Storm’s first egg

For the last few days Storm has been trying out the nest boxes. Today I found her tiny egg in the nest box. I didn’t actually catch her in the nest box but the egg is so tiny that it has to be hers. Gold and Snowflake had already laid their egg today.

Storm’s first egg on the left, Gold’s in the middle and Snowflake’s on the right
Storm’s egg with some coins for size comparison

What a sweet little egg and what a clever girl! It looks like Spot is going to be last girl to lay if she ever does. Spot is a year old and it is a mystery as to why she hasn’t started laying.

In other news Flame is through her broody spell and Sugar is now in the dog crate. She has been broody for a full month now and is showing no sign of giving up.

Sugar’s turn in broody jail

I wonder how long she would go on for if I left her to it. I can’t leave her any longer because the longer she goes on the more committed she becomes and she no longer takes breaks. I worry that she will lose condition and also it’s no life for a chicken sitting day and night.

I am not sure how long it will take to break her of this but I hope it won’t be too long.

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Spangle gave us a fright

Yesterday I could see that Spangle wanted to lay her first egg of the year. Spangle was in the nest box for quite a long time.

When I went to check on Spangle I thought that I had caught her in the throes of laying as she was in the position and was straining.

Spangle is trying to get her egg laid

When I next checked on Spangle she was out in the run and no egg was in the nest box. I picked her up to check on her and she had a messy bottom. I cleaned it as best I could with kitchen roll.

A bit later Spangle returned to the nest box and had another try. Once more she was straining and then she gave up without laying.

The next time I checked on Spangle she was in the run and didn’t look right. She had her wings down and her eyes were closing. I guessed that she must have an egg stuck.

Spangle in the run and not looking happy

I felt really upset. It seems that as each serama comes back in to lay they have a problem and I felt as if it was possible that I would lose them one by one. Spangle has never had a problem laying an egg before but then neither had Shadow or Smoke.

I hoped that later in the day if I could see some soft shell I could pull it out. I planned on bathing Spangle the next day if she still hadn’t passed her egg but wasn’t optimistic about that as it has never worked for me yet.

I visualised taking Spangle to the vet over the next day or two. I knew my decision not to have any more seramas was the right one and I visualised soon not having any seramas or being left with only Sugar spending ninety percent of her time in a nest box.

I kept checking on Spangle and each time she hadn’t moved. I then checked back again a little later and Spangle was on the patio area looking back to normal. I was so surprised.

I looked over to the spot in the run where she had been and there in the dirt was her egg. I was so relieved.

Spangle’s first egg of the year on the left

On the right is Flame’s last egg which was smaller than usual. Next is Snowflake’s and then Gold’s and then Spangle’s usual torpedo shaped egg on the left.

I couldn’t understand why Spangle’s egg had been so difficult to pass as it looked fine. This morning I made scrambled egg for breakfast and cracked Spangle’s egg to see what the shell was like.

The shell was wafer thin which explains why it was difficult to lay. I am so relieved that Spangle managed to lay the egg. I am hoping this is just a blip as it’s her first egg of the year.

Luckily Spangle doesn’t lay often. She usually averages an egg once a week. I worry about her next egg but we have to cross that bridge when we get to it and we have still have Salmon to start laying yet.

These girls do know how to worry me.

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Flame is broody as well as Sugar

Sugar has now been broody for just over three weeks and is showing no sign of coming out of it. It takes three weeks to hatch eggs so she should have given up by now but the first time she went broody last year she went four weeks before I decided to break her out of it.

Just as I was thinking that I will have to try and break Sugar from her broodiness Flame went broody too.

Sugar usually leaves the chicken shed in the morning and goes to sit in her favourite nest box. I was surprised to find she wasn’t there. Instead she and Flame were together in the corner of the chicken shed.

I took both girls out and blocked the pop hole of the chicken shed in the hope that it would deter Flame, who had laid late the afternoon before, so I knew she didn’t need to lay.

When I checked a few minutes later Flame and Sugar were together in Sugar’s favourite nest box.

Two broodies together

I know that this looks very cute but I have past experience of this. What happens next is Flame will mother Sugar and Sugar’s behaviour will revert to being a chick. This could then potentially continue all summer so I can’t let that happen.

I decided that as Flame had only just gone broody I would try to break her first before she was properly in the zone. It seems that she was already instantly in the zone though.

I decided to move Flame to broody jail which is the dog crate in the shed. I put a dish of mash and a dish of water in and a perch. I will get Flame out several times a day for exercise.

Flame in broody jail
Flame tucking in to the mash

This usually takes only two days and two nights. While Flame was in the crate I noticed how much her spurs had grown since I did post about them in the past.

A close up of Flame’s spurs

They also point in different directions. It’s lucky that Flame is a placid girl and the spurs don’t pose any problem.

