Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Lydia updates - Week 1 (merged)

These were originally separate posts, one for each day.
TUESDAY 29th April
Update Tuesday, 10am
7.20am Opened the pop hole to let them out, Lydia reluctant to come out. When she did, she couldn't walk properly, and sat in the Run. I was very distressed and considered calling the Vet to end it now, but I realise that I need to give the penicillin a chance to work. She isn't hunched up like she's suffering, she's just sitting.

Brought her into the house and offered her mixed corn, yoghurt, water. She had some yoghurt. Gave her her penicillin stuffed into two quarter grapes. Put her back in the Run while I went out to get some Growers rations.

Made some porridge out of Growers Pellets and hot water. Got Lydia from the Run, offered her Growers Pellets in one bowl, Pellet Mash in another. She declined both, but ate a bit more Yoghurt. She then just flumped onto the kitchen floor.

I sat down beside her, whilst talking to DH about whether to put her back in the Run, or put her in a box in the kitchen. As she wasn't eating at all, I thought I might put her back in the Run for a while, then get her out again in an hour or so to see if she wanted to eat.

Then she started eating the porridge. She ate and ate and ate. Have decided it's best to put her in a box in the kitchen for now, so she can flump in peace but have the food and water within reach. (If I put her in the Run and put food and water next to her, the other Girls would eat it all).

She's currently sitting quietly, dozing on and off, and eating a bit more every five minutes or so.

Update Tuesday 4:05pm Very up and down today. Sometimes she looks better, other times she looks no better.

At about 09.30 I syringed some water into her beak, and she drank quite a bit. At about 12.00, she did a really runny poo in her crate, and then wanted to get out (can't say I blame her, I would too if I'd done something that revolting in my bed!). She hobbled about the kitchen and did another really runny poo. She didn't want to eat anything, she didn't want to get back in the crate (despite my having removed the offending poo), so I put her back out in the Run. She flew up on to one of the perches and sat there. An hour later, she was back on the Run floor, sitting in one spot.

At 2.30 I brought her into the kitchen to try her with some more food and water. She didn't want to be in the crate, she wasn't interested in the food or water. I gave her her afternoon dose of penicillin, hidden in 2 grape quarters, and put her back in the Run with the others.

At 2.45 I went into the garden, and she came running up to the Run door.

At 3.15 I took some (growers)pellet porridge into the Run. She wasn't interested, but the other two were. I left the bowl on the floor and - I'll cut a long story short here - two other bowls of porridge. She ate a little bit, from a bowl on her own and from the other two bowls. Then she left the other two to it.

At 4pm she was back roosting on the perch..

At 4.05pm she was back sitting on the Run floor.

We're going to weigh her at 7.30pm (same time as last night) to see if there is any difference. If necessary, we'll put her inside the coop for the night so she doesn't have to try and negotiate the ramp.

I might update later if there's anything else worth reporting.

WEDNESDAY 30th April

7.15am Hesitant to come out of the coop, but did in the end. Brought her in to give her some porridge. Not very interested, picked at it a bit. Put her in the Crate with a bowl of pellet porridge and a bowl of water. Eyes bright, looking around. Pecked a bt at the floor of crate so I scattered large handful of pellets for her. Ate some. Did a poo, firm - normal. Gave her penicillin in 2 quarter grapes. Took her back out to the run at 8.00.

9.00 Sitting under coop with the others, out of the rain. Also walking around slowly. Not eating.

12.00 She's wandering around looking fairly normal. Put three bowls of pellet porridge in the run so they can all have some. She ate loads. Now roosting on the perch with the other two beside her

12.30 Gave them some sweetcorn and mixed corn, she made sure she had her share. Also hung up some spinach for them to eat when they've finished their corn, and she was first at it.

16.00 Penicillin. She looks "ok" - not well, but more like she did on,say, Saturday.

17.05 She's helping herself to pellets from the Grub in the Run. Gave more porridge, ate lots.

19.00 Brought her in and weighed her. She's lost 5g. At least the weightloss has slowed. She's very alert and not interested in eating.

