Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Chicken Diary

Tuesday 19th June 2012
Thinking it was the longest day, Sue got up especially!
Tomorrow darling.
(Yes, that is a dressing gown under the coat.)


In an effort to get to the bottom of what's going on with the eggs, I've decided to be organised and keep a chicken diary. I can't keep an eye on them all day, but I can take note of who's laying and the size, colour and strength of their eggs (if I can pinpoint who laid them.)

Now it may seem like favouritism, but some of our chickens have names and some don't. It tends to be the ones with character that get named. But for me to keep an egg diary, it will be easier if all the hens have names. Cockerel is just called Cocky and any young cockerels won't be named for obvious reasons!
This young Legbar cockerel looks shocked
by that last sentence.

 
Our Indian Game hen will get a name
when she starts laying.
Now there's an incentive!


Anyway, today Elvis was to be found sitting tight on her egg. She lays small, pale eggs. If I let her she would go broody again. Chestnut was also sitting and had a darker, medium-sized speckly egg under her (presumably hers) . This is good news as I've not seen her near the nest boxes for a while now. And the newly named Hazel (the scraggiest brown hen) I think laid an egg too today. Anyway, three intact eggs is an improvement at least.

As you can see in the two piccies above, the teenagers have grown up. The four of them are the friendliest chickens we have, which is a bit of a shame as three of them are cockerels. It may be that two get to live, as we could use them for breeding. So those two Legbar cockerels had better start being nice to me before I choose the lucky one!

When they were let out into the big wide world, the teenagers took readily to the new chicken house, which the established chickens have mostly ignored, but two days ago, following a sinister and heinous crime, they were evicted.

For this was when three baby chicks became two! They're still allowed back in to roost, but during the day they will have to start mixing with the others a bit more if they want to use alternative accommodation.

It's not that I suspect them of the deadly deed, though they are not totally out of the picture, it's just that Chick of Elvis and her two babies need their own pad.

In fact I do have a suspect in mind. For the past few days a dark, shadowy figure has been lurking around the chicken pen. So far I've only seen it taking corn and drink, but it would not be averse to a bit of murder and theft. It evades being photographed and keeps a weary eye.
For crows are clever birds indeed. It is entirely possible they would learn where to find easy pickings and venture inside the chicken houses to plunder a meal.
I've read that a CD hung in the doorway will keep them away. I guess it depends who the artist is?? Maybe something by The Eagles.

If this fails, a couple of the local villages hold scarecrow competitions later in the year. Maybe one of them could be kidnapped and find it's way into my chicken pen.


In a couple of weeks this lot can go out and
Chick of Elvis can move into this coop with her chicks.

Elsewhere in the chicken pen, the two French Black Marans are big enough to go out now, but they seem to like being with the younger chicks. The five Welsummers could go out too, as they've grown at an amazing rate. Two of them were even squaring up to each other today, chests flung out and neck ruffs on full display. But the four Indian Game chicks need to grow a bit more or they won't be safe from the crows or, for that matter, from Gerry who has brought in sizeable young pheasants in the past. It'll be good to let them all out together, then they won't get picked on too much.


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