Beautiful lilies and Smoke is broody again

Our lilies have been amazing this year. I took some photos before the rain came to bash them down.

Dark lilies
Two coloured lilies
Orange lilies

Smoke is broody again. She has laid eight eggs in eleven days. Smoke is out of lay for longer than she is in lay. This year has been a record even for her. This is Smoke’s seventh broody spell so she is broody on average once every month.

I guess I should be used to it by now and I guess nothing is ever going to change her.

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Our second, six egg day, of the year

Yesterday was the second time this year that we had six eggs from our seven girls. The first was on 28th March and this time on 21st July. On both occasions it was Salmon who didn’t lay.

Salmon wasn’t laying in March after her, soft shelled egg, experience and she isn’t laying at the moment after her brief broody spell.

It was a very hot day yesterday and I was sitting in the shade with a book. The garden is looking so colourful with the day lilies being the best they have ever been due to the clumps growing bigger and the red of the crocosmia in the foreground is framing the view beautifully.

The colourful view looking up to the chicken run

Anyway back to the chickens. I sometimes think there is something hormonal that passes between chickens causing them all to want to lay on the same day, at the same time and of course in the same nest box!

Being a hot sunny day all our neighbours were in the garden and I was very much aware how noisy the girls were being. The little girls all wanted to lay at once and were all shouting.

Sugar laid first then Smoke and Shadow wanted the same nest box. I had been checking on them and Shadow was in the nest box and Smoke was shouting and she is a very loud girl. Then I heard Spangle shouting and I checked again. Smoke had forced Shadow out of the nest box and Shadow had laid her egg on the patio just outside the nest box. Sigh!

Next time I checked Spangle was in with Smoke which was brave of her and both girls had just laid.

Straight after that Flame and Ebony both wanted to lay. Ebony would shout when Flame was in and then Flame would shout when Ebony was in and they were constantly changing places. They too have a very loud shout with Ebony being the loudest of all.

I kept worrying about what the neighbours would think and was constantly going up to them to try to quieten them.

It was so hot that both bigger girls were open beaked and panting in between shouting. I tried giving cooling cucumber, tomato and grapes to cool and distract.

At last it went quiet and I checked again and both bigger girls were in the nest box together.

Flame and Ebony in the nest box together

They didn’t look too thrilled to be sharing and it can’t be great in the heat. Soon after they both got their eggs laid and peace returned once more. Phew! Thank goodness that was done for the day.

It’s probably just as well that we don’t have many, six egg, days. All was peaceful today with just three, little girl, eggs.

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I dug the run over today

The girls love it when I dig over the run. They follow me with excitement to see if there will be any worms. Ebony got all the worms because she is such a thug that she keeps the other girls away and there were only a few worms.

But afterwards the little girls love to peck and scratch and dig in the freshly turned soil. Smoke in particular loves to dig deep holes. The two bigger girls were down the bottom part of the run having a dust bath in the freshly loosened soil.

I have just dug over the run
The girls love scratching and digging in the freshly turned soil
They are having such a good time

I love to see the girls having such simple fun.

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This and that

We have had slow worms breeding in our garden in all the years that we have lived here. We know that they breed here because every year around March we see the tiny baby slow worms. I saw them this year in March but by the time I grabbed my camera they had gone.

Throughout the summer months we see the slow worms gradually getting larger, long and slim. Occasionally we will see a really big slow worm, long and thick, so we have them at all stages.

A few days ago I saw one that was long and slim. It was probably one of the tiny ones I had seen earlier in the year. This time it was still on the path when I returned with my camera.

Slow worm
My hand next to it to show it’s size

I definitely think this is one of this year’s babies growing up. It was perfectly still and I couldn’t resist gently stroking it on the centre of it’s back. It wiggled it’s way, at speed, into the undergrowth. There is nothing slow about them when they want to move.

The garden is looking amazing at the moment. This is when the garden looks at it’s best.

My favourite part of the garden is in front of the chicken run

I love all the different heights, textures and colours in this part of the garden.

And looking down towards the patio

And on to chicken news. After a week of being broody I put Sugar in the broody crate for three nights. That was all it took to break her out of it and exactly a week later she is laying again.

Smoke also started laying again a week after she gave up being broody. Flame started laying again after her one month break. Ebony and Shadow are laying. Spangle has laid one egg after a two week break. Spangle is an erratic layer. Salmon is still on her post broody break.

We have gone from next to no eggs to back in the swing again. We are in one of those lovely periods of no broody girls which we have to make the most of because it won’t last long.

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Flame lays an egg and it’s time to break Sugar out of being broody

I knew Flame was getting ready to lay again as the day before she starts laying she always has a twirl round inside the nest boxes. It’s as if she has to check them out first. Then when she is getting ready to lay she makes a mournful sound.

Flame laid her first egg yesterday after exactly a months break since she came out of being broody. She has also stopped dropping feathers. I decided to get a photo of her in the nest box for this post and just happened to catch her laying.

Flame is in the egg laying position
And she has laid her egg

It is good to have one of our best egg layers back in lay. Eggs have been thin on the ground recently with only Ebony and Shadow laying.

Meanwhile Sugar has now been broody for a week and is showing no signs of coming out of it. With Smoke if I lift her out every time I go in the run she starts to come out of it after a week. When I get Smoke out she has a dust bath and she has water and food and she gradually stays out for longer periods.

