Marmite and Flame’s pins

Both Marmite and Flame have white heads at the moment because of the amount of pins they have.

Marmite’s head is white with pins

A white head

Flame’s head is also all pins

One side of Flame’s neck is also a mass of pins

Flame’s neck seems to be moulting one side at a time. These two girls are having a messy moult. This is often referred to as an ugly moult but my girls could never be ugly therefore I prefer to call it a messy moult!

It will be so good to see these two girls back to normal. I am picking up much less feathers though so I think we may be through the worse of it.

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Flame’s turn to look tatty

There have been lot’s of tiny feathers from Flame in the chicken shed each morning. She is now looking quite tatty. I am not surprised because Flame looked very tatty last year when she moulted.

Flame is moulting

Flame is looking really tatty

It’s funny how they all moult quite differently. The little girls hardly look any different except for Marmite who lost loads of feathers at once and is now a mass of pins.

Speckles has moulted a few feathers at a time this year and has hardly looked any different apart from when she lost her tail feathers.

Ebony has had two partial moults. She didn’t moult last year but this year she went broody and had a partial moult and then started laying again. She then went broody again and once more had a partial moult. To my surprise she then started laying again. Ebony took a break for two and a half weeks then started laying again four days ago and has now laid three eggs.

Smoke also started laying again eleven days ago and has laid seven eggs. All the other girls have stopped laying. Between Ebony and Smoke we are getting enough eggs for the weekend breakfasts.

It is great to still be getting some eggs and I look forward to seeing the girls all fully feathered again.

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Marmite has loads of pins

Marmite is now a mass of pins. She does look a sight.

Marmite has loads of pins

Pins everywhere

Pins on her head

Like Ebony she has also developed white tips to her feathers. She does look a state but the pins have come through quickly so hopefully she will soon be all feathered up again.

It’s odd that Marmite is the only girl to moult like this. I am looking forward to seeing her back to normal soon.

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A frog in the garden

Ever since we have lived here we have had a frog in the garden but we only see it occasionally. There may be more than one but we only see one at a time. We only see it once or twice a year and last year we had a hot summer and didn’t see it at all. This year we have also had a hot summer but yesterday morning after a it had been raining I saw it on the path.

I went back indoors for my camera and the frog was still on the path when I returned. I took a photo of it facing me and then it turned sideways and I managed to get a close up. It then jumped away into the flower border and disappeared.

Frog on the path

Close up of the frog

It’s quite a big frog and quite beautiful. I am really pleased to see that it is still here.

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Allotment update

As well our three firsts for largest sunflower head, fattest carrot and heaviest marrow we have also got first for best allotment plot this year. As it’s our first year we are well chuffed.

Points were awarded for lack of weeds, tidy plot, variety of crops, how good the crops were, how good the plot looked and we only lost one point and that was for the orange netting that had received a complaint.

We had put up makeshift frames for the netting after the first complaint that we couldn’t have full height netting. We now decided to make more permanent frames at the acceptable level and with the accepted green netting.

With the left over wood from the temporary frames my lovely husband decided to make a gate. It was a pain taking clips from netting as an entrance and a gate would be much nicer looking and easier to use.

My husband made this gate out of left over wood from the previous frames

We now have better frames with green netting

The net is now at the acceptable height

We have a row of artichokes

We are really pleased with how the first year has gone and we have learned a lot for next year. We have now secured the next plot behind ours for next year and have plans to combine both plots.

We plan to have some lawn with a bench to sit and enjoy the plot and some flower beds and perhaps shrubs plus more fruit and veg. We have done so much in our first year so who knows what we can do in our second year.

We are looking forward to the next project. Watch this space.

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Marmite is looking a complete mess

It is said that seramas moult a few feathers at a time all year round. This isn’t what I have experienced. My little girls seem to moult at this time of year the same as the bigger girls. I am picking up loads of feathers each day.

Some of the girls are looking worse than others. Marmite is moulting the heaviest of all. The only good thing is that she has plenty of pins through.

