Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Three eggs in one day

On Saturday I was away most of the day, and returned home to find THREE eggs in the nest box!! One was definitely Speckeldy's, and I think one was Ginger's, but of the other two I have no idea who it was. They are still a little bit subdued, but I think the worming medicine has helped a bit. I have just got the various powders and potions from the Domestic Fowl Trust, so I will try and give them a dusting this evening, and also put some in their dust bath. The first four egg day will definitely be one for celebration!

Friday, 24 August 2007

A visit from Mr Fox

We were woken this morning at about 5.45 to the sound of squawks coming from the chickens. As the weather is nice at the moment, I've been leaving their pophole open so they can enjoy the early morning, but this morning the fox came to visit. He was sitting on top of the run part of their house, and the chickens clearly do not like this! We chased him off, but Speckeldy Selina was now into squawking mode, which was rather embarassing, as at least one of neighbours had their downstairs lights on(!). Woops. We stayed in the garden with them for a while, till they calmed down, and Graham did some very early morning weeding. It reminded me of that episode of The Good Life when Margot and Jerry shout at Tom and Barbara for the noise they are making. They were revving the rotary cultivator though, not just a few chicken squawks.

I think I am going to have to shut them in overnight - it's not really fair to wake the whole street up at 5.45. And the mornings will be getting darker soon anyway.

I've also wormed them all - I got some Flubenvet from The Domestic Fowl Trust, where Speckeldy Selina and Ginger came from. The instructions said to add 120g of powder to 100kg of food. So last night I was painstakingly weighing out 2.5g to put into 2kg of food, using a Calpol medicine spoon! I hope this might perk up Honey and Dopey. I've also ordered some delousing powder and red mite powder, to put into their dustbath. Ginger and Speckeldy are laying pretty well now, but I'd like to get back up to full capacity!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Just a few pictures

I thought it was time for a few new pictures - in order, these are Speckeldy Selina foraging, a "mothers' meeting" of chickens(!), Honey looking beautiful and Ginger caught in the flash!

Still no eggs from Honey and Dopey - I'm almost convinced they're moulting - they are looking a bit bedraggled round the necks.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Ginger the hen breaks her duck!

This morning I let the hens out, and was surprised to see Ginger squatting down when I stroked her. This was a clear sign she was about to start laying, and her comb suddenly looked redder. This afternoon, sure enough, was Ginger's first egg. Speckeldy Selina is laying beautiful eggs very regularly.

Honey and Dopey have both not only stopped laying, but have stopped squatting down when I stroke them. I wonder if they are going to have a moult, as it is that time of year, and the days have been very dark and wet this year - very little in the way of sun. Hopefully they will pick up again soon.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Speckeldy lays, as Honey and Dopey go on strike!

As I thought in the last post, Speckeldy Selina is definitely laying! Her eggs are a beautiful brown chestnut colour, as she is a Maran cross. But almost as soon as she started laying, Honey and Dopey have stopped! They are not ill, full of life, eating, drinking. But no eggs! It is a mystery!

I've switched them all on to layers mash feed as they seem to prefer it to the pellets. They also like grass when free ranging, and a variety of different insects that they can catch. Their favourite food is still either corn or cat food when they get it (it is an occasional treat, unless I really can't get them to go back in their run, in which case it is a sure fire solution!!!).

Monday, 6 August 2007

Speckeldy getting ready to lay?

All four chickens escaped today, led by the ringleader Ginger, who leaped out of the nestbox when I went to collect the eggs. They are not too hard to catch now - Dopey and Honey have always been easy, and I noticed today that Speckeldy Selina has started squatting down in the same way as Dopey and Honey do when I stroke them - I suspect she is about to lay! Her comb and wattles have gone really red as well, so I hope we may get some dark brown eggs in the next few days. Ginger is still showing no signs of laying, but I have read that Black Rocks are late starters, so maybe she will take another week or so.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

A Settled Flock

The hens have all settled down together very happily now. No pecking or bullying at all. They are still very much in two groups of two - Speckeldy Selina and Ginger stick together, as do Honey and Dopey, but they will often curl up all together in their dust bath. Honey and Dopey are very easy to pick up, and don't seem to mind being stroked by the children, and I imagine Speckeldy and Ginger will become easier once they have started to lay - Honey and Dopey seem to squat down when we approach, whereas the other two flap off!

They really enjoy coming out into the garden - I wish it was safe to let them out all day, but the foxes are so confident round here that they would not last a day. And it does mean our garden stays relatively chicken poo free!!!

Honey and Dopey are both laying regularly now - we usually have 2 egg days, with about a third being 1 egg days. Only 1 day with no eggs at all since they arrived. We are certainly enjoying them!