Snow lays her first egg and other news

Yesterday for the first time Snow went in and out of the nest box/little coup a few times throughout the day. She has gone from being totally quiet to making a twittering sound. I felt she was getting ready to lay. I managed a couple of photos of her on the ramp.

Snow on the ramp yesterday
Snow has a very red face and comb

Today Snow was in and out of the nest box several times. She would then settle on top of the nest box and then in the corner beside the nest box where they settle at bed time. She didn’t seem sure where she should settle but eventually she did choose to sit in the nest box.

Snow in the nest box today

I wasn’t expecting eggs just yet because somehow I thought the girls were about a month younger than they are. I checked the note I had made on my egg records. We got them on the 10th of May. Suzanna had told me that Red was 14 weeks and Snow was 18 weeks. This means Red is now 20 weeks (5 months) and Snow 24 weeks (6 months) so that is about right for Snow to start laying.

A little later I checked again and Snow was out. There in the nest box was her first little egg. It had the usual little blood streak on it.

Snow’s egg on the left, Cloud’s egg in the middle and Gold’s egg on the right

Well done Snow! What a clever girl to lay her first egg in the right place.

Cloud has come back into lay after a 2 week break and has laid 3 eggs so far. I have no idea why but she has taken to laying her eggs in the corner between the new girl’s part of the run and the chickens’ patio. She had been putting bits of shavings on her back.

Cloud’s new spot for laying her egg

I could tell that Sugar was getting ready to lay again today. She has had a two week break which is the usual and was quite vocal and going in and out of the nest box. I kept checking on Sugar and after about an hour she marched out of the nest box and went straight to the water.

I checked the nest box and there was another tiny egg. As we have known for a long time things are not quite right with Sugar but as long as she keeps getting her eggs laid that is a good thing.

Sugar’s egg today
With a pound coin for size comparison
The egg seems to be mostly yolk
I tipped it into a white dish and the yolk (if it is yolk) is very pale and there is a weird red spot in the centre

Sugar seems fine after laying it apart from her usual sitting on the ground a lot.

Mango has started molting after her last broody spell. I have been finding her feathers in the shed and run and when I pick her up I can feel her pins.

Mango is molting
Mango’s fluffy under feathers

It was Mango’s first year last year (along with Cloud and Autumn) so this is her first molt. I don’t know if she will molt and then come back into lay or if this will be the end of her laying this year. It seems rather early to be molting. We will just have to wait and see.

Storm has also just gone broody after laying 9 eggs in 2 weeks. Luckily now that Snow has started laying we should get eggs from her regularly and possible through the winter. Red should start lying in a months time and also may lay through the winter but as Autumn stopped laying on 1st February you just never know with these girls.

I really need to get the new girls integrated now. Sugar is no longer hormonal and has gone back to taking no notice of the new girls. But Dot has now taken to chasing Red. Dot has moved up from the bottom of the pecking order to near the top and she has grown in confidence and wants to make sure the new girls are below her.

The problem is that Red is really timid and nervy. Dot chases Red and Red not only runs but she panics and tries to get back into her space. If I close it off she jumps at the wire or hatch and if I leave it open she stays in the corner behind the nest box.

I can’t bear to see Red so anxious and end up letting her back into their part of the run again. Recent integrations have been so easy but Red is much more skittish than any of our recent girls. I know that we have to move past this but I still feel we don’t need to rush it.

Now that Snow is laying I am going to do a half and half mix of growers and layers pellets for a couple of weeks as suggested by the breeder’s partner who delivered the girls.

I will use these two weeks to try to mix the girls a bit more and I hope that as Red matures she will grow in confidence. They always get mixed in the end so I don’t mind going a bit slower than usual.

Edit – The next day

Sugar laid again and this time her egg was her usual size. Snow also laid again and this time no blood streak and the egg was slightly longer and narrower than the day before. Well done girls!

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7 Responses to Snow lays her first egg and other news

  1. DAVID says:

    Brilliant news, Carol; great to have another layer. Strange that Autumn has not laid for so long – hope she’s not emulating Topaz! Red will probably always be on the nervy side, but she will integrate eventually. My only remaining silkie, Blackie, nearly 9, has become really skittish and I find I end up feeding her by herself – as soon as any other bird comes near, she skedaddles – and at speed. That said, she is healthy, although hasn’t laid for 2 years. You’re so right about the lower-ranking girls throwing their weight around when new birds are introduced – Dot is doing what we so often see. May your eggs be plentiful and, hopefully, Sugar will produce normal eggs from now on in – until her next broody spell.

    • Carol says:

      It is good to have another layer as eggs are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. I think you are right and Red will always be nervy. I too have fed girls separately in the past to give them a boost. Hopefully sugar’s next egg will be normal and as you say soon after that she will go broody again.

      • Carol says:

        David, just in case you don’t see my edit but check the comments – Sugar laid a normal sized egg the next day and Snow also laid again this time with no blood streak and slightly longer and narrower than her first one.

  2. marionparo says:

    Good news another layer. She looks very cosy in the nest box.

    • Carol says:

      When she couldn’t decide where to lay I deepened the pine shavings and I also thought she looked really cozy there. Today she went straight to the nest box so I think she has already got the hang of that. Great to have another layer as the rest of the girls keep starting and stopping.

  3. DAVID says:

    So pleased about Sugar – same pattern as last time, if I remember rightly.

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