Autumn and Sugar’s next egg

Autumn laid her second egg two days after her first one. It is slightly bigger in size and she laid it in the same corner of the chicken shed. She is a no nonsense girl with her egg laying. She goes straight in the chicken shed and very quickly settles down and gets her egg laid and quietly comes out again. I expect the egg shout will come in the future.


On the left is Autumn’s egg from today and next to it is her previous egg. Next is Mango’s egg and on the right is Dot’s egg.

Autumn has the most amazing fluffy bottom.

Autumn checks out the nest box before choosing the chicken shed to lay her egg
Autumn has an amazing fluffy bottom

We knew yesterday that Sugar was getting ready for her next egg as she was sitting in the position with humped back and wings down. This morning Sugar was standing with her wings down and once again didn’t come for the sunflower hearts.

Before Autumn went in the chicken shed Sugar settled in a nest box. Autumn was out again in about fifteen minutes having laid. I kept checking on Sugar and she was in the nest box for two hours. A couple of times she was standing in the egg laying position and whistling/wheezing with the effort. She would then sit for a while and then try again.

The next time I checked Sugar was happily scratching in the run so once again I knew she must have got her egg laid. The egg was quite bloody. At first I thought the shell was good but when I turned it over it had one soft patch on it.

Sugar’s next egg
The shell has one soft patch

Again I scrambled the egg and gave it back to the girls. I feel so sorry for Sugar having such a hard time laying. It has been seven days since her last egg though so at least she is getting longer between them.

I will be glad when Sugar has laid her usual six or seven eggs and can take a break again. I hope this spell will be her last for this year. I feel so sad for her but really hope that she will stop laying soon. She bounces back to normal once her egg is laid but it would be so good if her egg laying came to an end.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Autumn lays her first egg

I have wondered recently if Autumn was getting ready to lay. She had taken an interest in the laying girls while in the nest box. She had also taken to scratching in the chicken shed every morning while I was cleaning up.

This afternoon I could hear a girl scratching in the chicken shed and when I investigated Autumn was settled in the corner.

Autumn is settled in a corner of the chicken shed

I checked on Autumn a couple of times and she was still in. When I next checked she was out and there was her egg in the corner of the chicken shed.

Autumn’s first egg
Autumn’s first egg on the left and Mango’s egg on the right

Autumn’s first egg is only a little bigger than Mango’s egg. They usually start off small though and gradually get bigger.

Autumn is six and a half months old and I wasn’t sure if she was going to start laying before spring so this was a lovely surprise. Well done Autumn!

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Sugar lays a soft shelled egg

Sugar usually starts laying again two weeks after I break her from being broody. This time round she hadn’t laid for five weeks. I had really hoped that she was finished laying for this year.

During this break from laying Sugar had looked much better. She had stopped spending half her time sitting on the ground and instead had returned to perching on the branch perch above the ladder. She had looked much perkier and looked better than she had done all year.

Then the day before yesterday Sugar looked uncomfortable again. She was sitting with her back humped and her wings down. We knew she was brewing an egg once more.

Yesterday Sugar was standing in a corner of the run with her wings down. When I threw out the morning sunflower hearts she made no attempt to move. I felt really bad for her and as usual wished she could just stop laying. Once again we felt unsure whether she was going to get her egg laid this time.

A bit later when I checked on Sugar she was settled in a nest box and remained there for hours. Autumn was very interested in Sugar being in the nest box and stood on the ramp watching her. I wasn’t sure if this was a sign Autumn was also getting ready to lay soon or if she was just curious about Sugar being in the nest box for so long.

I took my camera up but by then Autumn had moved back down the ramp. She was joined by Mango and Dot to check on Sugar in the nest box.

Autumn, Mango and Dot had all been watching Sugar in the nest box

All three girls were watching Sugar but when I pointed the camera Mango turned to look at me.

Autumn was very interested in Sugar in the nest box
Autumn also turned to look at me
Sugar in the nest box

While Sugar was in the nest box both Mango and then Dot laid their egg. Every time I checked on Sugar she hadn’t yet laid.

The next time I went up to check Sugar ran down towards me enthusiastically along with the rest of the flock. She looked back to normal so I knew she must have got her egg laid. I checked the nest box and her soft shelled egg was broken in two halves with a broken egg yolk over the pine shavings. I scooped it out along with the messy shavings.

