Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Chicken antics

As rain was forecast today I thought I'd let Stella and Doris have a run around on the grass while it was still sunny this morning.

Stella is still the tamest chicken we have ever had. She doesn't mind getting so close she touches me and is happy to walk over me if I'm in her way. She also doesn't mind me touching her and stroking her, so is very easy to pick up.  Doris is still very nervous of us, but I'm hoping if I spend enough time with her she will get used to us, as Meg has done. We couldn't pick Meg up to begin with but it's much easier now.

After a while Doris went upstairs to the nest box. It looked like we'd have a third egg. When she came down a bit later there was no sign of an egg. She probably decided she didn't want to miss any fun. However, Stella hopped into the run as she came down, so I shut them both in.

As she had already laid her egg, I thought I'd let Meg have some time on the grass too, but not long after I had put her in the pen she flew over the fence and onto the top of the rockery, without even jumping up onto the top of the run first.  Perhaps she didn't like being on her own, or maybe was afraid of the two in the new ark after the way they treated her when she was on the grass with them yesterday evening. They jumped on her and pecked her back a few times, although never for long as we separated them as soon as we noticed.

Frodo had distracted me, by looking like she had plans to fly out of her pen. Just before I took this photo she had been flapping her wings a lot. On reflection, I think this may have been her asserting herself as top chicken.

So I picked Meg up and took her back to her home with the two older chickens. We want to integrate them all eventually, but are going slowly so the two youngest don't get stressed.

Today was our best day in a long time for eggs. Meg and Frodo both laid eggs. Meg laid 10 eggs in a row and then had a well-earned rest yesterday. Frodo lays for a few days and them might have a few days off, although I think it was only one day after laying for five days this time. Both laid bigger than usual eggs for themselves. Meg's was 70g, her more recent eggs having weighed 60g and Frodo's was 90g, where last week her eggs were 80g.

Doris also laid another egg in the nest box, which we believe is her fourth. It's quite a dark one compared to the other's and very slightly speckled. Hers was 60g whereas Meg's fourth egg only weighed 50g, but I think Doris is going to be bigger than Stella or Meg.

A Speckeldy seems to be the same cross as a Blue Belle, but with the opposite parents. In other words the Cucou Maran is the mother in one hybrid and the father in the other. I presume the other parent is a Rhodes Island Red, but I'm not sure.

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I look forward to reading your comments, it's always good to hear encouraging words or relevant hints and tips.