07.15 Very reluctant to come out of the coop, but did come down the ramp slowly. Brought her in, she was busy strutting round the kitchen. She ate a little porridge, had her penicillin, then I put her back in the Run while I got ready

08.30 Got her out of the run, offered her porridge, pellets and water. She ate a little porridge but not a lot. Pooed on the kitchen floor (thank goodness I have a Karndean floor, I wonder if they could use this in their advertising?). Popped her in her chicken carrier, along with a chunk of cabbage and took her to the Vets.

10.30 Back from the Vet. Vet very pleased with her progress. She's not out of the woods, but she is definitely better. Have to halve the penicillin dose now, and continue until the course is completed. The testing time will be once the penicillin is finished, as she may go back downhill at that point. Unlikely to get any eggs from her this year, but that doesn't matter.

15.45 Went out with pellet porridge after lunch. Later, about 2pm, I took out some cat food which I put on top of the remaining porridge. Just got back in from scattering a handful of corn on the Run floor: they've completely eaten ALL the porridge and ALL the catfood. Vet phoned back to confirm that adding Avipro to the rations is a good move, so I'll do that when I offer Lydia her porridge this evening.

18.00 SHe's helping herself to the feeders in the Run.

19.15 Gave her penicillin and some Avipro. Then gave them all some penne... they all ran around trying to steal from each other; she managed 2 pieces to the others 1 each.

10.00 Brought her in the house after opening up the coop, and offered her porridge, pellets and water. She wasn't really interested in eating, prefering to walk slowly round the kitchen. Chicken walking is often like one of those wind up toys, this was the same but in slow motion.

The Cats were not impressed. Isabelle refused to eat her breakfast and shot out the back door. Washburn was too busy staring to be able to eat.

Eventually I got her to eat a few beakfuls, and she did drink the water which was laced with Avipro. I also gave her four quarter grapes: one had the penicillin in, the other three had been rolled in Avipro. She didn't want to be carried, so I walked her down the path back to the Run.

At about 8.30 I took out three bowls of porridge, and shared out a sachet of cat food between them. All girls happily guzzled. I'm not looking forward to cleaning out the poo trays for the next few days, as I'm expecting the meat (and lack of bokashi bran) will make their poo pungent.

SHe's now just sitting on the perch. I wanted to let them out but its raining now. Maybe if it clears up later I'll let them have a quick range.

14.30 Took some mixed corn out after lunch and scattered it in the Run. She was quite active in rooking around for her share. One minute she looks absolutely fine, then a minute later she's sitting quietly and looking under the weather. Scarlett laid a soft shelled egg today. I wonder if that's because she's had too much Growers feed and not enough Layers. I'll have to go back to taking Lydia out of the Run and trying to feed her separately, just in case.

16.00 Penicillin and porridge, in the kitchen. Also cat food.

19.30 Well, she's been in for more food. This time she picked out the cat food and dropped it on the kitchen floor. (Isabelle was most happy to eat it up, less keen on the pellet porridge). Weighed her. No weightloss, let's hope it's stopped.

Not so good today. Brought her in first thing and gave her porridge and penicillin in the kitchen. When sh had had enough she tootled off towards the Run, so I walked with her and (obviously as she can't do it herself) let her back into the Run.

Later, DH got her back in and fed her. She ate quite well. Afterwards she let herself out of the kitchen, and he let her in the Run. She's been sitting around a lot today, much more than yesterday. We've decided to increase the penicillin to 1 and a half tablets a day. Brought her back in early afternoon for some more penicillin, and a bit later I went and gave everyone treats and a cuddle.

About 2.30 they were all having a dust bathe, although Lydia was mainly sitting rather than actively showering. DH mowed the grass, so I let them out to free range at about 3.30. She's been rootling about, but has also been sitting a bit - not as much as this morning.

Right now I am less confident than I was yesterday. Still. We'll see.

19.30 she's lost weight again. but she did eat very vigorously after we weighed her (we weigh before feeding at about 7.20pm).

Sorry this has become purely a Lydia diary.

One of the girls was sqwarking her head off in the closed coop this morning, so I got up to see if there was a problem or an egg. Nothing. Let them out. Lydia was more reluctant than she has been at all to come out. I opened the coop roof to lift her out, but she didn't want to be picked up.

She ate a smidgeon from the Run feeders, then sat on the run floor. At 7, I brought her in and tried to get her to eat. She ate a tiny bit, not a lot. I gave her her penicillin, waited and tried again. A little, not a lot. Not inerested in the cat food. Took a little water. In the end I put her back in the Run. We'll try again later.