Thank goodness Sugar has once again managed to get her egg laid and bounced back. I hate that Sugar has to go through the discomfort of laying soft shelled eggs. We wish that Sugar could stop laying altogether but unfortunately we can’t make that happen.

We feel lucky to still have Sugar as we thought we may lose her this summer. We just hope that after this spell of laying she will stop laying for the winter. We know that the problem will probably return in the spring but it would be good for Sugar to have the reprieve of a winter without the discomfort of laying. It would be even better if, like Salmon, she didn’t resume laying in the spring. That would be the best possible outcome for Sugar.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Cloud’s turn to moult

Mango recently started laying again after a two month break. During that time Mango had been moulting and after looking very tatty she was then a mass of pins. Now she looks smooth and completely back to her former glory which is why, I think, she has started laying again.

Cloud last laid two and a half weeks ago and now it’s her turn to moult. She too has been very tatty and then a mass of pins. Now the pins on her head and neck have started opening into small spiky looking feathers.

Mango close up
Mango is looking amazing
Cloud is looking shabby

Gold next to Cloud is still looking a little shabby but much better than she was. She is gradually getting back to her former self.

Cloud has new short feathers on her head and neck

As Cloud took a little bit of spinach off of Salmon’s beak it gave me the perfect shot of her neck. Her feathers almost look like fur at the moment.

A tatty looking Cloud
Another shot of Cloud’s spiky head and neck feathers

Dot took a week off of laying and then started laying again. She has been losing feathers especially some long wing feathers but doesn’t really look very different from usual as yet. Her comb is an amazing red crown.

Dot’s amazing comb

The moulting has been sporadic throughout the flock. I have been surprised how much Mango and Cloud have moulted for first year girls. Storm didn’t appear to moult at all last year and this year Storm’s moult seemed more gradual and she had shabby patches rather than all over at once.

Having both Dot and Cloud laying again is a real bonus. The game girls have turned out to be better layers than I expected which has been a lovely surprise.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Another surprise egg laying girl

Dot has now laid her third egg after her break and this time only two days after her last egg.

I recently noticed that Mango’s comb had gone red once more after being paler while she had her partial moult. Then I noticed that she had started squatting when I came up behind her. I wondered if she was getting ready to lay again.

Yesterday Mango was very vocal and I again wondered if she was about to start laying. She then had a twirl round in all three nest boxes and all four corners of the chicken shed. She flicked pine shavings out of each nest box in turn and spent quite a bit of time scratching round in them.

The next time I went up to check on Mango I took my camera with me to see if I could catch her in a nest box. I caught her just as she had laid her egg. She had a pile of pine shavings on her back. What a surprise. I really didn’t expect Mango to start laying again this year. It was exactly two weeks after she last laid.

Mango has just laid her egg
Mango had placed pine shaving on her back
Dot and Mango’s eggs

On the left is a shop bought egg for size comparison. In the middle is Dot’s third egg after her break. On the right is Mango’s egg.

I had assumed that game girls had a short season but it seems that maybe these girls don’t. It is lovely to be getting a few eggs when I thought we were finished for this year. It will be interesting to see how many more we get.

Posted in Chickens | 7 Comments

Autumn’s comb

Autumn is now six months old. She has been very slow to mature. I have just been doing some research and it says that hens that reach a potential laying age in autumn rather than spring or summer tend to mature more slowly. Also as the days are getting shorter that can delay them starting to lay.

It says rather than six months it can be seven, eight or nine months before they start laying. Also if it gets too late in the year they may delay until early spring. I think there is a possibility that Autumn won’t lay until early spring. It doesn’t matter when she starts as they all start laying eventually.

I don’t think Autumn’s comb looks mature. It also has a slightly odd shape. Rather than being flat and straight it has a little flick upwards on the top, pointy part. I don’t know if it will remain like this or if it will change when mature. Only time will tell.

Autumn’s comb from the side
Autumn’s comb from the front
Autumn’s comb from another angle

Autumn’s comb, wattles and face are all a lovely red colour so she looks lovely and healthy. She is a beautiful girl and I don’t mind at all if she takes her time to start laying.

Posted in Chickens | 8 Comments

Unexpected bonus eggs

I thought we were finished with eggs for this year unless Autumn started laying. But Dot has laid two normal sized eggs. The first one was nine days after her tiny egg. The second one was yesterday, four days, after the first one.

Dot’s eggs were just in time for one weekend breakfast after having to buy eggs recently.

