Dot’s first egg of the year

For a while I have thought that Dot would be the next girl to lay. After being silent all winter she has become vocal again with her lovely sing song voice and her comb has grown in size and turned red. When her comb is like this it reminds me of a crown.

Dot started checking out the nest boxes this morning but we had to go out and I was certain that she would lay her first egg of the year while we were out. Sure enough on our return there was an egg in the nest box by the chicken gate. It’s unmistakably Dot’s egg as it is a larger size and has a beige tint. As I missed a photo of Dot in the nest box I took one of her magnificent comb instead.

Dot’s beautiful comb
Dot’s egg on the left, Gold’s egg in the middle and Storm’s egg on the right
And the same order in the egg stand
Dot’s egg on the left and a shop bought egg on the right for size comparison

I think that now we have three girls laying I won’t be needing to buy eggs for a while. We didn’t get Dot until towards the end of May last year so this year we will get a better idea how well she lays. She has got off to a good start by starting as early as February. Well done Dot!

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Diamond has her beak trimmed for the second time

We trimmed Diamond’s beak in December. It has grown back really quickly and we think we will have to trim it every couple of months. I had hoped it would go longer than that but it is easy to do so I suppose we and Diamond will just have to get used to it.

Dot and Diamond always sit together
Diamond’s beak has grown again

I took these photos in January and already Diamond’s beak had grown but I felt she could go longer before having a trim. Dot and Diamond are always found sitting together whether here in the sun or on the rungs of the ladder when there is no sun. It is funny how Diamond who is top girl and Dot who is bottom girl have formed an alliance together. It is heart warming to see their togetherness.

Diamond’s beak in February before trimming
Diamond’s beak, from her left side, after trimming
And from Diamond’s right side

I didn’t want to take too much off and just did one snip of the transparent part that you can see in the close up photo of her. This is the part that overhangs.

When I gave out the sunflower hearts before bedtime Diamond was picking them up much more efficiently. This is a good test of how much easier it is for her when her beak is shorter. I think every two months will be fine for doing this job and will enable her to eat easily.

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Storm lays her first egg of the year

Today I was surprised that storm laid her first egg of the year. I was surprised because last year she only laid in May, June and July. As the breeder had said that her breed isn’t a very good layer I assumed that she had a short season.

Snowflake and Gold started laying at the end of March last year at about five months old. Storm started laying at about seven months old. I now wonder if she doesn’t have such a short season but was just a late starter. My seramas have often started laying quite late and I think that perhaps it’s the smaller breeds that start late.

If Storm continues to lay until the end of July like last year that will give her a six month season which I don’t consider poor at all. Some of the other girls lay for nine months but I would consider six months fair especially as Storm was a good layer while she was laying last year.

Storm had been looking in each nest box this morning and scratching the shavings out. After lunch she was missing and I checked the nest boxes. Just like Gold she was in the nest box by the gate and also like Gold by the time I returned with my camera she was already in the laying position. What are the chances that this happened again exactly the same as with Gold!

Storm is in the laying position
Storm has just laid her egg

For Storm’s first egg of the year I thought her egg was bigger than I remember them from last year.

Storm’s egg on the left, gold’s egg in the middle and a shop bought egg on the right for comparison
And the same order again in the egg stand

Well done Storm! I am very proud of her. I wonder who will be next. I think it may be Dot as her comb is red and she is a bit more vocal. It is lovely to be getting some eggs again.

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Gold lays her first egg of the year

Gold has a habit of trying to join me as soon as I open the chicken gate. I pick her up and put her back inside the gate. For the last week she has been squatting every time I do this. I wondered if she was getting ready to lay but thought it was a bit early in the year.

Gold has a lovely red comb and has become a bit more vocal too. This morning Gold went into each nest box in turn and scratched out some shavings. I have recently cleaned out the nest boxes and put in fresh shavings ready for spring egg laying to begin so I thought that may be attracting Gold to them.

This afternoon Gold was missing so I checked the nest boxes and sure enough she was settled in the nest box by the gate. I came back in for my camera but by the time I got back out to the chicken run she was already laying her egg.

Gold is laying her egg
Gold has just laid her egg
Gold’s first egg of the year on the right next to a medium shop bought egg for comparison

It is amazing how often I catch the girls actually laying. Her egg is long and slim. The girls usually start laying mid February to March so I wasn’t expecting eggs just yet. Gold is a first year girl so that may be why the early start. She stopped laying at the end of August when she had a partial moult.

Snowflake has also become more vocal and has a red comb but she continued to lay until the end of November when she had a partial moult. It will be interesting to see if Snowflake starts laying soon too.

Storm only has a three month laying season which is May, June and July so I don’t expect her to start any time soon. Diamond is still dropping feathers every day so I am not expecting her to start yet either. It’s a good job she is a very fluffy girl.

Sugar usually starts laying half way through March. Salmon didn’t lay at all last year so I think she may be finished and Spangle only laid four eggs so she too might be finished. We only got Dot in May so I don’t know how early in the year she will start.

It is interesting to see when the girls start laying again and it was quite a surprise to see Gold lay today. Well done Gold!

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I love the togetherness of our flock. Despite being all different breeds, apart from the three seramas, the flock are always together in every thing they do.

