Sunday, 30 August 2009

Chick Pics - 23 days old

The Chicks are now 23 days old.

They are out in the Eglu and run all day, and back in their brooder at night. During the day, I keep a heated Snugglesafe pad in the next box, so they can snuggle up with it if they need to.

It rained heavily a couple of days ago, so I covered the Eglu run to protect the chicks. They aren't really old enough to deal with "rain" yet.

The development continues, and new feathering is appearing all the time. The Sassos are much more feathered than the Ixworths, so we need to be careful to make sure we aren't progressing things just to suit the Sassos.

They adore courgette. They ignored corn on the cob, but this morning one of them must have tried it again and discovered that "mmmm, tastes gooooooood", as they were all fighting over it when I looked out of the window.

I've been out snapping pics...

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Judge Dredd and Chicky Adolescence

A couple of the Sassos are starting to look like Judge Dredd. Their shoulder feathers are now really sticking out in a Judge Dredd epaulette sort of way.

The most developed Sasso has also started to get breast feathers.

Weather today is chilly with showers, so I've left them in the Brooder so far. Every time I pop in to see them they rush to be picked up. Not because they particularly want to be picked up per se, but because they have learned that being picked up = going outside to grass.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Dust bathing chicks

One of the Sassos seemed to be having a fit.

As usual (well, for the last 3 days) the Chicks were brought out of the Brooder early in the day to spend the day (or until the weather changes) in the Eglu and Run. They are obviously keen to do this, they are very happy to be picked up out of the brooder each morning.

I watched them out of the kitchen window, and I saw one of the chicks had hisher legs in the air. I went out, concerned that I was to be confronted with a Dead Chick.

But no. By the time I got out there, s/he was on hisher side, and was obviously attempting to dustbathe in the grass.

I went upstairs to rummage in the spare room for a small, shallow, box, and I found one. Added compost and some sand, and put it in the run. The Chicks seized upon it! No dustbathing, but lots of rooking and chicken-Salsa. Trouble was, it was only big enough for 4 chicks to rook, and they were taking it in turns to not be in it. All my other boxes were too deep.

Then I saw a seed tray. That's now in there, and there is plenty of room for all.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Isabelle's new sunbed

Izzy's attempts at getting closer to the chicks whilst pretending not to, took an interesting turn today...

Meet Rita the Meter

We had Rita the Meter installed on Thursday.

We've been considering changing to a water meter for...more years than I care to remember. In theory, we should save money, as the rule of thumb says that if you have less people than bedrooms, you'll be better off. But that rule wasn't designed for people who have very productive gardens.

We have been doing a lot to minimise our water useage - fitting doodahs in the cisterns (with mixed success as I'm sure one toilet doesn't flush properly now); catching the water that we have coming out of the tap while waiting for the hot water to come through, and using it to water the plants; bought an energy/water efficient washing machine, that sort of thing.

Our next door neigbour had a meter installed last year. The bills have been slow to arrive, but she has saved a lot of money. So, we decided to take the plunge. We have 18 months to decide whether to keep Rita or to send her packing, and I wanted to try and include 2 summers in that so we could see what difference the garden makes.

It was relatively easy to sign up to have a meter fitted, but a bit of a faff with the contractors. It took longer than promised to get it installed. In the intervening period we've been practising being even more water miserly. We've fitted one of those water restricting shower heads, which has dramatically reduced the water used in our shower. It took a while to get used to, but now its fine. I do find I spend longer in the shower though - not because I need to, more because I can.

The plumber took quite a long time to fit Rita, which surprised me as she's about the size of a baked bean can and is installed under the sink (we have a shared supply). There isn't a huge amount of room under there. It's a wide enough cupboard, but we have the water softener under there, plus the pipework for 2 sinks, a three-way tap, and a separate hose spray. And a water filter cartridge. And then of course there is The Stuff. You know. Washing up liquid. Cream Cleaner. Dishwasher tablets. Dishwasher Cleaner. White vinegar solution., bin bags... The stuff we use all the time. And the stuff we use occasionally: stailnless steel polish, baby oil, Milton, stove cleaner, bicarbonate of Soda, wasp killer, ant killer, bleach, disinfectant, baby bio, stickystuff remover. It all had to come out.

Eventually the plumber emerged from the darkest recesses of the cupboard and said he'd found it. He had spent 20 minutes trying to fix a leak, which turned out not to be a leakm but to be a split pipe. I apologised for having crap pipework, but it wasn't our pipework, it was his.