20.20 Had her in a few times today, she ate a bit. Also let her out free ranging with the others. She ate some roast potato. Brought her in at 7.35. She's lost another 12g. SHe ate some porridge, but not very henthusiastically. I then opened a bag of chick crumbs and she's eaten some of those. it took ages. DH was feeding her for over half an hour.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Sick chick

Back from the Vet. Poor Lydia is a sick little chicken.

She's not broody, she's not egg bound, she's very unwell. Vet ruled out a number of things (worms, impacted/sour crop, etc etc). There are a number of causes for the symptoms she has, and it's impossible to tell exactly what it is yet.

She's on penicillin for the next 7 days (assuming, of course.....),I've got to weigh her every day to see whether she's losing weight, change immediately to Growers rations rather than Layers rations, and tkae her back to the Vet on Thursday morning for a review.

The good news is that she isn't in any pain or discomfort. Obviously if she had been, I'd have asked him to put her to sleep there and then.

Escape artists

I have some temporary fencing which I use to fence an area of garden so the hens can have a bit of a range. They love getting under shrubs, rooking around in the beds, and generally decimating whatever is growing. This means the fencing plans get a bit elaborate, as I try to enable them to have a variety of ground but to keep some of the plants I love protected.

It takes me ages to get the fencing up, as it's not always possible to stake the fence where I want to. There is all sorts of rubbish buried in our garden. Anyway. I usually let the hens out to wander round the garden while I do the fencing. There's little chance of a fox attack while Im wandering around, and it gives the Girls longer outside. When I finally have the area staked out I (a) pick the girls up and put them in it, (b) herd them in it or (c) bribe them with corn, depending on how easy the access is for both them and me.

Today took ages as DH specifially asked me NOT to let them on the path until the grass has grown a bit between the blocks, plus I wanted them to be within sight of the kitchen window so I could keep a watch on foxes, and (c) there was half a bed I didn't want them to go in.

Once it was finished I came in, was chatting on the phone to a friend, mentioning that I could see the hens eating my herbs. Minutes after my phone call was finished, out of the corner of my eye I spotted them on the other side of the garden! Rushed out, searched for breach, fixed it, shepherded the Girls back in.

Came in, and by the time I got to the window, they were out again. I have no idea where the breach was this time, but I've moved the fence again just in case. I can't be cross with them though, it's quite funny. If it wasn't for the fox, I wouldn't fence them in at all - I'd just fence off the areas I don't want them to get to.

Egg bound, broody, or...?

Still no egg from Lydia, and her behaviour is odd.

She's lying down a lot, and not really eating very much - although she's still happy to guzzle treats. She's not pancaking herself like she did when she was broody, and she doesn't make that tell-tale clicking sound that broodies do when you approach them. Maybe she's just on her way to getting broody again?

On the Practical Poultry forym there was a tip about putting an egg in front of a suspected broody. If she's broody, she'll grab the egg and roll it under herself. So I tried a few times yesterday, but everytime I got close, Lydia jumped up and looked for treats. I tried puttin gthe egg near her, and all she did was peck it, which brought the other two running over and they wanted to peck it too. I obvisouly don't want them to learn how tasty eggs are, so I had to remove it.

This morning, DH decided to have a go, taking a china egg with him. He stood still in the run waiting for Lydia to settle back down again, but she didn't. The ginger cat was interested that dad was in the run, and he decided to help by climbing up the run and on to the roof. And then walking along the roof and slipping.

Long story short, DH gave up.

I've decided a Vet Visit is necessary. She might be going broody. She might be egg bound. She might have something else. But she isn't really herself.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Chicken Hairdresser

From being broody, I think Lydia has gone to being Egg bound.

No eggs for four days and, although still bright and alert, she's not her normal self. Read up on broody hens, cleared my kitchen, and got started.

First, I gave her a warm bath. The idea is that the warmth helps the muscles in her oviduct relax. She didn't seem to mind being wet, I'd given her a bowl of leftover mashed potato to peck at to keep her occupied.

Then, I had to steam her vent. I didn't feel confident holding her over a saucepan of boiling water, as I'd have to hold her quite high up to make suure the steam got to her vent but wasn't too hot. So I poured some boiling water into a tub and used that.