I took most of these photos while I was collecting the portraits for my last post. The exception is the dust bathing ones which I took yesterday.

The girls amongst the spinach
Gathering at the food and water
Sharing the same food bowl
And sharing again
Gathering around the shelter
Dust bathing together
Communal dust bathing

The girls are never far apart from each other and it’s lovely to see the way they interact together. I just love this flock!

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I thought it would be good to do some up to date portraits. Most of the girls have their pale winter combs. Slow moulting has been going on for ages.

Dot seems to have been dropping feathers for a very long time. She has recently been dropping tail feathers but her comb has started to get a little pink. Snowflake has also been dropping tail feathers. She has gone from looking as she was through the moult to now having some tatty tail feathers.

Sugar has been dropping small feathers for a while and Diamond has been dropping fluffy white feathers for ages but never looks any different and has kept her red comb.

Snowflake remains the most nervous of our girls and doesn’t like the camera so is the most difficult to photograph. Gold, Storm and Diamond are the easiest to photo as they are happy to have the camera in front of them.

Gold is the easiest of all and in fact made it more difficult to get photos of the other girls as she constantly photo bombs. She was so close to the camera, as she takes an interest in anything in my hands, that I had photos of her face, eyes, beak, so close that it was ridiculous. Gold also has a very red face and comb.

I decided to pick two photos of each girl to give the essence of them at the moment. I will do this again when they have started laying and have their red combs.

I am putting the photos in age order.

Salmon – five years old
Spangle – five years old
Sugar – two and a half years old
Dot – two years old
Gold – one year old
Storm – one year old
Snowflake – one year old
Diamond – one year old

Although we got Diamond later in the year than Gold, Storm and Snowflake, she was older when we got her. This puts them at a similar age.

Salmon and Spangle are the oldest seramas we have had so far. I am hoping that as they are probably done with egg laying they will remain healthy.

With the rest of the girls being younger I am really hoping that the current flock will be long lived. It would be so lovely if we could keep this flock as it is.

It will be interesting to see how well Diamond lays and what size her eggs are. She is the only girl yet to start laying.

I am looking forward to the start of egg laying, probably around March, but you never know they could surprise me with an earlier start.

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Happy New Year

I gave the girls a yogurt treat for New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve yogurt treat for the girls

I would like to wish all my readers, their families and their girls a Happy New Year. I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2023.

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Happy Christmas

As usual I gave the girls a Christmas Day, fish, treat.

A Christmas Day treat for the girls
One dish seems more popular than the others
The girls are loving their Christmas treat

I would like to wish all my readers, their families and their girls, a very Happy Christmas and New Year. I would also like to thank you for continuing to read here and leave comments for me which I really appreciate. I hope everyone has a lovely day today. xx

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A yogurt treat for the girls

After two weeks of freezing there was finally an overnight thaw for us and the snow has gone. I thought the girls deserved a treat. Their patio area is mucky after the thaw but I didn’t want to add more wet to it.

I usually let it dry so that I can sweep it but may have to mop it tomorrow. I will make a judgement tomorrow but for now I am leaving it as the girls will only walk more muck on to it.

A yogurt treat for the girls
Dot has a yogurt beak
The girls love a yogurt treat

We are now forecast a lot of rain but I am just grateful the freeze is over for now and I am sure the girls are too.

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Trimming Diamond’s beak

Today we trimmed Diamond’s beak. I had been dreading doing this but it turned out to be easy. Diamond had been struggling to pick up the sunflower hearts. She would drop about two thirds and pick up a third. I decided that we really needed to get to grips with this.

I chopped some tomato as a reward for afterwards and chose our biggest nail clippers and an emery board. I picked Diamond up and put her in my husband’s arms to hold firmly.

I then held her beak still with my left hand and snipped a little at a time with my right hand. It was as easy as cutting nails. I then smoothed with the emery board but it didn’t much as it was a straight cut. It was just to make sure there were no snags. I then set her down and tipped the tomato on to the patio area.

At first Diamond seemed to have just as much difficulty picking up the tomato as before but I think that was because she needed to adjust to the different shape of her beak. I then sprinkled some sun flower hearts in the run and Diamond picked them up much more easily. She then had some water and was soon hoovering up the rest of the chopped tomato.

I then put a dish of mash on the patio and Diamond started eating it straight away. I was so pleased to see her eating easily.

Diamond’s beak before trimming
Diamond’s beak after trimming
Diamond’s beak from the right side
Diamond’s beak from the left side
Diamond’s beak straight on
Diamond eating mash

I am so glad this is done and that it was easy so that I won’t worry about having to do it again in future if needs be. I hope this will make it much easier for Diamond to eat.

Our special needs chicken has recovered from gape worm, has got used to her specially modified perch and now has had her beak trimmed. While looking after Diamond’s needs I have grown very fond of her.

Diamond has such a lovely nature and seems to take everything in her stride. We sometimes affectionately call her “big bird”. Despite being the biggest girl and top girl Diamond is never aggressive. I only know she is top girl because none of the girls ever give her the, pecking order, peck. Diamond never harasses any of the girls.

Diamond is a lovely girl and I hope that she will soon be feeling more comfortable as she gets used to her changed beak shape.

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