When I said that she was already in the zone it was because it was proved each time I took her out of the crate. I would return her to the run in the hope that she would get some exercise but all she did was race to the nest box while bok boking and sometimes shaking herself and making an angry sound.

I left Flame in the crate over night and closed up the shed. When I opened up in the morning Flame was desperate to get out. I put her in the run and she ran straight to the chicken shed. Every time I take her out she refuses to spend time in the run and makes a bee line for a nest box or the shed.

I can’t close the nest boxes as there are girls needing to lay so I will just have to keep up this regime until Flame comes out of her broody spell. I just hope that it is as quick as it’s been in the past.

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More nest box activity

Yesterday was another day of lots of nest box activity. Sugar was in her usual nest box next to the chicken shed. She has now been broody two days short of three weeks and shows no sign of coming out of it.

Gold was in the nest box next to the store cabinet. The nest box by the gate was empty.

The race is on for who will lay next. Yesterday I was sure it was going to be Spangle. Spangle was being very vocal. She wanted the nest box Gold was in. I tried putting Spangle in the empty nest box but she didn’t want that one.

Storm was also looking in the nest boxes and had been scratching shavings out of all three nest boxes.

Storm joins Gold while Spangle looks on
Spangle joins Gold
Spangle goes in the nest box once Gold had laid and vacated it
Spangles settles in the nest box

Spangle was shouting all the time that Gold was in the nest box as that’s where she wanted to be. Once Gold had laid and left the nest box Spangle went straight in. I kept checking back on her and she was settled in the nest box. I felt sure she was ready to lay.

After about an hour in the nest box Spangle came out. I checked and there was no egg! These girls seem to need an awful lot of practice.

I think spangle will probably lay soon but so far today she isn’t bothering with the nest box.

Spot is a mystery though. She is a year old this month and after her spell of practising in the nest box she has shown no further interest. I find that very odd.

We have plenty of eggs though with three good layers at the moment. Gold lays up to four days running and Snowflake up to two days running. Flame lays every other day and occasionally two days running. Between them we have all the eggs we can eat.

It will be interesting to see which girl lays next.

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Storm is maturing

I have noticed over the last few days that Storm’s face and tiny comb have turned from grey to pink. She has also had a look in the nest boxes.

I think Storm may be getting ready to start laying soon. Maybe she will beat Spot to laying.

Storm’s face and tiny comb has turned pink
Storm having some apple

Gold and Snowflake have turned out to be really good layers. Gold has now laid five days running and Snowflake three days running. I have become unused to having such good layers.

We will soon be giving eggs to our neighbours and that is with less than half the flock laying. It will be interesting to see how tiny Storm’s eggs will be.

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An abundance of eggs

We suddenly have an abundance of eggs which is rather surprising considering we have only three out of eight girls laying. But the three girls we do have laying are good layers.

Flame, Gold and Snowflake are laying. They all three lay every other day and occasionally two days running. Gold lays slightly more than Snowflake and has so far laid eight eggs to Snowflake’s six.

An abundance of eggs

Sugar has now been broody for a week. The egg that I thought Salmon had laid I am now thinking must have been Sugar’s egg. I put it down to Salmon as she had been in the nest box and gave a shout but she hasn’t laid since so I now think it was more likely that it was Sugar’s egg.

That means we still have Salmon, Spangle, Spot and Storm to start laying. I am surprised that some of them haven’t started laying by now.

Salmon and Spangle started laying in March last year. Spot is a surprise as she is coming up a year old now. Storm I think is younger than Gold and Snowflake plus her breed is slower to mature and not known for laying well so I am not expecting her to start yet.

It doesn’t matter about girls not laying as we have plenty of eggs with just these three girls laying but I am just surprised. I am sure they will all get started in their own sweet time.

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Sugar’s first broody spell of the year

Sugar has laid seven eggs in twelve days before going broody. At least we now have only one serial broody in the flock. Flame and Salmon sometimes go broody once or twice a year.

Spangle has never gone broody and Spot and the three new girls are breeds known for not going broody.

Sugar lays so few eggs in between broody bouts but we are getting plenty of eggs at the moment with Flame , Gold and Snowflake laying well.

Sugar is broody
Her fellow seramas inspect her

It’s funny how when I lifted Sugar from the nest box for a break Salmon and Spangle ran over to look at her. You can almost read their thoughts asking what she is doing!

Sugar is already broody before some of the girls have even started laying. Oh well, that’s chickens for you.

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First eggs

Today I felt that it was going to be a race between Gold and Snowflake to get their first egg laid.

Gold was the first to settle in a nest box this morning. Snowflake was in and out of the nest boxes. Gold was in the nest box next to the store cabinet. Snowflake eventually settled in the nest box next to the gate which was the one she settled in the day before yesterday.

Gold is in the nest box again
Snowflake is also in the nest box again

A little later Gold came out of the nest box shouting. I checked and there was her first egg.