Much later, I had a very wet chicken, and I needed to get her dry. I do own a hairdryer, although it's never been used. I bought one some years ago in case of emergency. ANyway, I found it, and I started to blow dry Lydia.

She didn't seem to mind. Then she decided to go for a walk and jumped back into the sink which, of course, was still full of water.

When I got her out she decided she wanted to roost on my hand. It wasn't painful, but it did mean that both my hands were occupied. One was underneath her, with three fingers providing a roost, and the other was on her back, gently making sure she didn't start flapping her wings. DH was called in to be the Coiffeur.

She really liked this, and she actually dozed off at one point. (DId you know that chicken eyelids are upside down? They close from the bottom up, not the top down?). All was going well until our ginger cat came in with a mouse.

DH had to abandon the hairdrying to rescue the mouse, so I had to wake Lydia up and get her off my hand onto the towel. And then I finished off the drying.

She looks really lovely and fluffy now.

But still no egg this morning.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Snap out of it

Well, we put the broody cage inside our Run. We opened the nestbox door on the Cube, and Lydia was straight in there, pancaking. So, I gently lifted her out and put her in the broody cage (now known as "the Cooler"), along with some food and water.

I then went to visit our lovely next door neighbours to warn them that they might be hearing a bit of chicken noise over the next couple of days, and explained what we were doing and why. I didn't want them hearing a racket at night (and early in the morning), and then thinking we were being cruel to the birds.

I wasn't sure I could go through with leaving her in it overnight, but I needed to cool her down, so we did. It was in a sheltered corner of the Run, so she shoudl be OK. Nonetheless, I dreamt of cold chickens all night. 6.30am and there was a lot of bokking from Lydia, so I looked out to make sure she wasn't warning of a fox.

When I went to let the other two out, Lydia looked fine and had laid an egg. Eggcelent sign, as broodies don't lay. I brought the egg in, and pondered what to do. In the end I decided I'd risk letting her out, but leaving the broody cage in the Run, "Just In Case".

Monday, 21 April 2008

Turning Broody

Lydia is turning broody.

She spent ages in the nest box yesterday, and later she made a nest in the dustbath. We're finding fluffy feathers everywhere.

As we don't have a cockerel, our eggs are only eggs - they won't turn into chicks. A broody hen in these circumstances is a problem both to herself and to the other chickens. Broody hens often don't eat or drink properly so become susceptible to illness, and they hog the nestbox causes problems for the other Girls.

I read up on what to do to help her snap out of it, and have decided to start with a broody pen. This is a cage which is elevated from the ground, and it has a wire mesh bottom. This means that the air will circulate around her, cooling her down, and this should bring her back. There are more extreme sounding measures, but we'll start with the broody pen and see what happens.

I was going to get a dog crate, as they seem to be a good size, they collapse for storage, and are easy to obtain. DH offered to build me one though, so he's doing that now.

In the meantime, she keeps sneakily finding somewhere to nest. Then she flattens herself like a feathery pancake, and sits there. I have to keep lifting her away from her "nest".

She's obviously only going broody rather than actually being broody, as she abandoned her nest when I went in the run with some mixed corn.

We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The Dust Flies!

I topped up the dust bath today - equal quantities of Wood Ash, Playpit sand, Compost, plus a handful of Aubiose - and the Girls were straight in there.

They were in the bath for ages.

The dust was flying everywhere, and at one point they were all lying in there with their eyes shut, and one of them started chicken purring. It was so weird! If you've seen Jurassic Park, you may remember the noise the Raptors made: that's my Girls!

Monday, 14 April 2008


Some weeks ago the Girls had to have antibiotics, and we were told we would not be able to eat the eggs for six weeks. At first, I just put the eggs straight in the bin each day. Then a week ago, I put them in a bowl to weigh them later. Then the next day's went in the bowl, and so on.

Today DH asked me what I was intending to do with the growing pile of eggs in the bowl; I guess he was worried that they would go off and bevery smelly when I finally did try and get rid of them. So, this evening, I disposed of them. It's such a shame. All those potential poached eggs, custards and ice creams.

Never mind, only a couple more weeks to go.

Cat and Chicken, cheek to cheek

The cats' interest in the chooks has not waned. Both cats still sit - or hide - and watch the cickens intently as they go about their daily business.

