch. It took her a while to get used to the nest box.

Cinnamon is also an angry broody and will peck me if I pick her up. She chases Flame and Ebony and will sometimes grab their feathers and get pulled along by them as they run from her. I have even seen her jump up and grab Flame’s feathers on the back of her neck. Cinnamon has no concept of her tiny size compared to these much bigger girls.

Occasionally I have let Dandelion in the shed to lay and Cinnamon has run in too. She seems to have a sixth sense for when I open the shed. I tried to get her out but she would peck me. I resorted to using the broom to edge her out and she spread her wings as wide as possible and puffed her self up. I have never seen such an angry bird and that includes Topaz ( my past angry broody) which is really saying something.

The reason I have been trying to break her out of this is because I knew we were going to be away overnight last Monday and again this Saturday. I didn’t want her to spend two days in the chicken shed, in the heat that we have been having, while we were away. Also she eats only the bare minimal amount and for three weeks there has been no poop underneath her roost spot at night.

I thought there would have been plenty of time to break her of this but it seems not and we had to go away and just leave her to it. There was nothing more I could do.

When we got at back at one o’clock on Tuesday aftrnoon Cinnamon was in the chicken shed. I am sure she had been there most of the time we were away but she looked fine. I started the regime again of shutting her out in the faint hope that I might change her behaviour before Saturday when we are away again.

I rather doubt that is going to happen though and think that I will probably just have to accept that she will once again spend most of the time we are away in the chicken shed. At least the forecast is for cooler temperatures this time.

While Cinnamon is shut out of the shed she spends most of time on the high branch perch. She will have a quick dust bath and will also spend some time sitting on the run floor but she is always on high alert if I go near the chicken shed and every time I go in the run she hovers around the shed just in case she can get in.

At bedtime when I open the, Chicken shed, pop hole again Cinnamon can’t get in there quick enough. Dandelion has moved from perching with the chicks to perching back with Cinnamon over the last few nights. I took some photos of last night’s bedtime positions.

Broody Cinnamon

This is how Cinnamon looks all the time. How can a girl be so broody when on a perch! It makes no sense.

The chicks make their way in about half an hour later

The bigger girls

The bigger girls perch here until I come and move them at dusk. They slept out on Monday night as I could tell by the huge amount of poop under this spot. They will no doubt sleep out again on Saturday night too but after that the usual routine will be resumed.

I have never come across a girl quite like Cinnamon and while her behaviour frustrates me I can’t help admiring her at the same time. She is as determined as they come and is afraid of neither me or the bigger girls. She is definitely one of a kind and is very much her own special character.

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Scrambled egg for the girls

I have had to take a break from my blog. First we were catering a wedding and then we were away for a few days, sadly, at a family funeral. I don’t usually add personal details here but this is just by way of explaining my absence.

On our return there were eggs from Ebony and Flame in the high nest box which I knew would have been laid the day before. I therefore decided to scramble them with a little water and olive oil and give them back to the girls.

As usual the chicks were very cautious. Ebony is fine about trying anything new and had some straight away. Speckles, Dandelion and Cinnamon have had egg before so they got stuck in. Flame is quite slow to try new things but soon the hang of it. The chicks took their time though. They circled the dish with their necks at full stretch.

Flame tries some egg

The usual neck stretch to see if the egg is safe

They try stretching from the other direction

It takes these girls a lot of neck stretching before they have the courage to try anything new from a dish. I ended up putting a bit of egg on the slab to help them along a bit. They very cautiously tried a bit.

The old flock would have demolished the egg in minutes. I guess these girls will get used to the treats in time. They are funny to watch with anything new.

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Bonding

It was lovely, yesterday, to see the three bigger girls dust bathing together. The favourite dust bath spot for the bigger girls, since the hot weather, is under the metal table. It is in shade all day and I dampen the soil once a day and being shady it stays a bit damp.

It’s not great for photos though, because of the table legs, but I managed one reasonable shot.

Dust bathing together

It is good to see these girls doing a bit of bonding.

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New bedtime position

Attaching the square of plastic behind the bigger girls bedtime perch has sort of worked. It has put them off perching there and last night they perched at the bottom of the run on the branch perch above the ladder instead.

This perch was always Emerald’s and Speckles favourite bedtime perch and I am not sure what made them switch to a different perch in the first place.

The new bedtime position

I am okay with them perching there as it is away from the weld mesh. It is a sort of “mission accomplished”.

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Bedtime habits

The little girls are very good at going to perch in the chicken shed at bedtime. The bigger girls like to perch outside in the summer. As it has been so hot I have been leaving them out until it’s dark and cool and then I move them inside.

However we soon have two weekends running when we will be away overnight. As the forecast is still very hot I have decided to let the bigger girls sleep outside overnight on these two occasions. I need to be sure they are completely safe though.

The bigger girls used to perch here

The bigger girls now perch here

They have been perching here for the last week. I assume that they have changed to this position as it is a little bit higher. However I am less happy with this choice. I have read on forums of girls being attacked overnight when roosting up against the weld mesh. A predator could put a claw through the weld mesh and do some damage to the birds. In the dark the girls would be unable to move away.

