The frosty morning

As yesterday morning was frosty I decided to give the girls some warm mash. By the time I took it out to them Apricot, Speckles and Emerald were on the perch above the ladder in a spot of sunshine but Freckles, Dandelion and Cinnamon came straight to the mash.

Some warm mash on a frosty morning

Apricot and Emerald in spot of sunshine

As I got here Speckles had just jumped down. Apricot is fluffed up like a ball.

Emerald loves to perch in a shaft of sunshine

Speckles and Apricot join the girls at the mash

Finally Emerald joins the girls at the mash

I just love Dandelion’s comedy foot move

After their mash all the girls returned to the spot in the sun

It was difficult to get a shot of all the girls because Cinnamon and Dandelion were at a lower level. You can see how blue the sky was while the garden was still frosty. Despite the frosty start it was a lovely day.

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Autumn Frost

This morning there was a beautiful autumn frost. The sky was a clear blue and the sun was shining and lighting up the autumn colours. This was my first look at the day from our bedroom window.

Sunshine and frost

What glorious autumn colours. The garden looked so pretty that I decided to take my camera with me on the way up to the girls.

The cabin roof

Next year’s fox glove

Sedums

Oregano

Sage

This is my favourite of this batch of photos. Somehow the sage looks really christmassy.

Poppies in the chicken’s dandelion strip

I am amazed that these yellow poppies are still flowering. I think it’s because it’s sheltered here with the chicken run on one side and the brick wall on the other.

I don’t mind a bit of frost when it’s a clear sunny day and no wind to make it feel it colder. It did make the garden look quite beautiful.

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Bedtime

We are having a crazy, busy spell, work wise at the moment. On top of an already busy week we have been getting loads of late lunch orders which have pushed us to our limits. This has meant that I haven’t had much time for blogging or for taking photos of the girls.

I took these photos a couple of nights ago when it was really cold and the girls were really snuggled up together. Tonight is much milder and the three amigos have settled at the other end of the perch to the two bigger girls. It seems that on cold evenings they gravitate towards the bigger girls which is heart warming to see.

The three amigos snuggled up to the bigger girls

I nearly didn’t include this shot because Dandelion has her inner eyelid closed and it always makes the girls look a bit spooky when a photo catches them like this. I kept it though, because the last shot I took caught Emerald in a headless position.

I only took three photos as I don’t like to disturb the girls too much although they are used to me checking in on them each evening. I always talk to them so that they know it is only me.

Freckles is in her usual spot

Headless Emerald

I have mentioned before that the girls often use the little bit of light I let in to check out beneath them but on this occasion Emerald used it to have a quick preen giving her the headless look.

I do like to see them snuggled on cold nights.

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Different stages of moulting

Apricot seems to have had pin feathers on her head for ages and now Dandelion has pin feathers on her head. I wonder if this is more of a feature with silkie and frizzle feathered, girls because this hasn’t been noticeable on Freckles and Cinnamon, the straight feathered, girls.

When we got Dandelion in February she had a bald head so I am pleased that during her moult she has kept her head covered.

Dandelion has pin feathers on her head

I have also been picking up her tail feathers and yet her tail looks no different from normal.

Apricot’s head feathers are almost back to normal

Freckles and Cinnamon under the shelter

Another view of Dandelion’s pins on her head

Freckles looking good

The girls having some mash

Freckles moult hasn’t been noticeable at all apart from picking some feathers up from under her roost spot. Cinnamon sometimes looks a little scruffy and I am finding her little orange feathers. Sometimes she shows some grey under feathers, as in her wing, in this shot. Her tail feathers are also quite ragged if you compare them to Freckles.

They all seem to be coming through the moult at the moment and Freckles is continuing to lay regularly. It is good to have one regular egg layer. Freckles is six months older than the three amigos so I don’t know if that makes a difference or if it just down to different girls varying.

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The girls just doing their thing

Yesterday afternoon when I checked on the girls the three amigos were hanging out together in the small shelter. Freckles was enjoying a dust bath and the two bigger girls were having some spinach.

Freckles in a dust bath

The three amigos in the small shelter

They seem to like hanging out in here

Freckles is still lounging in her dust bath

Meanwhile Emerald and Speckles have some spinach

It’s just another hard day in the chicken run!

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Egg comparisons

Eggs are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. The little girls are still moulting and as well as fluffy little feathers I am picking up very ragged wing and tail feathers.