Having had Rita installed, I phoned the water company to find out what the cost of water was going to be. I had sort of expected it to be on the literature the plumber provided, but it wasn't. It works out at £1.40 per cubic metre. Our water nill for this year was £310, which means that if we use less than (310/1.40) 221 cubic metres a year. we'll be ahead.

We need to get in the habit of checking Rita before and after a Washing Machine cycle, a dishwasher cycle, etc so we know how much they are costing us.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Chick chaos

The chicks are growing rapidly, and are getting extremely adventurous. A couple of days ago, we had to change from transporting them between brooder and Eglu in a small Trug, to using a very big Trug.

Today, even that isn't big enough!

The weather was supposed to rain, but mid morning it was still dry. We decided to put the chicks out for a bit, and I put a Snugglepad in the run as well, just in case they found it cold (apart from amnything else, if I saw them snuggling, I'd know it was too cold for them).

Isabelle tried to disguise herself as a chair, watching the chicks from the gap at the bottom...

Here she is from the other side

Today, I tried them on peas. They had one pea (specifically un petits pois) each. There was a lot of running around with said pea in beak, but not much eating going on. However, when I checke later there was no evidence of pea in the run.

I've ordered some chick sized grit today from It'll be here tomorrow, and it's necessary as we're starting to give them stuff other than the chick crumb.

The feather growth continues, with much bigger feathers appearing on the shoulderblades.

At about 2pm I was getting ready to take my DgS (who has been staying for a few days) back home, and I needed to get the chicks back into the Brooder.

Sasso 1 came and jumped on my hand. I put him/her in the larger trug, and tried to persuade the others to come along as well. S/he decided it didn't want to be in the trug, and jumped up and on to the side, wobbled a bit, then leapt back into the Eglu run.

So. I knelt down, put my arms in the Eglu run and manged to catch one chick, trug himher, then catch a second. The two in the trug began to cheep. The three in the run cheeped louder. I laid down on the grass, scooshed up, and caught number 3. I had to get in further to get number 4. I had to get almost right in the run, which is not easy when you are a woman of a certain age and ample bosom.

Number 5 managed to run past me and out of the run door. Cursing, I had to wriggle and wiggle myself out of the run. By this time, Chick 5 was running around the Eglu cheeping wildly. I gave chase, hoping that I got to himher before the cats did.

S/he stopped for breath, and for an extra pitiful cheep, and I scooped himher up. I then had a bucketful of chicks, all trying to get out.

By the way, I forgot to mention that the Broody Dorking has accepted the other eggs and is still broody. Fingers crossed she doesn't get bored.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Chicks, Day 11/12

Gorgeous day today, so this afternoon we popped the Chicks in the Eglu & run on that square of garden we call a "lawn" outside the kitchen window. They seemed to be having a great time, so we left them there all afternoon. They had a shade over part of the run, so they were neither cold nor hot.

The shoulder feathers are significantly more pronounced than they were yesterday. They are also bigger, but we need to weigh them again to confirm this. We started adding Lifeguard Tonic to their water yesterday as well.

Isabelle is fascinated by the chicks. I'm sure she thinks we are very kind, bringing her some chicken nuggets.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

More Eggs

Did I mention that one of the Dorkings has gone broody?

Did I say that we'd ordered some Silver Dorking fertile eggs to put under her?

Well, they arrived today (I can highly recommend this ebay seller We've disinfected them and they are waiting, pointy end down, for us to put them under the broody Dorking.

We've also got the incubator ready; we'll put her current eggs in the Incy, and possibly also a couple of the new ones as well.

Watch this space!

Monday, 17 August 2009

First outing

We built the Eglu yesterday evening, just putting one lengthe of run on. The door was attached with cable ties, which worked well.

This afternoon we put the chicks in the Eglu, and waited. Half an hour later, a head appeared. Eventually, after much squwarking and discussion between them, two chicks popped out. To our surprise, it was the Ixworthsl maybe they drew the short straw.

After a few minutes, all five were out, and then they were having a whale of a time, trying grass, running around with their wings outstretched etc etc etc.

The cats were very interested.

Baby combs

Boldest Chick (Sasso 3 or 4) loves to come out of the brooder pen. Put your hand in, and s/he comes running over to step on it to be lifted out.

This morning I noticed that s/he's going a little bald on the shoulders. Presumably getting ready for the feathers to grow. His/her comb has also started to grow, a row of tiny orange beads on the top of the head.

Today s/he stood on my shoulder, Long John Silver/Captain Flint style, and I carried him outside to see the World. The Big Girls were fascinated.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Chick Peas

My Garden Girls love peas. Whenever I cook some for me, I put extra in for them. I've even given up salting my peas so that the Girls can have them.

This afternoon I was giving the Garden Girls some petits pois, and I decided to see whether the chicks would like some. Up until now all the Chicks have had is their specialist chick feed, so I wasn't sure what they would do when faced with Something New.

I dropped a couple of petits pois in their pen, and then I nearly wet myself laughing.

One of the Ixworths grapped a pea and ran around and around and around the inner ring, chirping loudly. Everyone else gave chase. They all ignored the other peas, all they were interested in was the Pea in this one chick's beak. Eventutally, exhausted, the chick dropped the Pea and one of the others picked it up. Another chick then stole it out of the second chick's beak.

A fourth chick then discovered another pea and tried it. And spat it out in disgust. At that point my sides were hurting so I left them to it.

I'll go back later and see whether any of the Peas have actually been eaten.

DH has come in and said that all the peas have gone.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Chicks move house, part 2 (with pics)

So, we released the chicks into their new home. Understandably, they were a bit nervous; they tried to nibble on the Aubiose.

We moved the new feeder closer to the inner chick-hole, cleared a path, and put food on the path. True to form, it was Boldest Sasso who ventured out first, blocking the doorway. I moved the food a bit further away. Boldest Sasso scooshed forward, still blocking the doorway. I moved the food a bit more, and then Bold Sasso popperd out. Cleopatra Sasso allowed himherself to be picked up and carried to the food. The Ixworths weren't having any of it, thank you very much.

Boldest Sasso had an explore, then let me pick himher up to go to the water. One dip of the beak, and we're fine. The Ixworths refused to move.

In the end I scooped up one of the Ixworths and put them outside. S/he ran around cheeping, then discovered food and started to eat. Other Ixworth refused to come out and started cheeping pitifully. After much effort, I managed to scoop himher up as well and put himher with the others.

Here they are.
1) This is the inner and outer pen

Here are the chicks in the inner pen, before they discovered the ChickHole

And here is Boldest Sasso, can you see the wing development?

Chicks move house

The chicks have been developing at an alarming rate. They haven't particularly grown. Well, they don't seem to have grown. But their feather development is amazing. It started with the wing tips. Now, one week on, they all have proper (albeit Lilliputian) feathers on the ends of their wings.

The Sassos are developing much faster than the Ixworths, which is surprising as they are at least a day younger (and given they are only 6 days old, that's quite a difference). The Sassos are also much more inquisitive and bold than the Ixworths. All three of them are quite happy to step onto a hand to be lifted out of the lunar module. Two of them are quite happy to snuggle down in my cupped hand and go to sleep. One of those two is the one who likes to be at the front of the photos, and s/he still likes to have a good look out as soon as the door is opened. Yesterday, s/he even hopped up on to the sill while the door was open then had a little roost.

The Ixworths are quite different. They don't like to be picked up at all. They also have an inbuilt need to scratch around, so as soon as we fill up the food trough they jump in and start hoiking all the food out with their feet, making that backwards and forwards Salsa movement. It wouldn't be a problem except that the floor of the Lunar Module is a grid so that the poo - and the hoiked out food - falls through. We're getting through lots of chick feed, so maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that I got a 20 kilo bag after all.

We've decided that they now need a bit more space and a bit more stimulation, so today we're moving them to their next home, in the shed. There they have a more traditional circular pen, with a big white light infra red lamp suspended above it. There is a different style of feeder, so they wont be able to hoik the food out. The flooring has Aubiose on it though, so they'll be able to scratch about to their hearts content. We're also making an inner ring of cardboard, so they will be able to have an inside and an outside. This means they can get away from the heat lamp if they wish.

We've moved the lunar module in there for a few mins for now so they can get used to the sounds and smells of the environment, before we transferred them.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lemon (and Lavender) Marmalade

When we were in Cornwall the other week, I bought a jar of "Lemon & Lavender Marmalade". I didn't like it when I tried it, but I left it in the fridge. Feeling the need for marmalade one day, I tried it again, and I really liked it.

As I got to the bottom of the jar I realised that it wouldn't be easy to get any more, so I decided to try making it. My excellent Margeurite Patten Jam book had a recipe for Lemon Marmalade, so I decided to use that and just put some lavender in at the soaking stage.

