Speckles first egg of the year and a rush of hormones

Once again Speckles went straight to the grit this morning. I really felt that today she was going to get her first egg of the year laid and I was right. I checked the nest box mid morning and there was a long, pointed, white, egg. I think the shape shows that this egg has taken a couple of days to be laid.

I wanted to be able to do a comparison in size of the little girls’ eggs and Speckles first egg when I thought that she was going to lay yesterday morning. As she didn’t get the job done yesterday and we wanted to eat the little girls’ eggs for Sunday breakfast I came up with a plan for a comparison. I took a photo of the five little girls’ eggs in small round dish and decided to photograph Speckles egg in the same dish once she finally got it laid.

Five little girls’ eggs in a tapas dish on Sunday

Speckles egg in the tapas dish on Monday

Speckles egg next to a medium shop bought egg

Speckles egg and the medium shop bought egg in the egg stand

For a bantam Speckles lays a huge egg. I bet she was glad to get that laid.

Egg laying brings a rush of hormones to the girls and sometimes changes their behaviour. I have seen firm friends suddenly have little spats once one or both start laying. Honey and Amber, my  bantam vorwerks, were inseparable little friends until the egg laying started and then suddenly they raised their ruffs to each other and had a few little spats.

When Freckles started laying last year she suddenly started plucking at Rusty’s head feathers. She effectively gave Rusty a haircut as she snipped her head feathers rather than pulling them out. Thankfully this didn’t last long.

The day Freckles laid her first egg this year she started to do the same thing to Apricot. She has given her the same haircut. I hate to see this and am really hoping that like with Rusty this will soon pass.

Apricot has a hair cut

The dark head feathers, which in silky feathered girls, are more like hairs have been snipped. This was exactly how Rusty looked but it didn’t get any worse so I am really hoping that the same will be the case this time.

I have said in the past that I wondered if once Speckles started laying again the mother hen relationship with the little girls may finally change. I was right. Last week we remarked how unusually unselfish Speckles was still being with her little girls. She even dropped bits of chopped grape in front of them which is unknown for most hens.

Yesterday for the first time she went for Apricot and even pulled a few feathers from her back. Today she briefly pinned Cinnamon down. Later when I hand fed the girls some spinach she was taking it aggressively and pecked Freckles on the head when she got in her way. Cinnamon came to take some and she glared at her causing Cinnamon to run away.

This afternoon when I gave out the bedtime corn it was the first time that Speckles didn’t call the little girls over and drop corn in front of them. Speckles just got stuck into the corn along with the other girls.

I think her mother hen position has come to an abrupt end. She has been in this role since Peaches and Barley, the other two bigger girls, left the flock last May. She has played at being a mum to the little girls for ten months which is much longer than any real mother hen would do. It’s quite sad to see this change but it is natural. I think there may be a little less harmony from now on but I guess she couldn’t be mum forever.

This entry was posted in Chickens. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Speckles first egg of the year and a rush of hormones

  1. marion.pharo says:

    A lovely egg, Sad her being mother hen has come to an end.

  2. Sophie says:

    Maybe when she’s stopped laying for the year she might become mum again?! It really is extraordinary how their ranking changes depending on egg laying, broodiness etc., My top girl had been broody for the past week and became bottom of the pecking order. She’s back to normal today and top girl again!


    • It is amazing how things change in a small flock. I think when we have small backyard flocks as apposed to farmers with much bigger flocks we really notice all the changes in ranking. It is quite fascinating to see. xx

  3. David says:

    Huge eggs for a bantam – wonder how many she’ll produce this year. Behavioural change is interesting to note.

    • I am always amazed at the size of her eggs but I’m not expecting her to be a prolific layer based on her past record. We discussed the change in her behaviour today and both agreed that she is showing a totally different personality. Her little girls looked a bit stunned especially Cinnamon. I expect they will soon get used to the change in dynamics as it is the way with chickens. It is interesting to watch though.

  4. Kevin says:

    Impressive egg from Speckles! It’s almost sad to read that her mothering behaviour may be at an end, but as you say, it’s natural.

    • I have never seen such a sudden change in personality in the flock before. Speckles is chasing the little girls away now and when I took the spinach up to them, out of the little girls, only Freckles was brave enough to get near her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *