I watched Velma laying an egg next to the nest box where Maude is sitting on eggs, and after she'd laid, Maude reached across and gently rolled Velma's fresh egg to her nest and sat back down, and I got a glimpse of how many eggs she's sat on!
Bear in mind Maude is a tiny Lavendar Pekin - she's completely fluffed up to cover all the eggs and keep them warm - I just wish she'd realise they're not going to hatch and come out and have something to eat and drink!
Renee showing off her feathers, she even has lovehearts :)
She's becoming one of my favourites (if I had favourites!! Don't tell the others!) as she's really laid back for a supposedly flighty breed, and her eggs are so amazing... She's also one of the first to have a nosy at what I'm doing when I'm in the coop (just after Ariel!)
I was sure we'd lost another chicken last night :(
Scarlet had just rung on a video chat as I was checking on the hens, so I showed her them all, then realised Maude our little Lavendar Pekin was missing - I found her in the nest box slumped, all mis-shapen and fluffed up, head resting on the ground eye open, breathing slowly... so I instantly feared the worst.
I reached in to mover her, and the little bugger pecked me viciously! (well, as viciously as something that small can anyway).
She was just broody! Thank god... I really thought she was a goner!
After turfing her off (even mealworms wouldn't move her), I rescued the five eggs under her (one of which is a rubber one to show the girls where to lay so she'd have had an even harder time hatching that one).
She's on the nest now - but at least I know she's not half-dead.
Our hens really enjoy working for their treats - here they are emptying two treat balls (poor Mabel and Maude the pekins don't get much of a look-in so we're going to get more for them)
As well as laying her eggs from the highest perch so they smash on the coop floor, she still enjoys running around like a loon...
This one was only a short one as it was getting dark by the time we'd got home and sorted... but Coppice Pond in St Ives estate was looking very pretty (apart from the bits fenced off?!)
When Helen set off for work I found a very wet and bedraggled caterpillar in the road - I got a picture of him here:
I *think* he's a Lunar Y. Underwing (unless you know better!) and I tried to look after him by putting him somewhere safe but I'm not sure if he's escaped in our kitchen somewhere!!!
Will let you know if he turns up.
We're very lucky to live near some beautiful countryside right on our doorstep, and we don't get out and about in it as much as we should...
Here's a couple of pics from our walk.
I gave the girls some bio-yoghurt last night (oh ladi-da, we don't get such niceties!) and the first thing Mrs P did was stick her whole head in it... Several times.
I'm so happy summer is on the way - I get to see the hens on a night!
Hi guys! Exciting news! We're changing format - goodbye chickens and hello bride-to-be hen-parties!
Ok, that's a really crap idea for an April fool's... I can't think of anything better so I'm afraid that's it. ;)
Yep, today it is World Bipolar Day - a day about spreading hope, furthering understanding and squashing stigma.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood episodes - intense depression and, depending on the type of Bipolar, episodes of mania or hypomania.
Mood episodes tend to last weeks, if not months at a time - there's a common misconception where people think someone with Bipolar experiences many extreme shifts in mood a day. This is actually incredibly rare - someone with rapid cycling Bipolar is characterized as having four or more mood episodes in a year.
Bipolar is a lifelong illness and, although it can be treated and symptoms vastly reduced if you are lucky, there is no cure.
People with Bipolar are very misunderstood; there's this thinking that Bipolar is simply feeling 'happy and sad', and so Bipolar is no big deal - EVERYBODY feels happy and sad! People with Bipolar that aren't able to work are labelled as 'lazy' or milking the system - no, we're simply struggling to live and too ill to handle a job.
Comments such as "I'm so Bipolar!" and "Isn't the weather Bipolar today?" only help further stigma, shame and misunderstanding.
Stigma also materialises in the advice given to people wirh Bipolar. Here's just a handful of lovely advice I've heard many times over the last few years:
Finally I leave you with this...it's a selection of physical illnesses / health conditions, with the injured party being given advice that people with mental illnesses are often given :)
I finally got round to adding a page that gives you all the info on the new girls - and how to tell them apart!
It's on the menu at the bottom of the page under "meet the girls".
Renee seems to be ok! She's laying lovely white eggs:
It's actually Mabel that's causing us a bit of concern now - she's been acting a little strangely - going to 'bed' and roosting for several hours during the day and then going to the nest box then coming back out - hopefully it's just "first egg" worries and she'll get the hang of it. She's out and about and eating and drinking now so fingers crossed...
We've had 6 eggs today I think!
We also had Scarlet's Quail eggs for tea the other night - they were really cute - mini fried eggs! In the middle is a hen egg:
Poor Renee gave us a scare last night - she's still with us though :)
At about 4pm yesterday I noticed someone had laid an egg in the dust-bathing pit in the run - this is pretty unusual as hens like to lay their eggs in a nice dark nest so it usually means something like a bad mite infestation (which makes the hens not want to visit the nest box and get bitten)...