This morning I was brushing the roosting bars and emptying the poo trays, so I had the back of the Cube off. The Girls were busy free ranging around my feet. Washburn came and sat on the back of the Cube, and my DH came out to talk to me. We didn't tell Wash to get off, as Cats can be like children. If they think they are doing something naughty they'll just wait til you aren't around to do it again.

So I continued doing my stuff, whilst keeping an eye on the cat. I turned round to take the poo tray to the compost bin, and Washburn decided to get into the Cube. I carried on, and Wash decided to walk through the Cube into the main Run. Hmm.

By now I had put the roosting bars back, and Delilah decided to come and investigate. She flew into the back of the Cube, and then marched down the ladder. Lydia did the same. Scarlett entered the Run through the run door.

By this time, Wash had made himself at home on one of the perches. Scarlett started bokking very loudly when she saw him, and Delilah marched into the Run, and jumped up on the same perch as Washburn. And they just sat there, next to each other. Cheek to cheek. I wish I had my camera handy, but obviously I couldn't risk leaving them to go and get it.

By this time, my DH was ready at one end of the Run, and I was ready at the other. We didn't barge in, as both animals seemed quite relaxed. And that was it. They sat there next to each other for a couple of minutes, then Delilah jumped off the perch and Wash just sat up.

I went in and stroked the cat, and DH called him, and he got up, jumped off the perch and went to my DH who opened the door to let him out.

I always find these situations a little tense, and I have to squash my natural reaction which is to go and shoo the Cats away. I really want them to get used to each other, and the best way (imho) is to lt let them do it in their own time, but to be around to jump in if there is serious trouble.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Path to perfection

The path's been laid now, just need to bed it in properly. The Girls are Not Allowed On It Yet, as they'll just end up rooking all the soil/sand out from the joints.

I've had to start fencing off areas now as they do love to scratch, and they chomp through plants like there is no tomorrow.


The grass between the back door and the chicken run is now virtually non existent, and the resulting track gets very muddy with a little rain. So, a proper path was required.

Three weeks ago we ordered the paving, which was finally delivered yesterday. DH set about laying it immediately.

All was going relatively well, then this morning our garden decided to throw up one of its surprises. We've done a lot of digging in this garden, and are always amazed at what the previous occupants have buried. We've uncovered bike wheels, a bike frame, and handlebards (in varying part of the garden), pram wheels, the bonnet of a small car, some bits of a landrover....

Today we think we discovered a pram or a pushchair. DH spent a long time trying to get it out, but we could see that it was going to tear up alarge tract of garden either side of the path. Unusually, we went for the quick and dirty solution: DH used an angle grinder to cut off what we needed to cut off to get the path laid.

I can't understand why the previous occupants buried so much scrap. I mean, how is it easier to bury that stuff than to take it to a tip or something?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


DH not impressed today when the Girls managed to escape from their netted area and made their way to the kitchen door. My fault for not doing the netting up properly.

Also not too happy that they managed to massacre some plants while free ranging today. I'm not surprised - he'd been quite forgiving when they shredded the bulbs in one bed last week, and when they pooed all over the grass.

He was really unhappy when I decided to give up with the fencing and let them free range completely (having fenced off the veggie bed to protect it), so I moved all the fencing yet again to fence off an area for them to enjoy.

Later, they learned that if they jumped on the garden chair they could hop over the fence quite easily, and were at the back door again.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Escape artist

For the last few days I've been using temporary netting (specially designed for chickens) to create a free range area between the chicken run and the house. I don't wanst to let the chickens roam completely free as (a) we have fox problems and (b) the chickens have already wrecked a flower bed and I can't risk them wrecking the veggie beds.

Anyway. Because it's been very cold I haven't wanted to stand outside while they range, so this temporary run seems ideal. The back door is open so I can keep an eye on them, and the fox would have to come right into the middle of the garden to get to the girls.

Wash has managed to get under the netting several times, and I keep finding him either in the Run or in the actual Coop. He can usually get himself out again though. Isabelle crawls under the netting and then gets stuck inside the area and cannot get out.

The Girls have been mostly OK, except for a couple of things. Lydia keeps trying to walk through one of the holes in the netting, but fortunately she's too big. Scarlett managed to get herself stuck completely, which was not funny.