According to the original jar, it was 49% Lemon, 49% sugar and 2% lavender. Hmmm. Don't think so - at least, it cannot be quite what it seems. For a start, what about the water? And I can't believe that you'd get a good set/preserve with a 50/50 split of fruit and sugar. And 2% lavender is quite a lot of lavender.

Anyway. I picked some lavender and put it in with the pips in a little muslin bag while the peel soaked overnight, and while I simmered it this morning.

I've now made the marmalade, and I think I should probably have used more lavender. I can't see me needing to make another batch for a year or so (the recipe made nearly 4 pounds), so I've had to make a note in the recipe book.

Hope it tastes OK. I'll find out tomorrow morning.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Chick Pics

Here are some pics of the chicks.

In the first two, the chicks were placed in a small cardboard box for a few minutes while we cleaned out the lunar module.

Number 5 is completely different to the others - just love the eye makeup!

In these two, they are back in the Lunar Module, under white infra-red bulb. (I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it itsn't).

This one is poor quality, but I think it's so sweet that one of the chicks kept muscling in on the picture

And here's one of all of them in their Module.

Sunday, 9 August 2009


The Chicks are doing well, and are starting to be interested in what goes on *outside* their pod. They are happy to hop onto a hand a be taken "outside" to be inspected. Not really a good idea, as I can foresee problems later down the line When The Time Comes.

Numbers 1 and 2 have already started to change shape and their wing tips are starting to develop proper feathers.

Number 5 is absolutely stunning, his Egyptian eye make up is just gorgeous!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

1, 2, 3, 4, 5...

This morning, the three Sassos were all dry. They are all very different to each other. NUmber 5, who arrived last night at about 9.30 and spent a lot of time on his back, is still a bit unsteady on his feet, but he's only 10 hours old. He's very dark.

We decided to pop them all in the Brooder. This caused a bit of a consternation, and a lot of pecking as they tried to establish who was bottom chook. Sadly, I think it's going to be Number 5.

At least there were three chicks put in in one go.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Tayberry Vodka

I was looking in one of the cupboards for a bottle of my homemade Elderflower & Lemon cordial, when I came across a couple of "taster" bottles for cordials I'd made earlier.

One of them, the Tayberry Vodka, was marked as being ready for testing on or after 4 August. So we had a shot each before dinner.

Oh. My. God.

What amazing fruity goodness. No hint of vodka at all.

DH doesn't eat fruit (or most vegetables), and he really liked it. Amazing.

A few minutes after starting the shot, the Vodka kick hit me. But it was a pleasant kick. This could be a real winner. Can't remember how much I made - but I wish I'd made more!

And now the Sassos...

Two of the Sasso eggs pipped this morning. Later on today, one of started to crack. I dropped a note round to our neigbhours on the Other Side inviting them to bring R over to meet the Day Olds.

They popped over this afternoon, and I promised to let R know if the pipped Sassos started to hatch.

We've got a webcam monitoring them. This evening, in the middle of infusing milk to make a Bechamel sauce, I spotted that one was starting to hatch. I rushed upstairs and to my surprise I found *two* of them were hatching at the same time, one of we hadn't even seen pip!

Phoned CP, and went round to Other Side to see if young R was in.

They are much drier than Numbers 1 and 2; and one of them has huuuuge feet. The other one is leaving little blood spots, we're hoping that this is because he's carrying a bit of bloody shell around.

The other two are the same as they were earlier. Sign of pipping, no activity!


WOke up at 1.30am, and decided it was too early for Number 2 to be dry.

Got up at 3.30 am to see if NUmber 2 was dry enough to go in with Number 1. He wasn't. Both chicks were resting in their respective contraptions.

Got up again at 6.00, and decided NUmber 2 was as dry as Number 1 had been, so I popped him in the Brooder. First thing he did was dive for Number 1's legs, to ry and get under them. Obviously thought Number 1 was his mum. Awww.

I watched for a while to make sure they were OK, and left them to it.

Got up at 8.30, and they were asleep. And I noticed that one of the Sassos has pipped. DH just told me *two* of the Sassos have pipped!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Dorkings Update

You may remember that we bought a trio of Dorkings to start our new, naturally reared, Dinner flock. We installed the two Girls and their gorgeous cockerel in their new home on our allotment about 10 days ago.

The Girls now come running for corn whenever they see us. The Cockerel eats some corn, but chooses not to get too close. The Girls have been laying regularly and there's been no sign of fertilised eggs. Not such a bad thing as it's getting a bit late in the year for them to raise a brood, and we're happy to wait until next March.

