We are experiencing a bit of a heat wave at the moment as I think is the whole country. The little girls love the heat but the two bigger girls not so much.
Speckles continues to do sloppy poops and it’s obviously no longer because of drinking rain water.
I have researched this and it is suggested that providing the girl looks fine in every other way there is nothing to worry about but I still can’t help thinking that as it has gone on for so long there must be something slightly adrift.
Speckles has been laying fewer eggs than usual and yesterday for the first time she laid a soft shelled egg which I found broken in the nest box. Despite this she does seem normal in all other ways. She is active, dust baths, eats well and runs to the treats with vigour so there is nothing much I can do but see how she goes.
Emerald is feeling her age and spends more time sitting and snoozing these days. Today when it was hot and the little girls were sunning themselves she found a shady spot on top of the shelter and was snoozing there.
Despite this Emerald is laying really well and recently laid two days in a row for the first time this year.
Dandelion has really come into her own. After many times of looking poorly over the winter she is now thriving in the hot weather. When I last did portraits of the girls Dandelion had black spots on her comb where I thought that she had been pecked by Speckles. She now has a beautiful red comb and is laying good shelled eggs every other day. It is as if she is fixed!
She is more active than she used to be and even seems to have more confidence when the other girls are competing for the treats.
The other problem I am still trying to sort out is that the two bigger girls still want to sleep outside of the chicken shed. I have been hanging clear tarpaulin over the perches in the evening which worked for a while.
They then got braver and perched on top of the tarpaulin. I chased them down and then arranged my wellie boots over the spot they had perched on and went back later to check on them. They had knocked my boots down and perched there again. I am now hanging a black bin bag over the tarpaulin which at the moment is working.
We are away overnight at the end of next week so I am keeping this up for now so that I can feel confident that they will go in while we are away but longer term I am not sure if I am going to be able to break this habit.
While we are at home I can just go and herd them in each night but we are away overnight again in August. This is a work in progress.
And that is all the latest news from the chicken run. Overall I am pleased that all the girls are looking good and laying well, apart from Speckles, but then she has never been a particularly good layer anyway.