And then today, Lydia managed to get over the netting and into the garden. Now, these chooks can't really fly, but they can sort of jump and flap their wings. Lydia tried to jump on top of one of the netting poles, she used her wings to prevent her from falling backwards and then she sort of threw herself forwards on to the other side.

She was very pleased with herself, and bokked all round the garden before I could catch her.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Woke up to snow. Well settled on the ground, and thick snowflakes coming down. Pellet porridge for the Girls' breakfast today!

Took the porridge out in three bowls, then let the Girls out. We didn't have the normal morning rush though. They did eat the porridge, but they refused to eat from separate bowls. Instead, they had to fight to eat from the same bowl, finishing it before moving on to fight over the next.

A few minutes later I arrived with their Swingball, which they ate eagerly.

A little while later I loooked out of my toasty warm kitchen, to see that the Girls were just standing around. So, out again, this time with a handful of corn to sprinkle on theRun floor, and their (afternoon) cabbage.

It's a bit dark in the Run as the roof is covered in snow.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Softee puzzle

I clean out the poo trays on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus once over the weekend. I take off the back of the Cube, scrape down the roosting bars and remove them, then slide the poo trays out and tip the contents into the compost bin. Fresh newspaper lining, fresh Aubiose, put everything back. It only takes a couple of minutes to do.

Monday morning I'd completed it by 10am. Today I went out at 10.30 to do it, and found FOUR softees in there. I'm a bit shocked, and very confused.

You see, Scarlett laid her first egg, a proper one, on Monday - in the Run. She laid another one yesterday, again in the Run. Lydia laid her first egg, a proper one, in the Nestbox yesterday. Delilah has been laying every day in the Nestbox. And here's the thing. The softees were very small, and were obviously from Lydia and/or Scarlett. But that means they've laid seven eggs in 48 hours. I don't understand.

Maybe they can lay multiple softees in the run up to producing a real one?

Oh, and thank goodness I knew that hens do lay softees, otherwised I'd be at the Vets now panicking about my poor chickens. Softees really are the wierdest thing.

One good thing though. Although the softees were broken, it didn't look as though they'd been eaten. Once a hen gets a taste for egg, she starts attacking eggs to eat them.

Anyway, I'll have to check the poo trays every day for a while just in case.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Full House

Well, the question of was it Lydia or was it Scarlett has been answered.

I just popped out into the Run to give them their afternoon treats, and there was an egg on the Run floor.

I know that Lydia laid in the Nestbox, so the floor layer must be Scarlett. This means that all three have laid today. Lydia, who looks like the biggest hen (she isn't, it's all fluff), laid the teeniest egg.

Here they are from Left to Right: Delilah, Scarlett, Lydia, 20p.

Panic stations!

For a couple of days, Lydia (Buff Sussex) had been popping into the nest box and out again. I was quite excited, becasue I thought it might be that she was going to lay an egg. Yesterday, I opened the egg port and found Lydia in the nest, ATTACKING the china egg.

I was very worried. Hens do sometimes eat eggs, and if they eat one they get a taste for it and it is ahorrible habit that is very difficult to break.

Today I was in bed and heard a terrible commotion. I leapt out of bed, and saw from my bedroom window that Delilah was just being very vocal in announcing "Lo, I have laid an Egge, and it is the mst wondrous thing I have done". After showering and getting dressed, I came downstairs to make up their Swingball, and I noticed that Lydia was not in the Run.

Fearing that she might be destroying Delilah's egg, I rushed out and opened the egg port, to find Lydia sitting there calmly. She was on top of Delilah's egg, but not doing it any harm. As I came back inside, I had this horrible feeling that she might be going broody.

I waited for 45 minutes to see if she came out (Delilah takes 30 minutes, maybe she likes to read the paper while she's waiting?). Nothing. Out there again, this time I decided to rescue Delilah's egg from underneath her. She looked a put out, but carried on sitting.

But she hasn't laid. Is it possible? I posted a question on the Omlet forum. Some time after my posting, Lydia appeared in the Run. Again, I ran down the garden (we must put some paving down, there's now just a muddy track where once there had been grass). And there, in the nest, was a tiny egg.

A tiny egg, the same size as the one I found in the run a couple of days ago. Does this mean that Lydia has been laying, and Scarlett has not?

I can't believe such a large hen can produce such a small egg. But it's beautiful. Just like her.