Apricot hasn’t laid for two and a half months now. Dandelion laid three eggs last month and none since. Cinnamon laid two at the end of last month and two this month so far. Freckles continues to lay every other day with gaps of  four days now and again.

After Dandelion laid another thin shelled egg I gave the girls mash with ground egg shell. Dandelion hasn’t laid since then. Freckles is always at the grit every afternoon before bedtime and that combined with the egg shell I gave them has lead to her egg shells having little calcium bubbles on them. Her egg shells are harder than the shop bought egg shells. I have never seen Dandelion go to the grit and wonder if that’s why her shells are thin. She does pick up grit from the ground though.

Freckles and Cinnamon’s eggs

From the right, the first two eggs are Cinnamon’s oval shaped eggs. The next round one is Freckles. The next is Cinnamon’s and the two on the left are Freckles. I went from right to left as that’s the oldest to the latest eggs. It’s Freckles latest egg that has the calcium bubbles on it’s shell.

Freckles egg on the left with calcium bubbles on the shell and Cinnamon’s on the right

A medium, shop bought, egg on the left, Freckles egg in the middle and Cinnamon’s on the right

Freckles egg on the left, cinnamon’s in the middle and a medium, shop bought, egg on the right

I thought this would help give a size comparison. Cinnamon’s eggs are the biggest of the little girl’s eggs despite her being the tiniest girl. Freckles eggs are the only ones that are completely round. Rusty’s used to be the same. Dandelion’s are oval like cinnamon’s and Apricot are more strawberry shaped and also strawberry sized and the smallest of all our eggs.

I must admit that Apricot’s eggs are not so much missed due to their tiny size. We eat the little eggs two at a time but eat Apricot’s eggs three at a time.

They are all special though and I love being able to tell them apart. At the moment we are only getting enough for Sunday breakfast and I am buying six, shop eggs, a week. I will look forward to an increase in the eggs when the moulting slows back down again.

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The current bedtime line up

Since the colder weather the girls all cuddle up together at bedtime apart from Freckles. Freckles is always last to go in and when she does she quickly goes to her regular position and never falters or dithers. She has a very determined manner as she quick marches through the pop hole and straight to her perch with no hesitation.

The current bedtime line up

I do wonder what on earth Freckles is looking at down there.

Headless chickens

Looking down seems to be the name of the game! I always wonder what they expect to see down there. This definitely seems to be the winter routine. It makes cleaning up in the morning a simple job.

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Chicken Coasters

I am sure we have enough chicken things in our house but I still find it hard to resist them. I found this set of four coasters in a charity shop for fifty pence and couldn’t resist.

Chicken and cockerel coasters

They fit my wine glass perfectly

I am a sucker for all things chicken!

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The best cookies so far

Yesterday afternoon I made another batch of cookies. This time I split the mix in two again and did half with chopped nuts and currants and the other half with glace, morello, cherries.

These are my favourite so far. I liked the nuts and currants more than the chocolate chip and chocolate chip and nuts but even more than those I liked the morello cherries. The cherries gave a lovely flavour to the cookies.

The latest batch of cookies

The right half of the wire has the currant and nut ones and the left half of the wire has the morello cherries. I said to my husband that they were a bit rustic looking and he said that adds to the charm of them. It really doesn’t matter if they are evenly sized and shaped.

The cherry ones don’t look much different to the fruit and nut but it’s easier to tell them apart when close up.

Two types of cookies

I put them in the box alternating two of each type so that when we eat them we each take one of each type. They are cherry at the top of the photo and fruit and nut at the bottom.

I promise this will be my last cookie post but I was just so pleased with the flavour of these that I had to do just one more post. My husband remarked that I hadn’t got far with working through my Jamie Oliver cook book and I said that it was because I couldn’t move away from the cookies. He then said that the cookies are nothing like the ones in the book anyway!

I don’t think that matters. What it has done for me is to give me an easy recipe that I can make over and again putting my own twist on it each time. I have never much liked baking but would be happy to make these cookies any time.

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There is still colour in the garden

Despite a few frosty mornings there are still quite a few late flowers in the garden. The frosts have been light and only on the cabin roof rather than ground frosts and none of the plants seem to have been affected so far.

Anemones are still in flower and still have buds

Yellow poppies are still flowering

There is still a splash of colour from the campanula on our drive

Further down the drive it’s still in bud

The garden looks autumnal but still has lots of splashes of colour.

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