Frozen melon for the flock

We are once again experiencing unusually high temperatures for us. It has been 33/34 degrees c which is low 90’s degrees f. This time we have had a week of these temperatures and they are forecast to continue to the end of the weekend.

Yesterday Flame was beak panting and holding out her wings. I gave the girls frozen peas in dishes of water and damped down parts of the run. This morning I was shopping and so I bought the girls a melon. I cut a couple of slices and halved them then froze them.

This morning I had given the girls frozen peas but this afternoon I gave them the frozen melon. While taking the slices out of the freezer I replaced them with fresh slices for tomorrow and will keep doing this until the weather cools.

The melon doesn’t stay frozen for long but it must be cooling and refreshing when I first put it on the girl’s patio and they all rush to it. Flame looked more comfortable today so I think it really does help.

I give the girls some frozen melon slices
The girls love the, cooling, melon
By the end of the afternoon just the skin is left

I think I can safely say that the girls enjoyed their melon.

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Updates

The five days of tylan in the water are now finished and Flame is looking back to normal. I really hope that this time she will stay well. There is still a lot of moulting going on. There was a lull in the amount of feathers I was picking up but now there seems to be a second wave with lots of feathers in the run again.

Flame’s feathers have mostly grown in and her tail is almost back to it’s normal length. I am now finding her long wing feathers in the run and she has some loose wing feathers.

Flame likes to stick to the shade unlike the rest of the flock who like to sit in the sun. Flame’s favourite spots to sit when it’s sunny are both the shelters and under the metal table.

Snowflake is now moulting too and sometimes when she moves feathers waft from her but despite this she is now laying again. She has now laid three eggs in four days since she started laying again. Gold is also losing a few feathers and hasn’t started laying again so far.

Dot is also having a second wave and leaving small feathers behind in her dust bathing spots. Despite this she is looking good.

I am breaking Sugar from her broody spell once more and she spent last night in the broody crate. At the moment with only Snowflake laying I am closing the nest boxes and the pop hole once Snowflake has laid her egg and returning Sugar to the run for the day. Snowflake laid first thing this morning so Sugar was soon back in the run.

It usually only takes a couple of nights to break Sugar out of her broody spell and it will be good to do this before the higher temperatures that are forecast from the middle of next week.

It will also be good in a couple of weeks time to have Sugar laying again. I am hoping the eggs we have will just about last until we have two girls laying again.

Flame often sits in the wooden shelter
Flame is looking good despite a loose wing feather
Flame has some chopped tomato
Flame’s tail is almost back to it’s normal length

I am hoping that all will stay well with the flock with no more dramas for a while.

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Flame has a relapse

A few days ago we noticed that Flame was sitting with her head under her wing. A little later I noticed that she had her right eye closed again.

I was gutted as I thought that we had got her through this. I wonder if her age and a really heavy moult and the heat is enough stress for the mico to return.

I am aware that I can’t keep on treating her, given her age, if this keeps returning and I have to think of the health of the rest of the flock. I may have to make a decision at some stage that it may be kinder to have her put to sleep. But I have enough tylan for one more treatment and I feel that I can’t give up without once last try.

So the flock are back on tylan in the water for five days.

Flame has her right eye closed again

By the second day of the tylan Flame was looking better. Yesterday we gave the girls a lettuce from the allotment that had gone to seed and Flame was the first to it. By the end of the day it had completely disappeared.

The girls have an allotment lettuce
The girls make good progress on the lettuce

In other news we now have no girls laying. Sugar is broody again after laying nine eggs. Gold and Snowflake haven’t laid for a week so they appear to being taking a break. Storm stopped laying half way through July after laying fifty five eggs in three months.

I don’t think we have ever had no girls laying at this time of year before. I am hoping that Gold and Snowflake will start up again. I will put Sugar in the broody crate once they have completed the five days on tylan.

I am really not sure how this will go with flame but will have to wait and see how she is at the end of the treatment. I will come back with her progress and will keeping my fingers crossed.

Edit

Snowflake laid late this afternoon so we now have one girl laying again, hurrah!

