Friday, 31 May 2013

Secret Nests

I had regularly been getting 3 eggs a day, but the other day it was down to only 2 eggs.  I thought this was strange as all the hens are in lay and I had been thinking that our Scots Dumpy Bizzy Lizzy hadn't been laying lately.  So I looked around the garden for a secret nest but couldn't find one anywhere.
Then I found it today!!!

It was beneath the yew hedge near our shed.  There were 5 eggs stashed away there.

But wait til you hear how I found them!
One of our cats, Mr Darcy was sitting snuggled down under the yew hedge, which is a bit unusual for him.  When I walked towards him he walked out and there were the eggs!  He must have been copying the hens and was lying with his tummy on the eggs!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Getting into a routine

I have really been enjoying being a hen owner.  It is so wonderful to sit and watch these sweet and funny creatures explore our garden and make new discoveries.  We are trying to train them to eat out of our hands.  So far the Scots Dumpy has remained aloof, but she does come closer to us now.  

Our two Australorps, Rosie at the back and Matilda in the front

Now that our white hen is laying hard shelled eggs, she wants to get up into the nest box more often and our Scots Dumpy Bizzy Lizzy just won't let her.  She sits at the top of the ramp and blocks the entrance.  Poor Didee has been squawking a lot in protest.
Our Scots Dumpy is a wee besom!

We had also noticed earlier in the week that Didee had a lot of drops of blood on her chest, head and back feathers.  The other three hens were very interested in this and were pecking at her feathers.  We tried to inspect her and the house to see what the cause was and found blood on the bowl that Didee often perches upon as well as some on the perch.  We think she may have caught her foot on one of the hawthorn bush thorns and has been cleaning herself with her foot.  It did rain later that day, so it all washed off her feathers thank goodness.  But a white hen with blood on her is not a good idea - very attractive to the other birds.

This week we have regularly been getting three eggs a day!  It has been just wonderful to have such lovely eggs from our own pets.  The yolks are so bright and orange! 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Eggs, glorious eggs!

Last time I wrote I was secretly putting aside our new hen's eggs, in the hope that someone would go broody.  Sadly nobody has and I would say that by now those lovely little fertile eggs are no longer viable.  What a shame.
But one good thing is that today, for the first time EVER we have finally had one hard shelled egg from every single hen!  We are so thrilled to have four healthy and laying hens!  So I don't mind not getting chicks (for now) because I just love my girls and the wonderful work they do for us.
Bizzy Lizzy our antisocial Scots Dumpy laid her egg on it's own in the second nest box, but the other 3 Australorp eggs are in the left box.  The little white one is from our white hen.

And so to collect these lovely bundles of wonderfulness, I have made a basket.  I bought the little basket bare and saw this sweet hen fabric on the internet and had to make a padded lining out of it.  It even has a matching ribbon!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hopes and sunshine!

Shhh - I had been secretly collecting our two new hen's eggs.  Before we got them they had been with a rooster, so it is very possible that their eggs may be fertile.  Today I am putting them into the nestbox just in case any of our hen sees the collection and they decide to go broody and sit on them!
The sun has shone today!  Oh Yay!! Here is a photo of our hens all enjoying the BIGGEST dandelion weed I have ever seen!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Foiling their plans


Despite the miserable weather we had yesterday, we were given three precious eggs from our four hens.  I think they are from Matilda - top hen, Bizzy Lizzy our Scots Dumpy and ...wait for it.. Didee!  Yay for a hard shell!  I think it is hers because it is much lighter in colour to the ones that Rosie has laid so far, and it had some yellow yolk on the shell.  This could easily be remnants of her last two soft-shelled lays of recent days.  I saw Didee peck at Matilda's egg to unfortunately, and she cracked it slightly.  So shall have to get outside as soon as possible and remove eggs quickly to deter her from the habit of egg eating.
Matilda our Australorp - we love their big black eyes

Night time

The continuing night time saga where the other hens don't let Didee enter the hen house may be coming to it's end.  Last night we confined them to the area beneath their hen house, so they had no other choice but to let her come up into the house - she couldn't find any alternative - up the ramp was the only place for her to go, and up she went!  Mind you, the two new hens still need to be picked up and put onto the perch at night - and Rosie still jumps off once I leave.