Emerald is my oldest girl and is top girl. I have had Emerald for four years and she was an adult girl of undetermined age when I got her, possibly a couple of years old, so she is probably about six years old now or even a bit older. I can tell that she is feeling her age these days.
When she is on the perch above the ladder and I take treats in she will be the last to come to me. Whereas in the past she would have jumped or flown down she now steps down on each rung of the ladder. In the afternoons she sometimes dozes and she is first into the chicken shed each night. She is still in good health though and is just slowing down a bit.
I have had Speckles for three years and she is second in command and surrogate mother hen to the little girls. When we got her she was already having a full moult so she was about a year old putting her at four years old.
Emerald and Speckles have become firm friends since becoming the last two remaining bigger girls. Emerald lightly pecks the little girls to show that she is top girl and to indicate that they need to get out of her way but she never pecks Speckles.
Speckles in her mother hen role never pecks at the little girls even when they do get in her way and she has never pecked Emerald. Toffee and Emerald came into the flock together and were firm friends. Speckles came in with Butterscotch but had no alliance to her and was always a loner. After these two girls had gone Emerald and Speckles gradually became a very tight pair. I dread losing one of these girls at any time in the future.
The cold weather is definitely having an effect on the flock this year. Speckles comb is getting bigger and redder but not nearly as big as it gets during egg laying and Emerald’s tiny comb and face are still very pale.
Speckles laid two eggs last February and five in March. Emerald started laying at the beginning of March and laid ten eggs. There is no sign of any intentions to lay this year so far.
I followed Emerald and Speckles today to get a few photos which show how together they are. These are without them dust bathing together as they did earlier in the day, perching in the sun together and at the food or water dish together plus of course roosting together at night.
I have no idea why they were both pecking at the back of the large shelter. I even looked behind the shelter to see if there was a mouse but there was nothing.
I took all these photos in just a few minutes. These two move together in almost perfect synchronicity. It is a joy to see such a lovely friendship.