We now have quite an age range in our flock. Flame is six years old and is showing her age. She is laying an average of three eggs a week and looks amazing but she spends a lot of time sitting. She doesn’t rush to the treats but will have them if she is already nearby.
Spangle and Salmon are four years old and are appearing to feel their age. Our bigger breeds such as Toffee, Emerald and Speckles have reached eight years old which seems to be the average old age for the bigger bantam breeds.
We have never yet had a serama beyond four years old so these two are our eldest yet. I know that Sophie has a serama of six years old but I am wondering if the girls from our breeder are old at four.
I say this because I feel that there is the possibility that we won’t have Spangle and Salmon beyond this summer. I would like to be proved wrong but I am facing up to the possibility.
The reason being that Spangle behaves exactly the same as Flame as if she is an older girl. Spangle spends a lot of time sitting and dozing. She also doesn’t run to the treats but will have them if she is nearby. Spangle hasn’t laid an egg for three weeks and her face and comb are pale.
Salmon looks amazing. She has a lovely red face and comb but she hasn’t started laying this year. Having had problems laying in the past it is easy to think that not laying is a good thing but the fact is that chickens don’t stop laying unless they are elderly or there is something adrift. After the situation with Spot I worry that the same could happen to Salmon.
Salmon is more active than Spangle but she also doesn’t run to the treats and only has them if she is nearby. These are all the things that worry me about Spangle and Salmon and I am prepared that I could lose them at any time and any time they are still with us is a bonus.
Sugar is two years old and is robust and healthy looking. I think that although she is a serial broody like Smoke was she doesn’t lay nearly as many eggs so has a good chance at a longer life. Sugar lays an average of eight eggs then goes broody. She has now been broody for a week. She has improved though in as much as when I lift her out for a break she now always goes for a dust bath whereas she often used to go straight back in.
I am planning to leave Sugar a couple of weeks and then try to break her from her broody spell as I don’t want her to go on and on as she is prone to doing.
Dot is just over a year old. Dot laid an egg on her first full day with us and then didn’t lay for the next five days. I started to worry and kept thinking that surely we couldn’t be that unlucky to have the same thing happen as with Spot. Yesterday she laid an egg and I felt relieved!
Gold, Snowflake and Storm are seven months old. Storm has laid six eggs in a row before taking a day off and laying again. Snowflake is averaging four eggs a week. Gold was averaging five eggs a week but has taken a four day break.
During Gold’s break from laying I have wondered if she was broody. She will spend hours in the nest box but then not lay. She reacts with the angry look of a broody when I check on her but when I lift her out she stays out for the rest of the day. She will then return to the nest box the following day and repeat the process. I think maybe she is just expecting to lay. Snowflake had similar behaviour when she had a short break.
The flock is such a lovely mix of girls and it is so lovely having no aggressive girls in the flock. I am trying to be realistic though and am thinking of Spangle and Salmon as older girls so that it won’t be a shock if we lose them. We will just make the most of them while we have them.