I had a feeling that Marmite’s broodiness was weakening. Yesterday morning she was out in the run, when I went in first thing, rather than me lifting her from the nest box for the morning sunflower seeds. She returned to the nest box but she stayed out in the afternoon for a communal dust bath just like the day before on my previous post.
This morning she was again out in the run when I went in first thing. I checked back an hour later and she was still out, hurrah! Marmite stayed out all day. After exactly a week she has come out of it.
For the last few days Smoke has been looking as if she was getting ready to lay again. She has been going to the grit and checking out the nest boxes. Late this morning Smoke settled in the nest box. When I next checked on her she had laid an egg after a two week break.
Then to my surprise this afternoon Jasmine was in the nest box. A few minutes later she laid her egg in front of me with no time to get a photo of her. Jasmine has only taken a one week break from laying. As I have found before the shorter time they are broody, the quicker they come back into lay.
I am surprised that I am still able to tell which girls are laying, at the moment, for my egg record. There are several reasons for this. Speckles has given up after one egg and Ebony has beige eggs and Flame has white eggs so the bigger girls are a doddle.
Of the smaller girls there are usually three on a broody break at any given time so that narrows it down. Sienna, like Salmon before her, hasn’t really got going properly yet. Cinnamon has only laid one egg so far this year.
Dandelion lays tiny eggs, every other day and Smoke and Vanilla lay bigger and rounder eggs but Smokes are white and Vanilla’s are beige. The rest of the girls lay longer, beige, eggs but lay every other day so are fairly easy to predict.
I am also here a lot of the time so I can usually catch them missing on parade and they tend to be quite vocal before hand. Even when we are out like Sunday when we were at the allotment for five hours I can predict who will probably lay.
Ebony lays every other day so I knew she was due to lay and Vanilla was being very vocal and in and out of the chicken shed before we left. Salmon and Spangle also lay every other day and on the same day so I predicted they would lay too.
On our return Ebony’s and Vanilla’s biggish, round, beige egg, were together in the corner of the chicken shed. Salmon and Spangle’s eggs were in the nest box. It also helps me predict because most of the girls have a favourite place to lay their eggs.
To demonstrate this Flame’s egg is on the left to give scale. Next is Dandelion’s tiny egg. Next is Smoke’s round, white egg. As it is her first one back in lay it’s not quite as big as usual. It would usually be the same size as Vanilla’s egg, which is next and is round and beige. On the right is Spangles egg which is beige and a longer shape.
It is fun being able to tell who is laying but I expect there will be times in the summer when we are out all day and it may not always be possible. It is good to have Smoke, our best layer, back in lay again and no broodies for the moment!