Marmite looks quite a state

Marmite has loads of pins coming through

Poor little girl. I feel so sorry for her. I will be glad when those pins unfurl and she looks beautiful again.

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A trip to the vet with Salmon

Over the last couple of days I have detected a slight wheeze from Salmon. This alarmed me as it means the myco is still in the flock. I know it’s best to act fast so I took Salmon to the vets yesterday.

Salmon today

Unfortunately I saw the stern vet, that I had only spoken to on the phone before, when she said that I couldn’t go on having antibiotics. I recognised her abrupt manner.

She was very thorough with her examination. She said that Salmon’s heart was strong which is a relief after past heart problems. She said that in all her years as a vet she had never come across a chicken with a heart problem before.

She said that the sound wasn’t in her air sac but just in her upper tract. She asked if there had been any other myco incidents since Dandelion was put to sleep and I said not. I believe that there was with Cinnamon but the vet that saw her thought it wasn’t myco so I thought it best to say not.

She said that she was not happy about continuing to give out antibiotic. I have to admit that I pleaded with her. I asked if I could have baytril as it would only be given to Salmon and I said that there were no eggs at the moment due to moulting and we wouldn’t have eaten the eggs if there had  been any.

She said she still didn’t like it because the individual birds could build up a resistance to antibiotic. I did wonder what the point of checking her was if she was so reluctant to treat but I tried to stay calm. In the end she said she would give me just three days of baytril.

I said that I had researched and read that you must complete a weeks course of antibiotic. She said that three days should see an improvement and I was to ring the surgery in three days and if she was improved I could have the remaining four days.

I didn’t ask what would happen if she wasn’t improved. I assume she meant that Salmon would have to be put to sleep. I could do nothing else but accept the three days worth. She said I am to call after three days either way.

One interesting thing that she did say though was that I should dose Salmon to her beak once a day. I said that I had always been told twice a day before. She said that she had always found that once a day works fine and it is less stressful to the bird.

I totally agree with that! Salmon is very difficult to pick up and I had to chase her around the run to pick her up and put her in the cat box to take her to the vet. I dosed her when we got home and will now do it by lifting her from her roost spot at the end of each day which will make it much easier.

The girls are now in by the time we have had our dinner at half past seven so this will be easier for us and less stressful for Salmon.

Salmon looks fine as you can see from today’s photo. She is another favourite of mine. She is friendly (unless I want to pick her up) and pretty and also never broody. I can’t bare the thought of  losing her. I think you know what I will be saying when I call the vet on Friday.

I have to say that I now have a dread of winter. I worry that if it is a really cold winter (which has been forecast) that the whole flock may end up sneezing and I won’t have access to tylan to treat them. It really scares me that the whole flock might be at risk.

I will consider finding another vet if I can’t get help from my vet but I don’t know if another vet would help me either and how much background would I have to give to convince them that I know it’s myco. I will just have to cross my bridges as I come to them.

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A moulting flock

Over the last week feathers have been dropping from the girls in heaps. I spend more time picking up feathers than poop picking. As the girls move feathers waft from them.

Some of the girls are looking more tatty than others though. The three bigger girls don’t look bad at the moment. Speckles has had a slow moult this year and she looks good. Her feather dropping has slowed right down now so I think that she may be through it now.


Speckles from the other side


You can just see a feather falling from under Ebony’s tail.

Ebony from the other side

Ebony has retained the white on her head and some white tips to her wing and tail feathers.


Flame looks good at the moment but today was the first day that I found lots of her feathers so I suspect she may soon start to look tatty.


Cinnamon looks good and her comb is a lovely red colour. She was dropping feathers and had taken a break from laying but has now stopped dropping feathers and is laying again.


Jasmine doesn’t appear to be dropping any feathers and is still laying. She also has a lovely red comb. She is so curious, look at how she stretches forward to see me with the camera.


Smoke again

It has only been nine days since Smoke came out of her long broody spell and yet she laid an egg yesterday. I have been finding piles of her grey feathers and yet she doesn’t actually look any different apart from the white carotene on her head.