But the other hens had laid in the nest box - I rang Helen and asked her to go collect the egg as I didn't want the other hens to peck and eat the egg (this can lead to egg-eating when they realise they are good to eat!)
Helen told me that the egg had a bit of blood on the shell - I wasn't too worried as they are only just starting to lay and things might be a bit of a squeeze whilst they get the hang of it - if there's a lot of blood, or every time an egg is laid it can be a problem though.
I rewound the hencam (what a great feature!) and found out the culprit was... Renee. I think it was only her second egg, so it didn't seem too much of a worry.
However when I went to check on them later that night, I saw Renee roosting and her bottom was a bit messy with a bit of blood and discharge (sorry, readers!) and she strained and a weird white thing appeared, only to disappear shortly after - I realised it was another egg?!
So we sprung into action, ran her a warm bath, and soaked her in it for 15 minutes - she was a bit flighty at first (she is the least human-friendly of our hens typically), but I think eventually she liked it and actually sat with Helen holding her in a towel whilst she blow-dried her with a hairdryer (in the pic above).
I phoned the vet and got an appointment in the nest 25 minutes (honestly, why can't GP's be like this?!) and half an hour later we were explaining things to the vet. She told us as she was a bit flighty she'd take Renee in the back so another nurse could help hold her whilst she examined her, so me and Helen waited in the waiting room for 10 minutes.
She came back holding another bloody egg! She said "I'd like to take credit for this, but in the time it took me to carry her from the examination room to the back room, out it popped on it's own!". She said it might have been the bath that helped it along, or just been taken out into unfamiliar surroundings.
She also said the egg wasn't fully formed - it had a thin papery shell that wasn't shiny which would have made it very hard to pass through - she thought it was because Renee wasn't getting enough calcium. I explained she really did as they had good quality layer's pellets, two different tubs containing different sizes of grit and calcium / oyster shell, and vits + spice + calcium in their food as a supplement too.
I told her that there had been a fox scare a couple of days ago which I know can disrupt egg production, and she said "ahhh! that probably explains it!" - she had also felt for another egg and there wasn't any others at the moment so hopefully it she will get back to normal but for now we'll be keeping a close eye on Renee.
At the moment she's sat on the new high branches (they are a good addition to the coop aren't they?) and preening herself so hopefully she feels ok - I'm hoping she waits a few days before laying another egg just to give her a bit of time to recover...
So, the upshot was, Renee laid the most expensive egg in the world (it cost me over £26!)...
The longer days mean the girls are starting to lay... lots of eggs!
I need to start making more pancakes... :)
Sometimes it seems that we're not just watching hencam, but the girls are watching us too...
I took this pic then saw on the forum that Scarlet had taken one very similar but thought I'd post it anyway just in case you don't check the forum - but you do, don't you? :)
(the two quail eggs are from Scarlet's quail - we're going to be drowining in eggs soon - yay!)
Apparently you should have 1 nest box per 4 laying hens (at least) or else you need to introduce some kind of queueing and ticket system which might not go down too well with the hens. :)
We've 2 big comfy nest boxes in the wagon, and I've never seen both in use at the same time... Until today!
Ariel (on the right), and Maude (on the left)... However it's nice to share isn't it?!
I shake my head.... :D
We have some big news to share :)
Today my parents came up and we collected three new girls with them to add to the coop!
We collected two beautiful big Brahma girls from a chicken rescue centre (the back of someone's house!! They had a fantastic set-up; lots of land for the chucks and the ducks, several roosters and hens of all sizes) and then we went to collect a PILKIE - a Silkie cross Pekin!!
The Pilkie is from a chicken fancier who has some truly amazing set-ups, and we were able to see the week old Silkie chicks she had too - this was perhaps my best day ever, or at least in a long while :)
Currently my dad has the three new girls in the wagon with the other four. Tomorrow we think the plan is to remove Renee (as she is most definitely the one that will attack the new members) and leave the new girls in there. Ariel is the only other hen that should possibly pose a threat, but unlike Renee she is easy to catch so if need be she will be removed too.
Renee will spend a day or two in an XXL dog crate / whelping pen, where she can see all the girls but not interact with them - hopefully when she does go back in she will be so relieved to be back in the flock, and used to seeing the newbies, she won't be as vicious!
So that was our day, how exciting :) Currently we are still choosing names. The Pilkie possibilities are Mrs Pilkington / Pixie The Brahmas don't even have any real ideas yet, although we see potential in Velma, Daphne, Sasha, Jazz Quick pic of the girls together...
The other morning I went to clean the coop and feed/water the hens, and noticed Leslie wasn't out (she's usually one of the first to come and see what treats I have for them) - she was still in the house, dead. :(
I've no idea what it was - I checked the recordings and she was fine the previous day - Scarlet thought it might be Sudden Death Syndrome, maybe something congenital or just that first egg gone wrong...
We'll miss you, Helen took it badly as Leslie was the one that used to sit on her knee for treats and clicker training - we shouldn't really have favourites but she was a gorgeous and impressive hen - I've never known one so big and clumsy but she was also the most gentle hen too!