I know there is probably a slim chance of this happening but a slim chance is too much for me to be happy with. There is a square of plastic attached to the weld mesh in the lower, right hand, corner of the photo above. It hasn’t proved useful there so I have moved it in to position behind the spot where the girls are roosting.

I will leave this in place for the nights that we are away and then remove it. It will give an extra layer of protection to safeguard the girls and will give me peace of mind.

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Eggs are coming thick and fast

Both Ebony and Flame are now laying eggs two days in a row then missing a day and then two days in a row again. I can’t believe what good layers they are. Dandelion has also laid two days running which is very unusual for her. Speckles has laid her second egg, since starting to lay again, four days after her last one which is usual for her.

Two days of eggs

From right to left in the order that they were laid we have Dandelion’s tiny egg followed by Ebony and Flame, then the next day we have, Ebony and Flame and then Speckles huge egg followed by Dandelion’s tiny egg.

Cinnamon is on a broody break from egg laying at the moment. This means we have had four out of five girls’ eggs in one day which is quite amazing.

The game girls have looked stressed in the recent heat with a lot of beak panting. They have been very noisy at times too. I had been giving frozen peas in the afternoon which  helps to cool them down.

Then at last we had a cooler day on Saturday and they were quiet and calm. On Sunday we had some, longed for, rain. It rained all day which is really good for the garden. Hopefully it will be a little less hot and the girls will appreciate that too.

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The new girls try some mash

I am gradually getting the new girls used to all the treats. Yesterday I thought I would try them with mash for the first time. Mash is a great treat because the girls love the different texture but are eating what they are supposed to eat anyway.

As usual Ebony is quick to try something new

Flame hovers in the background

Flame is creeping nearer

Flame is going to try the mash

Flame finally tries the mash

The pattern is always the same. Ebony is a confident girl and quickly tries anything new. Flame is cautious and also lower down the pecking order so she always takes her time getting the courage to approach something new.

Once they had tried the mash they decided they liked it. Like most lower ranking girls Flame would often wait until the other girls had had their fill and then come back to the mash when the coast was clear and she could she have some in peace.

Half way through the day the smaller dish was empty. By the end of the day the other dish was empty too. I think they enjoyed the change.

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The new girls try some yogurt

The game girls have very quickly got used to the treats are keen to try anything new whereas the chicks are still wary of treats. I decided to see how some yogurt would go down.

Some yogurt for the girls

Ebony was first to try it as usual and she obviously liked it.

The game girls like the yogurt

Flame soon joined in and she liked it too.

Flame has spots of yogurt on her head

I wondered how Flame had got so many dots of yogurt on her head. A moment later I found out. Speckles, with a yogurt beak, pecked her on the back of the head leaving another dot of yogurt on her head.

I put another dish in the run to see if the chicks would be brave enough to try some.

The chicks stretch their necks towards the yogurt

They inspect it at a safe distance

They take a closer look

They just weren’t brave enough to actually try some but later when the other girls had left the patio they tried some of the splashes on the patio.

They peck at dots of yogurt on the patio

I put one of the dishes at their favourite feeding station at the far end of the run. When I went back later that afternoon they had finally plucked up the courage to peck it from the dish. I think next time I give the girls yogurt the chicks will know what to do.

It takes a long time for the chicks to get enough courage to try anything new.

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A slight change in the bedtime habit

Since Cinnamon has been broody there has been a change in the bedtime habit. I close the nest box before bedtime so that Cinnamon doesn’t end up in there. Cinnamon goes to her normal spot on the perch but spreads herself out in a broody pose.

Cinnamon has also turned into “angry bird” and chases all the girls including Ebony and Flame. Speckles is the only girl she doesn’t chase which kind of reinforces her new status as top girl. It is amusing to see Ebony run from the tiny Cinnamon.

The three bigger girls perch here at bedtime

I lift these three girls from here one by one and put them on the back perch in the chicken shed.

Cinnamon spreads herself as wide as possible

Dandelion is now perching with the chicks

I just caught this action shot of Sienna stretching her wings

I am quite happy for Dandelion to perch with the chicks because there is no hassle between them. The chicks have now become part of the flock and don’t get chased around at all.

The odd thing with broody Cinnamon is that she wants to get into the nest box and when I close it she spends time looking for the door and yet when it is closed and she goes into the shed instead she always goes to her perch like the photo above.

How do their little brains work! She couldn’t hatch an egg from there so there is no point sitting spread out on the perch and yet she would spend the day there if I let her. I have had to resort to blocking the pop hole to keep her out. This is the first time she has taken more than a day or two to break her of this.

There have also been changes in the pecking order. Ebony has grown in confidence, especially around the treats, which she loves. A couple of times recently she has pecked Dandelion on the head to move her away from the treats. Despite this she still runs from the angry Cinnamon.

The funniest thing of all that I have seen over the last couple of days is Jasmine, the smallest chick, chasing Flame around the run. Maybe the chicks won’t be at the bottom of the pecking order after all. It will be interesting over time to see how the pecking order shapes up.

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