Gold’s first egg on the left

On the left is Gold’s first egg followed by Salmon’s egg then next is Sugar’s egg and Flame’s egg is on the right.

About an hour later I was cleaning up in the run when Snowflake left the nest box and there was her first egg.

Snowflake’s first egg on the left

Snowflake’s egg is on the left and is bigger than Gold’s and darker in colour. Both Gold’s and Snowflake’s eggs have the same long shape. A similar line up for comparison with Snowflake’s on the left followed by Gold’s, with Salmon’s egg in the middle, which is rounder and bigger than Sugar’s egg which is next and Flame’s larger egg on the right.

Well done both Gold and Snowflake! I am so proud of them. According to the breeder the new girls would be five months old now but I think perhaps they are six months old as that is the usual time to start laying.

I think perhaps she gave me the age of the youngest and possibly Storm is five months old and Gold and Snowflake six months old. Storm looks younger than these two.

The odd thing is that Spot is now eleven months old and has yet to lay her first egg. I am really surprised that Gold and Snowflake have beaten Spot to it and what a coincidence that they have both laid their first egg on the same day.

There should be no need to buy anymore eggs now until the end of the summer. Hurrah!

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Lots of nest box activity and Salmon’s first egg of the year

At the moment it seems that every day I wonder who is going to be the next girl to lay.

Spot looked so ready to lay with her daily practising and then she seemed to give up and has stopped visiting the nest box for now without laying an egg. In the meantime Sugar started laying.

Then Gold looked like she was going to be the next girl to lay. She has been squatting every time I get near her and she has also had a few visits to the nest box today.

Then it looked like it was going to be Snowflake next to lay. She has been very vocal for the last few days. Today she had a scratch around in all three nest boxes. She eventually settled in the nest box by the gate and was in there for about an hour. I was sure she was going to lay but she too left the nest box without laying.

While Snowflake was in the nest box Storm hung around outside the whole time. She was looking in or pecking at the shavings that Snowflake had scratched out.

Next it was Salmon in the nest box and she came out shouting. Salmon has laid her first egg of the year and it has a good shell. That is such a relief. It did have her trade mark poop next to it and it’s bigger in size than Sugar’s eggs.

Next Spangle went in the nest box to take a look at Salmon’s egg.

Gold has several visits to the nest box
Salmon goes in the nest box
Spangle investigates the nest box
Spangle takes a look at Salmon’s egg
Snowflake is settled in the nest box
Storm kept watch outside Snowflake’s nest box

In other news on their fifth night together both Gold and Snowflake found their own way in at bedtime and perched on the back perch with the rest of the flock. They have continued to go in each night since.

Storm is still perching on the edge of the nest box next to the chicken shed and I am putting her in but I am sure she will get the hang the of it soon.

Gold now jumps on my back when I poop pick the run like Speckles used to. She rides on my back and steps of on to a perch. Storm also jumped on my back yesterday.

If I hold my arm out to Gold she will jump on.

If I hold out my arm Gold will jump on

I am amazed at how tame Gold and Storm are. I also think Snowflake is getting more used to me now that I don’t have to pick her up at bedtime. I am sure that like Spot she will come round eventually.

I wonder which girl will be next to lay. Never a dull moment in the chicken run!

Edit

When I checked on the girls at dusk tonight Storm had gone in the chicken shed herself and perched on the back perch with the rest of the girls. Hurrah! I think we have cracked it.

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Sugar’s first and second egg of the year

The day before yesterday I found what I thought was Sugar’s first egg of the year but I hadn’t actually caught her in the nest box so I decided to wait a few days to be sure.

The reason I thought it was Sugar’s was that she had briefly been in the nest box the day before, she had also been in the grit and it was the same time of year she started laying last year whereas Salmon and Spangle started later.

On the same day Flame also laid. Flame is laying every other day and Sugar usually lays every other day too so I decided to wait until today to be sure.

Sure enough Sugar settled in the same nest box today and Flame as usual settled in the corner of the chicken shed.

Sugar getting ready to lay her egg

When I checked a little later both Sugar and Flame had laid their eggs.

Flame and Sugar’s eggs with a medium shop bought egg for comparison

On the left is Sugar’s egg laid today and next Sugar’s egg laid the day before yesterday. Next is flame’s egg laid today followed by Flame’s egg from the day before yesterday. On the right is a medium shop bought egg. Well done Sugar.

Meanwhile Gold will squat if I hover my hand over her so I think she is getting ready to lay soon too. I tried to take a photo but it’s quite difficult to hover over her with one hand and click the camera at the same time with the other hand. Not perfect photos but they show the gist of it.

If I hover my fingers over Gold’s back …
Gold will drop into a squat

I am thinking that Gold is older than I thought she was as they usually start laying at around six months.

At this rate quite a few of the girls will beat Spot to laying. After a few false alarms Spot seems to have given up for the moment. Not to worry though as they will all start laying eventually.

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