Dot’s eggs in the frying pan
Bacon and egg rolls for Saturday breakfast

It was lovely having our own eggs for breakfast. Shop bought eggs have so much white compared to our bantam eggs.

The moulting continues. Cloud is now dropping loads of tiny feathers. Gold looks really scruffy and has pins around her face and on her head.

Mango and Cloud may finally be ready to go in the chicken shed at dusk. A few nights ago Cloud was in and perched when I checked after the pop hole had closed. Mango was very awkwardly perched on the chicken shed roof. She must have felt less secure without Cloud.

I hoped this would mean Cloud would continue to go in and Mango would eventually follow her. However the weather brightened for a few days and Mango and Cloud continued to settle on top of the nest box closest to the chicken shed.

Last night to my surprise Mango had gone in and Cloud was standing on the nest box whimpering. I assume Mango had gone in at the last moment and Cloud hadn’t made it in time because Mango was standing just inside the chicken shed door. It was probably too dark for her to perch.

This gives me hope that as it gets dark earlier and as it gets colder Mango and Cloud may start going in without my help. I have never had girls take this long to start going in on their own before. I am hopeful that they will start to get the hang of it soon though.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments


Moulting is in full swing at the moment. Last year’s two girls Gold and Storm are in full moult. Gold’s explosive tail feathers have returned to normal but now the feathers on her breast and necklace are looking loose.

Storm is looking shabby and she has white patches of pins on her shoulders. Her leg feathers are patchy too.

Cloud is only showing a small amount of feathers dropping pretty much like Storm last year but Mango seems to being having a proper grown up moult.

Sugar and Salmon don’t look any different although I have picked up some feathers from Salmon. Dot is losing a few feathers but not too bad as yet.

Autumn had pins on her head but they seem to have opened up now and she looks really good.

Storm looks really shabby
Storm has pins on her shoulders
Storm’s legs are really patchy
Mango also looks really shabby
Mango is properly moulting
Cloud before laying her egg
Gold and Sugar
Gold has loose breast feathers
Autumn looks amazing

It won’t be long before they all look beautiful again and hopefully go into winter fully feathered.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

Dot lays a tiny egg

At the moment we only have Dot and Cloud laying. They both laid two days ago and they both laid again today. First Cloud laid in the nest box. Then Dot went to her favourite corner of the chicken shed.

When I returned to check Dot was just leaving the chicken shed. At first I thought there wasn’t an egg and then I spotted a tiny egg. Dot has never had any egg laying issues before so I was very surprised at this.

Dot’s tiny egg
Dot’s tiny egg next to her egg laid two days ago
Dot’s last two eggs with Cloud’s egg on the right
Dot’s egg once broken

The egg shell was really hard and it took several hard cracks on the side of the dish to break it. It has a yolk which I think got broken when I was trying to crack the shell.

I asked google why an older hen would lay a tiny egg when she has always laid normally before. It said that it can happen in older hens at the end of the season just before they go into the moult. This is what I had thought it may be.

It will be interesting to see if this is Dot’s last egg for this year or if she lays any more and what they are like. These girls can always throw a surprise at me.

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

Worming time again

Sugar started off this most recent broody spell by not being as committed as usual. But as time went on she gradually became more committed. She would no longer perch in the chicken shed at bedtime and no matter how many times I put her back on the perch she just dropped back down again.

I decided the time had come to put her in the broody crate overnight for a few nights. The odd thing is that she accepts sitting on the perch at night in the crate. It only usually takes a few nights to break her out of it.

This morning when I took Sugar out of the broody crate I saw that there were worms in her poop under the perch. I usually worm the girls in March and September and this was a timely reminder to do it straight away. I usually like to worm after new girls have come in as well so this would be a good time to do them too.

I will as usual put flubenvet in dishes of mash for seven consecutive days as this is the easiest way of doing it. This morning was the first day.

Worming the girls
Dishes of mash with flubenvet
All the girls get a share
And I get some group photos

In other news there is now a lot of moulting going on. There are loads of feathers in the chicken shed in the mornings and in the run during the day. Most of the feathers are from the three game girls with a smaller amount from Autumn too.

I am quite surprised how much Mango and Cloud are moulting as it’s their first year. Storm didn’t moult at all last year although she is this year but not as much as Mango and Cloud at the moment.

It will be good to get the girls through the moult before winter and also good to get them wormed.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments