Lots of broody girls

As I suspected in my last post, Gold was about to go broody. Gold had laid nine eggs in twelve days. We had one day of five girls laying before Gold went broody. As usual Gold wasn’t committed and after a couple of days of me lifting her out of the nest box each time I went in she gave up.

Gold has had a break of five days and usually has a break of seven days so I am expecting her to start laying again in a couple of days time.

A few days later Storm, Mango and Cloud all went broody together. This has left us with only Dot laying at the moment. Thank goodness Dot never goes broody.

Storm has laid seventeen eggs in twenty seven days. Mango has laid nineteen eggs in thirty three days. But here’s the thing, Cloud has only laid four eggs in six days. It feels like Cloud is just broody because Mango is.

From the minute Mango started sitting in the nest box all puffed up Cloud was right next her and they have been inseparable ever since. I lift them both out and they both go to food or water or a dust bath together and they return to the nest box together.

Storm sits in the chicken shed and returns there after I lift her out for a break. I can’t quite believe that all three game girls are broody at the same time.

Two broodies together
Later in the day after I had lifted them out for a break
Storm is also broody

Yesterday Dot was the only girl to lay. This morning I closed all the nest boxes and blocked the pop hole to the chicken shed. As Dot laid yesterday afternoon I knew no girl would need to lay and it would be best to try and break the game girls out of this before Gold starts laying again and the nest boxes would be needed.

Storm is a bit more determined than usual because whereas she would usually perch at bedtime she was sitting in the corner of the chicken shed last night. I lifted her to the perch and she stayed there.

The sooner I can break the girls out of this the better or the abundance of eggs we were getting will slow right down. The game girls usually take a two week break so it shouldn’t be long until we are getting plenty of eggs again.

It’s just unfortunate that they all went broody together but hopefully it won’t last long.

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Cloud is back in lay

Cloud started laying a couple of days ago after a two week break. Today she laid again and we had our second, five egg day, this year. Five out of seven girls laying is something that has only happened for short periods of time before one of the girls goes broody again.

A five egg day

From largest to smallest and from left to right we have Dot’s egg, Gold’s egg, Cloud’s egg, Mango’s egg and Storm’s egg.

I don’t think we will have five girls laying for very long as I think Gold is going to go broody again soon. She is still laying and in fact for the first time a few days ago she laid four days in a row. But she is spending longer and longer in the nest box and returning to the nest box after laying. I take her out and close her favourite nest box and she stays out but it’s a sign that she will probably go broody soon.

We will make the most of the abundance of eggs while it lasts.

An abundance of eggs

It’s the first time this year that we have filled all three egg rollers. I took my mum six eggs a while ago and am visiting again soon and will be taking twelve eggs. It’s so nice to be able to share them.

Well done girls!

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Laying eggs together

Dot and Gold looked so cute in the favourite nest box together. They were sitting side by side. I went indoors for my camera and when I returned Mango and Cloud were looking in on them. These two are so nosy.

By the time I lifted the lid of the nest box for a photograph Dot and Gold had moved apart as they had both just laid their eggs. They are so in sync.

Mango and Cloud keep an eye on Dot and Gold
Dot and Gold have just laid their eggs together

It’s so sweet when the girls lay their eggs together.

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First slow worm of the year

Today I had my first sighting of a slow worm this year. It was sunning itself across the path. After I photographed it I measured the width of the path. It’s twenty two inches across so I estimate the slow worm was twenty inches long.

Slow worm on the path
Close up of the slow worm

We see them every year from April onwards. We have seen tiny baby ones and some much fatter than this one. This one was long and thin and had few markings so I wonder if it’s one of last year’s babies. We love to see them in the garden.

In chicken news Gold came back into lay after one weeks break so we are back to four girls laying. At least Gold comes back into lay quickly.

Most of the girls are now laying two days in a row then miss a day then two days in a row. This means we are now getting plenty of eggs which is lovely.

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Cloud is broody

We seem destined to have a broody girl. Gold gave up being broody after a couple of days in time for Cloud to go broody. Cloud has laid eleven eggs in twenty five days. So we are now down to three girls laying.

Cloud fluffs her feathers out when I take her from the nest box.

Cloud in the nest box
When I lift her from the nest box Cloud stays where I put her until I move her on
Cloud then fluffs her feathers out
She then jumps to the log and fluffs her feathers out

I will keep taking her out of the nest box and hopefully she will soon come out it.