Spangle again

Spangle has messy breast feathers but that is the only sign that she is moulting. She too looks at me with great interest.


Salmon again

Salmon is moulting quite heavily. She has pins on the back of her head and her breast feathers look messy too.

And then we come to Marmite! Marmite is moulting the heaviest of all the girls and is looking very tatty.


Marmite again

A very tatty Marmite

Look at the gap in her tail feathers. She does have plenty of pins though on her head and neck and throat.

Poor Marmite! I feel for her but she will soon be looking beautiful again I am sure. This is the first time the amigos have moulted so it’s a new experience. It is also Ebony’s first moult too.

They have a bit of a loss of confidence when they are moulting. It’s a good thing to get this over now though while it’s still warm. Hopefully they will all be fully feathered before we go into winter.

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Worming the girls

I worm the girls, the recommended, twice yearly. I do this in March and September. I add flubenvet powder to four little dishes of mash. All the girls love mash so they all get their fair share. However this year I have had so many broody girls recently that I kept delaying this.

Six days ago Smoke finally came out of her broody spell after just over four weeks. On the same day Ebony went broody. Five days ago Marmite came out of her broody spell after just over three weeks. Four days ago Flame went broody.

At this point I decided to start worming. I didn’t want to do it while the little girls were broody as if I took them out for a break I didn’t feel that they would compete with the other girls for the mash. The bigger girls are much more able to compete to get to the mash.

At this point I also closed the nest boxes. Only Cinnamon and Jasmine are laying an occasional egg at the moment and they are happy to lay in a corner of the chicken shed. The little girls are moulting and there are little feathers all around the run each day and in the chicken shed in the mornings.

Salmon and Smoke seem to be dropping the most feathers. I think that eggs will soon stop altogether.

Once I closed the nest boxes Ebony and Flame continued to sit, on the top of the nest boxes, but perched up at bedtime. Now, a few days later, they too seem to be coming out of their broodiness.

While worming the girls it’s a good opportunity to photograph the whole flock together. They look pretty good considering how many feathers I am picking up.

Worming the girls

They all get some mash with flubenvet

A great way to photograph the whole flock

My lovely flock together

I imagine that Ebony and Flame will probably moult too now that they are through being broody. Speckles has been dropping feathers too but as her moult has been gradual this year she has never looked much different. The same goes for the little girls.

There are a few pins showing but they all look pretty good. I think I may have to start buying eggs now. I haven’t found any worms which is a good sign. As long as the girls stay healthy I am happy.

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Our village show

Yesterday (Sunday) was our annual village show. We took our car for the classic car section.  We decided to set up a little table with our vintage crockery at the back of the car and put out some of our business cards. We thought it would be a good chance to promote our vintage crockery and our afternoon tea service.

The three of us sharing an allotment also put some of our produce in the competition.We entered biggest sunflower head, Fattest carrot, longest bean and heaviest marrow.

T had been growing long carrots but we found there wasn’t a longest carrot section so we entered fattest instead. T also wanted to try for biggest pumpkin but the pumpkin plant grew so long it was like Jack’s beanstalk but sadly didn’t produce any pumpkins.

It was a beautiful sunny day which meant there was a good turn out and it was very busy. We bumped into most of our neighbours and chatted to lots of people interested in classic cars.

After lunch the vegetable tent was judged and we won three, firsts, which was not bad for our first year. We got a first for our biggest sunflower head, our fattest carrot and our heaviest marrow. We were thrilled and it meant each of the three of us sharing the allotment plot got to take a rosette home.

Tea table at the back of our car

Tea table

Our car

First for our biggest sunflower head

First for our fattest carrot

First for our heaviest marrow

The sunflower head was heavy and the boys had to use a saw to cut through the stem and it took two to hold the head. But the marrow, which strictly speaking, was an overgrown courgette, was really really heavy! Afterwards we all argued about who should take it home in as much as no one  wanted to take it home!

We hefted it over to D’s classic camper van and abandoned it next to it. D is good at making a quirky use of odd things.

We all vowed to do even better next year. It was just the most enjoyable day.

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