Moulting, egg laying and going broody

Ebony had been broody for four weeks and Flame for just over a week when we finished the new chicken shed. As we were in the run most of the day working on it I closed the nest boxes and this finally triggered these two girls out of it although Marmite continued to be broody for a further week.

Ebony, Flame and Speckles all started moulting at this point. A week later they stopped moulting and ten days after starting to moult Ebony and Flame started laying again.

In ten days Ebony has laid eight eggs. The first four were in the wooden shelter but the last four have been in various nest boxes so it seems that she has now accepted the nest boxes in their new positions. Flame has laid six eggs in ten days and is happy with any nest box.

I have never seen so much white on a black feathered head as on Ebony

Ebony still looks tatty feathered

I am amazed that a girl looking like this is laying eggs. I know that chickens can’t produce enough protein for both feathers and eggs. I think what has happened is that the moult has stopped and new feathers are not being produced but the fluffy underneath feathers are now on show due to the top feathers having dropped out.

I suspect that at the end of the summer egg laying will stop and the moult will continue. I have never seen a moult of two halves before.

Flame looks pristine apart from having a short tail

At the end of last year Flame looked a real mess while she moulted. The start of this partial moult seems to have stopped with losing the odd feather and all of her tail feathers. I am guessing that when her moult continues she will keep her new tail feathers.

Speckles looks pretty much like she always does

It seems as if Speckles shed a few feathers in sympathy because she lost some feathers but not enough to make her look any different. Speckles hasn’t resumed egg laying but that doesn’t surprise me.

Smoke has now been broody for ten days and Vanilla has been broody for two days. Vanilla had only laid six eggs in seven days before going broody again. Smoke and Vanilla have a pattern of three weeks not laying as they are broody and then recovering and then one week of laying nearly every day before going broody again.

I find Smoke and Vanilla’s pattern quite frustrating. They are the best layers when laying and both lay the biggest serama eggs but this is countered by their serial broodyness. Oh well, nothing I can do about it, they will do what they will do!

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6 Responses to Moulting, egg laying and going broody

  1. Sophie says:

    Beautiful pic of Speckles!! xx

  2. david says:

    Her comb has retracted so much, too. But my, she is beautiful.

  3. marion says:

    Poor Ebony,with her loss of head feathers, but she will soon be back to normal.
    Flame and Speckles look great.

    • Carol says:

      Ebony does look a bit of a state. At least her head isn’t bald, it’s just the carotine sheaves that contain the new feathers that show up white. I always think that head feathers seem to take the longest to unfurl.

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