Moulting or Molting, To-mat-oe or To-ma-toe

Moulting Manuella

Hi keepers, it’s that time of year again in New Zealand, the days are getting shorter and the air is growing cooler.  This is the trigger for the girls to start their moulting, the shedding of their feathers.  It looks worse than it is, to the unfamiliar, the hens will just start to drop feathers everywhere, the run can resemble the scene of a large pillow fight, they just get everywhere, the chickens themselves do look as if they have been in a fight,  or gone to a really bad hairdresser.

There’s not alot to done for them during this time, some say to add some nutrients to their water.  The down side to all of this is, they stop laying, all of their energy goes into growing new feathers, on the positve side, I have collected alot of the bigger tail feathers over the years and I am attempting some kind of feather art project.

So if you’re experiencing this for the first time, don’t worry,  it’s normal chicken behaviour.

Back in the Eggs

Well it seems the winter has passed, the daffodils are starting to reach for the sun, and the first one popped it’s face out today, the other sign is,

eggs eggs eggs

 two of the shavers have started laying again. Its been a while since I found a brown egg in the nest box, a good few months. This will be the third summer we have had our hens, I wonder if their prime laying years are already over?. I do remember one of the breeders we obtained our chicks from saying to replace the birds after 2 years if you want to keep a good supply of eggs.

Of course she was looking at it from a commercial point, but you can’t just dispose of pets after 2 years and replace them with younger models,  it was quite difficult to return the two roosters, Dorothy and Maria, (aka Dave and Manuel), and  we’d only had them for a few months, before we realised they were boys, and besides I don’t think anyone else would put up with ‘big fat Renee’s’ constant moaning.

So the eggs are a plenty again after the longest dry period we’ve had since being keepers of the chicken. May your nests be full and your birds be healthy and happy.

Finally Renee Lays

Hi there, we have had a Light Sussex hen now for a good 10 months, we got her as a hen, she was a show bird, and the breeder saad she wasn’t sure if was laying, anyway we took her home, she looked like a good hen. She’s a big girl, and it has taken her a while to be accepted by the flock, however she wasn’t laying, and I mentioned to the other half, how she might be nice for christmas, bit of sage n onion, well funny thing is she starting the very next day, I swear they can understand us, now I just have to get her to stop doing her rooster impression in the mornings and we’ll all be happy.



Big Eggs Have Landed

Hi keepers, our Minorca has been laying now for some four weeks, which is a delight, as the eggs have been the tasiest little white eggs I’ve ever had. It seems though wherever I read about Minorcas, it says that they lay the biggest white eggs of all the mediterranean birds, so I enquired on several sites( listed in blogroll), and everyone assured me they would gradually get bigger, so as I wouldn’t really notice.

Well today Manuella De Minorca layed an egg about 5 sizes up from the previous day, we thought we heard her clucking loudly this morning, and I’m not surprised judging by the size of the egg.  It’s enormous, it’s actually bigger than the shavers eggs, which is some feat, as there’s are usually bigger than you get in the shops, unless you go for Jumbo size. Here’s hoping they taste as good as the small ones.Manuella's first large egg

Is it possible to change egg colour?

Hi there keepers, just a quick post to ask that question really. Can you change, or I should say tint the colour of the eggs, by feeding the hens coloured food? The reason I ask this somewhat strange question is that, I noticed today that manuella’s eggs had a slight pink tinge to them, and it was only two days ago that she stopped eating the party food, which included a cake with very pink (fushia) icing, I’m wondering if this has made her eggs look slightly pink, hardly noticeable really, it was only when I put the eggs in the basket next to the previously layed eggs that I noticed this strange pink tinge.

Has any one had experience of this? or is it some other reason? please let me know via comment here, cheers.

Manuella De Minorca Lays

Manuella first 2 eggsHi there keepers, the day has arrived, well it must have been two days ago now, for I found two little white eggs under the coop this afternoon, while cleaning. Manuella’s first eggs ever, I feel so honoured, however in my haste to retrieve the new little eggs, I forgot to leave one behind, to ensure her that her nest is safe.

At about 2.30 this afternoon I heard a commotion from the garden, apon investigating I found it to be Manuella, clucking near the coop, in her distinctive honking sound, more goose like than chicken if you ask me, I realised what I had done, and tried to replace an egg, but she wouldn’t have it, she tossed it out of the nest twice, so I took it back upstairs, I say nest, but really it’s just mud under the coop, so I furnished her with some straw, and on returning from the supermarket she was busy in there, arranging her new improved straw nest, and a new egg was layed.

They are so neat looking, about 2/3 the size of the shavers eggs, like a boutique egg. We shall have them with breakfast tomorrow. Keeping chickens can be so rewarding.

All’s Quiet On the Western Front.

Hi there, we live in west Auckland,  any one living in these here parts are coloquilly known as Westie’s, nothing like the small terrier with the same name, as the dress code for a ‘Westie’, is black jumper n jeans, with a goatee beard. Any how all is quite of the chicken front really, I’m slowly building the new coop, just returned from Spa n Pool shop , where there was a stack of pallets for removal, the mear mention of free range eggs, and the pallets were mine.

The girls are all pretty much settled, not quite sure where they are all laying at the moment, but once the new coop is complete I can try to rectify that,with built in nest boxes, Nancy is still broody, but has stopped laying again, the chicks are all grown up now, not pullets anymore, but no eggs yet.

Summer is drawing to a close, so the lean months are ahead, as far as eggs go, otherwise nothing else to report, but never fear as soon as there is , you’ll be the first to read about it.

Secret Layers’ Nest Discovered

Well, hello to you all,  she has evaded me now for 8 days, Saturday, no where to go, but sit and watch her til she goes to lay, but i didn’t do that,  i was busy catching 3 other birds in the neighbours garden, chasing them back over the fence, during the comotion, Daisy seized her opportunity to slip off to her secret nest, sure enough by the time i had sorted the other 3 out, she had disappeared.

I walked down to where i last saw her, nothing, but then i stumbled on some branches and nearly fell into a nearby large bizzy lizzy plant, apon doing this a few clucks came from the aforementioned bush, which only 2 days ago i had taken some cuttings from, and there she was sitting in the now not so secret nest, i did my best to pretend i hadn’t seen her, and went about adding to the new coop.

Finally she emerged from the bizzy lizzy to see what i was up to, I gave them a handful of feed, to keep them occupied, and went to investigate,  low and behold, 9 eggs, it felt like christmas had come early. I let out a loud wooping sound, neighbours probably think i’m a bit cookoo. Well excited doesn’t describe it, i rushed 8 of the eggs upstairs, straight into a pan of water, all good. If your wondering why only took 8, I figure if i leave one there, she keep going back to it, and not go off to a new hiding spot, a have made clay eggs for the others nesting spots.

The street did well today for fresh eggs, i give the excess away to the neighbours.

‘Alls well that ends well’ said Shakespeare, i wonder if he kept chickens?