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Gold is broody again!

I can’t believe that Gold has gone broody again so quickly. She has laid seven eggs in ten days before going broody. That equals Sugar’s record in the past. We have only had five days of five out of seven laying before it’s dropped back to four.

The difference with Gold though is that last time she came out of it after three days and started laying again a week later so I am hoping it will be as quick this time.

Last time I closed her favourite nest box and that was enough to keep her out in the run. This time she was in a different nest box when I next checked on her.

I decided to take a photo of Gold in the nest box because a post without photos is a bit dull. When I lightly stroked her back instead of raising her tail up she flattened herself down. When I lifted her from the nest box I could see why. She was sitting on Dot’s egg.

I always swear these broody girls have a sixth sense that tells them when an egg has been laid. My husband says he reckons they can smell an egg.

Gold flattening herself over Dot’s egg

Oh well, it’s all part of spring behaviour I guess. We are happy with any eggs we get.

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Storm is back in lay

Storm laid today after a two week break. She really made a meal of it. It was so odd because when she started laying, this year in February, she just went straight in a nest box each time and settled down until she got her egg laid.

Today it was as if she had forgotten where to lay or no where was good enough. She was being very vocal and going in and out of each nest box. She would then run to the shelter and dig in the corner. Then she would go to each corner of the chicken shed.

This went on for ages. At one point I checked on her and she was settled in the corner of the shelter. I took a photo then she moved back to the nest boxes. She settled in a nest box for a while and then went back in the shed. Finally she laid her egg in the chicken shed.

Storm looked in every nest box
And she was very vocal
Storm settled in the shelter for a while
Then she settled in a nest box before finally laying her egg in the chicken shed

Phew! I hope she doesn’t do this every time. She did this sometimes last year and Dot can be like this too.

So we now have five out of seven girls laying with only Sugar and Autumn not laying and we have plenty of eggs.

Sugar has now gone past the time that she started laying last year so I am hoping that perhaps she won’t lay.

We have realised that her behaviour has become dependant on the weather to a certain extent. On windy or wet days Sugar spends all day sitting in the shelter only coming out for treats, food, water or dust baths.

But on sunny days Sugar is out in the run much more and is more active. I am therefore hoping that she may be out in the run more once we get into the summer. She is also quite zippy to the treats but I notice that she eats much slower than the other girls. She can’t compete with them so I try to give her some treats away from the rest of the girls if I can.

Sugar is definitely not quite right but hasn’t got any worse so as long as she has quality of life we will leave her as she is and wait to see what happens next.

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Mango in the nest box

Mango has now laid four eggs, laying every other day, since she started laying. Today I photographed her in the nest box before she laid her egg. I like to photograph each girl in the nest box when they start laying. Not important but just a lovely thing to see I always think.

Mango in the nest box showing her right side
And her left side

And a few minutes later she had got her egg laid. Well done Mango!

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Worming the girls and Gold is back in lay

I worm the girls in March and September and suddenly realised there was only a week left of March so I decided to start today. As usual I put the powder in dishes of mash for seven consecutive days.

Worming the girls

Both Gold and Storm have been very vocal for the last few days and I guessed they were getting ready to lay again. I wondered which girl would be first. Then this morning Gold went in all three nest boxes before settling in her favourite one by the gate.

When I next checked on her Dot was watching over her just as she laid her egg.

Gold lays her egg while Dot watches over her

Gold has only taken an eight day break before laying again. That makes four girls laying and hopefully it will be five soon.

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Mango’s first egg of the year

This morning Mango was being very vocal and I felt sure she was about to lay her first egg of the year. We had to go out for a few hours so I didn’t get a photo of Mango in the nest box. But when we returned there were two eggs in the nest box by the gate.

Only Dot and Cloud have been laying so I knew this was Mango’s egg. It is smaller than Cloud’s egg.

Cloud’s egg on the left and Mango’s first egg of the year on the right
Cloud’s egg on the left and Mango’s egg on the right of the egg stand

The egg stand shows the difference in size better. Cloud and Mango are the same size and yet Cloud’s eggs are longer in shape than both Mango and Storm’s eggs. Mango has laid her first egg of the year a week after Cloud started laying.

So for now we are back to three girls laying. Well done Mango!

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