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Egg laying, moulting and portraits

I realised recently that if we hadn’t added the three newer girls in February we would have had hardly any eggs this year.

Salmon hasn’t laid at all this year which was actually a relief as it has meant that she has remained in good health. She hasn’t moulted and has kept a red comb.

Spangle laid five eggs and then stopped laying in early May and has moulted. While moulting she has a pale comb.

Sugar lays eight eggs and then goes broody. She hasn’t moulted at all and looks pristine and has a red comb.

Dot laid four eggs, each one six days apart, then stopped laying and hasn’t laid for two months. She has been moulting slowly during this time and has gone from very tattered to looking good but with a slightly pale comb.

Flame hasn’t laid since mid June when she first went broody and then moulted quite heavily. She is looking tatty and has a pale comb.

Gold lays for two days then misses a day. She has moulted a little behind her tail where she now has fluffy feathers and has some ragged tail feathers. She has a red comb.

Snowflake lays for two or three days running and then misses a day and she has a very ragged tail and wing feathers and a red comb.

Storm looks pristine and hasn’t lost any feathers and has a red comb. Storm was our best layer and would lay four days in a row then miss one day. However Storm hasn’t laid for five days now so I think that she may have come to the end of her laying season for this year. She has laid for three months.

Game birds usually have a short laying season but lay well during the time that they are laying. Toffee and Emerald also laid well but only for two or three months.

Ebony and Flame both laid for longer but they have more of the wyandotte in their mix. As Storm is a pure breed I had expected her to have a short season. Everything I read about her said that her breed doesn’t lay well and I have been surprised at how well she has laid until now so I am assuming that she is finished for this year.

Salmon looks almost pristine and has a red comb

By the way that is apple in front of Salmon that the girls have made dirty.

Spangle has some ragged tail feathers and a pale comb
Sugar looks pristine and has a red comb
Flame is looking very tatty and has a pale comb
Dot is looking good
Gold has some fluffy feathers and ragged tail feathers
Snowflake has a very ragged tail and some ragged wing feathers
Storm looks pristine
Storm shows off her height

I included this extra photo of Storm because it is only when she stands upright that she shows her true height. The other day she was standing like this alongside Flame and it was funny to see that they were the same height despite being such different sizes.

So the flock are all at different stages of feathering at the moment. I have been picking up loads of feathers from the run each day but today it has slowed down a bit. There will be more to come later in the year as the rest of the girls moult.

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An even hotter day

Today is even hotter than yesterday. London has reached a temperature of just over 40 degrees c/ 105 degrees f which has broken all previous records.

All the girls have been beak panting today. As well as doing all the same things as yesterday I also gave the girls frozen slices of melon. This went down very well.

Some slices of frozen melon for the girls
The melon went down really well
I don’t know why Salmon didn’t join in, she is just beyond the patio area

I am glad that this is the last day of the very high temperatures as I don’t like to see the girls struggling with the heat. I am sure the girls will be glad to get back to normal.

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Coping with the heat

Today we have had a temperature of 37 degrees c/ 100 degrees f. This is exceptionally hot for us. It is forecast the same tomorrow and then it will return to more normal temperatures for us.

The girls were really feeling it today. By the afternoon most of the girls had their wings held out and were beak panting. I dampened down the shaded areas of the run. I changed the water frequently for colder water.

In the afternoon I gave them frozen peas in water to bob for. When they were still panting a bit later I gave them chopped tomatoes straight from the fridge.

All the girls have frozen peas
And cold chopped tomato

Tonight’s temperature is forecast to remain high for one night only so tonight I will prop the chicken shed door open. The run is secure and the chicken shed can’t be seen from outside.

In other news we now have four girls laying. Gold and Sugar both laid three days ago after one week broody and another week’s break. Snowflake also laid that day. Yesterday Gold and Storm laid and today Snowflake, Gold and Storm laid.

I am pleased to say that despite moulting like crazy Flame doesn’t seem as effected by the heat as the rest of the girls. Flame just finds the shadiest spots to sit in with her favourite spot being under the metal table. It is good to see her taking the heat in her stride.