When I get Sugar out she will occasionally have a frantic dust bath and she has water but she gradually stops eating. I have seen her go to the pellets and pick one up and then drop it again and leave. She will often just go straight back in without even visiting the food or water.

Anyone who has had broody girls will know about the broody poop. It’s the huge poop they do on the occasions when they are out of the nest box. There are no broody poops from Sugar and I think that’s a sign that she eats very little.

I feel now that I have tried this method with Sugar and it isn’t working that it’s time to put her in the broody crate again. I don’t want her to remain broody for the long haul like she did the first time. I feel that different girls need different treatment and Sugar won’t come out of her broody spell without doing this. Sugar has now had two nights in the broody crate.

Yesterday Sugar was back in broody jail

I have put a dish of water and a dish of mash in with Sugar. She has eaten some mash and done some small poops so that is a good sign. I put her back in the run with the nest boxes closed when no girl needs to lay. I put her in here when a girl needs to lay and then in here overnight.

It has only taken four nights the two previous times so I am hoping it will only take that long this time too. Lets hope we will soon be broody free again for a little while.

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Sugar is broody again and Flame has only one tail feather

This really is the year of the broody! Salmon gave up being broody after only two days like last time. If only they were all like Salmon!

Salmon isn’t so committed. She will only sit in one of the two favourite nest boxes and they were mostly occupied. One was occupied by broody Smoke and one by which ever girl needed to lay. This kept Salmon out.

Salmon also continued to perch at bedtime rather than sit in a corner possibly because it is either the two favourite boxes or nothing for her.

Smoke has now been broody for a week but she is coming out of it. My tactic is to lift her out every time I go in the run and she is now staying out for longer periods so I think she will give up in a day or two.

The more annoying thing is that Sugar is now broody again after only nine eggs in eleven days this time. The first time Sugar was broody for six weeks and then after four days in the broody crate she came out of it and started laying again two weeks later.

The second time I put her in the broody crate straight away and she came out of it after four days and started laying again after a further four days.

This time round I am treating Sugar the same as Smoke. I am not sure if her six week session was a one off or if she would be like that each time but the only way to find out is to try it this way.

I don’t object to using the broody crate when I need to but I would prefer not to have to use it on regular basis. I will keep lifting Sugar from the nest box and see if, like Smoke, she starts to come out after a week or so. If it starts looking like it’s going to go on for the long haul again then I will switch to the broody crate.

Broody Smoke and Sugar share a nest box

In other news Flame has only one remaining tail feather.

Flame has only one tail feather

Flame isn’t having a bad moult so far. She is dropping breast and tail feathers but not too many at once and isn’t looking too shabby. I wonder if she will moult in two halves with a second moult at the end of the year. Time will tell.

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Salmon is now broody too

We seem to be constantly beset with broody girls this year. Salmon has now gone broody for the second time this year which is something she has never done before.

Since her last brief broody spell Salmon has laid fourteen eggs in a month. That is twice the eggs and twice the time than in between Smoke’s broody spells.

I lifted Salmon from the nest box

I will be lifting both Smoke and Salmon as often as I can in the hope that this won’t last too long.

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Smoke is broody yet again and more roses in the garden

Smoke seems to be going for a record of serial broodiness. This time is her quickest yet and least number of eggs laid. Eight eggs in twelve days and she is broody again.

Smoke is broody again

I will continue with my usual regime of lifting Smoke from the nest box every time I go in to the girls in the hope that I can get her through this as quickly as possible.

We hardly seem to get any time between broodies these days. I really hope that we can get a hamburg so that we can add a girl with a non broody nature!

In other news our two roses that flower until the first frosts are now flowering beautifully.

This rose is always beautiful and usually flowers right up until November
This rose was one of my 50th birthday presents

This was a standard rose but we have let it go wild. Both roses are quite different but both flower from now until November.

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Flame is moulting

Flame has gone broody twice in quick succession but come out of it after four nights in the broody crate. This has triggered an early moult.

Flame only has a few tail feathers left
Flame has some loose feathers
Flame checks in on Ebony in the nest box

I am fairly confident that Flame will start laying again once she is through her moult. I guess she is getting it done sooner rather than later.

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Smoke usually stays broody for only a week if I lift her out of the nest box constantly. She then takes a break for another week and then starts to lay again.

Sugar went broody the first time for six weeks. She then took a break of two weeks before laying again. After just under two weeks of laying Sugar went broody again.

I took action straight away and put Sugar in the dog crate at nights. It took four nights for Sugar to come out of it. What has surprised me is that after a break of only four days Sugar laid again today. This is a great result. I will continue to do this with Sugar.

Flame on the other hand came out of her broody spell after four nights in the dog crate but then started moulting. It has now been two weeks since Flame came out of her broody spell and she has been dropping feathers ever since and therefore not laying.

The girls are all so different. Sugar has lots of unique, to her, behaviours. Sugar had her habit of jumping on me. Sugar has another habit.

It has been very wet recently. Parts of the run get wet where the rain blows in the sides and other parts of the run stay dry. While it is like this Sugar always has pair of muddy feet while all the other girls have clean, dry, feet.

Sugar obviously likes being in the wet parts of the run. Yesterday Sugar had muddy feet and it was the same again today. Today I took a photo of Sugar’s little mud shoes.

Sugar has muddy feet

Sugar most definitely has her own unique personality. She makes me smile.

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