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Flame now has no tail

Flame always moults in the same way. She always loses her tail at about half way through her moult. It completely changes her shape. I always think she looks like a giant quail.

Flame with no tail
Flame from behind
A different shaped Flame
I caught Flame scratching her head

I was trying to capture her current shape and caught her mid scratch. I thought it was such a funny shot of her that I decided to keep it in.

Flame will soon grow her new tail and look pristine again.

In other news a few nights in the broody crate broke Sugar of her broody spell and Gold has been checking out the nest boxes so may start laying again soon.

We have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday forecast to be really hot so I will be giving the girls frozen peas on those days and damping down some of the shady parts of the run.

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The girls have some frozen peas

We are experiencing an unusually hot spell at the moment. Late this morning I saw that Storm had her beak open and was panting. Being black feathered she is more likely suffer from the heat.

I decided it was time for frozen peas. I put some frozen peas in a dish of cold water. The peas soon defrost in the heat but while the girls are fishing for peas they take in the ice cold water as well as the refreshingly cold peas.

This is a great way to cool the girls. Storm in particular really liked the peas as she kept coming back to them. She soon looked cooler too.

Some frozen peas for the girls
This helps to cool them down
They get ice cold water with their peas
These four girls really liked fishing for the peas

Snowflake was missing as she was in the nest box laying her egg but she did have some once she had laid. The three seramas are not so bothered as the heat doesn’t bother them. Because they originate from the hot climate of Malaysia the seramas are unaffected by the heat.

Over the rest of this hot spell I will continue to give the girls frozen peas. Any type of greens are good for them and taking on a bit of extra cold water can only be a good thing in the heat plus they enjoy them so it is a win win all the way.

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Flame has lost her tail

Moulting is now in full swing in the chicken run with Flame dropping the most feathers. As always she has suddenly lost most of her tail feathers.

It has now been three days since the flock stopped having tylan in their water and Flame is looking good in herself. Her eye has remained open and clear and she looks more alert. She is standing up a lot more rather than sitting in the run.

Flame has lost most of her tail feathers
Flame with not much tail but looking good in herself
Flame looking a bit tatty

I don’t want to jinx it but I think we have come through the crisis.

Gold has come out of her broody spell after only a week but Sugar is still going strong. I am going to put her in the broody crate tonight and try to break her out of it.

I don’t want Sugar sat in a nest box all day during our current hot weather. There is no point in letting her do this any longer and the sooner she is back to normal the better.

At the moment the two laying girls have laid so I have closed the nest boxes and blocked the pop hole. At the end of the day I will put her in the broody crate in the shed with mash, water and a perch as usual. I know she will then perch overnight and two or three nights is enough to break her out of it.

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A yogurt treat for the girls

Yesterday was the last day of tylan for the flock. Today I thought I would give them a treat of probiotic yogurt to help restore some of the good bacteria.

I have also put some vitamins in the water. I want to do everything I can to keep them in good health. The vitamins were recommended by Pipenchick, who I got the three newer girls from. They are poultry multi vitamins with B12 vitamin. It is recommended to add them to the water once a week or all the time in times of any sort of stress.

A yogurt treat for the girls
Yogurt beaks
They love a yogurt treat

Flame looks completely back to normal. She is sitting much less and is looking more alert. She is also dropping feathers all over the run and yet so far still looks pristine.

It’s been exactly a week since both Gold and Sugar went broody but Gold is coming out of it already. Yesterday she was out in the run for about half the day. Today I lifted her out of the nest box first thing this morning and so far she has remained out in the run. This is great news if she is only going to stay broody for a short period of time.

I will give it a few more days and then start to break Sugar as I know that left to her own devises she will just go on and on. One of the differences between them is that at the end of the day when I close the nest boxes so that they go in the chicken shed Gold perches but Sugar doesn’t.

I think perching helps but Sugar has always refused to perch when she is broody. No matter how many times I perch her she will just drop back down again so I now don’t bother. Gold perches on her own with no help from me which is great.

We are continuing to get eggs from just two girls, Snowflake and Storm. These two girls are laying well.

I am hoping that there will be no more drama for a while. It is good to see the girls looking happy and well.

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