Because they are running with a cockerel, we always take the precaution of breaking eggs into a dish before using them. What we're watching out for is that tell-tale black spot right in the egg yolk. That's a fertilised egg. We always eat the eggs when they are very fresh; I remember my biology teacher describing breaking an egg into her frying pan and it containing an embryonic chicken - it's made me very wary. Of course I now know that her eggs must have been at least a week old to have that level of development.

Anyway, I digress. We put a dustbath out for the Dorkings today, under a specailly constucted canopy. They've turned their beaks up at that so far.

But we also gave them some pasta. My Garden Girls adore pasta, and it's always fun to watch how they behave when it's on offer. The Dorkings were the exactly the same. Cap'n Flint took some persuading, but then he discovered he really liked it. And then the Girls kept stealing his from underneath him.

I already cook an extra portion for the Girls whenever we have penne or fusili; looks like it'll be two extra portions from now on.....

Photos of the Chicks

This is Number 1. I got him out of the Brooder and stood him on top of the Incubator so he could talk to his brother. He's about 12 hours old in this picture

And here's Number 2, taken from the top. (it's very hard to get a good pic because the top of the Incubator is very reflective. He's about 10 minutes old here, and can't yet stand. He's lying down having a rest in the photo.

Number 2 is through!

NUmber 2 has just emerged from his shell.

Number 1's cheeping has increased in volume by several decibels as he encouraged his brother to push harder. NUmber 2 is currently rolling around the floor of the incubator, pushing the remaining 2 eggs (in his section) all over the place as he tries to stand up.

He's cheeping, but he's exhausted and keeps stopping moving (and cheeping) for a rest. During these quiet periods, Number 1's cheeping gets even louder. I can't believe something so small can be so loud!

No signs of pipping on the other two eggs; and nothing on the Sasso eggs yet.

Lonely chick

Well, Number One has dried off, and was getting very active in the Incubator. It's been 8 hours since he hatched, and the books say "up to 24 hours" in the incubator.

Number Two is showing no sign of appearing; even when he does it'll take a few hours for hiim to dry off. It'll be during the night, and we dodn't really want to leave Number One in the iIncubator that long.

After much discussion, we decided to transfer Number One to the Brooder. Poor mite was so surprised to find life, thhat he started cheeping vociferously. We showed him the food. We led him to the water and let him drink off a dunked finger. He got distressed when the finger was withdrawn.

Can you give a chick a comfort toy?


It's been very hard watching this Chick.

Because this is the first time I've seen one hatch live, even thought I know what the book says about it, it's hard to watch.

Poor little Chick is exhausted, and is trying to stand and walk. It's all so much effort, he stumbles and falls on the other eggs. I'm sure this is Nature's way of telling the other eggs its time to hatch. He's cheeping continuously, and I feel very sad that he doesn't have a mother hen there to reassure and encourage him. He's drying out, slowly, and we can't do anything with or for him until he's completely dry.

I know he doesn't need food, the egg sac will keep him nourished for 24 hours.

I know it's normal for him to keep falling over.

I know it's normal for him to be wet and looking so weak.

But it's hard to watch. I wish Number 2 would get on with hatching!

And I hope the other eggs are OK.


Got up in the middle of the night to check on Egg, no progress.

Just been in to have a look (7.30am) and the hole is slightly bigger and I can hear cheeping. A second egg has also pipped.

It's a slow business!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Egg news

All day, nothing happening on the Egg front.

Lovely next door neighbour, CP, popped over with a parcel, and I told her that they were due today and I'd keep her posted.

Over dinner this evening we started to discuss what might have gone wrong. Given that there are two sets of eggs in the Incubator, and the second set isn't due to hatch until Friday, how long should we give the first set? We decided they might as well wait until Friday.

After dinner, nothing.

Then DH went and had a quick peek at about 9pm, and found that one of the eggs had pipped! This means the chick is starting to emerge. The book says it can tak e4 hours before the chick tries again, and it can take 20 hours for the hatch to complete.

I phoned CP to let her know that it had started, but there wasn't anything to see. I told her I'd call in the morning when we were up so she could come over and take a look.

I'll let the other side know tomorrow, and they can bring young R over to look if they like.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

On tenterhooks

It's 20 days since the first eggs were put in the incubator which means, if we're lucky, they should be hatching tomorrow!

We stopped those 4 turning on Sunday, and the other 4 yesterday. I bought a special brooder - looks like a diving bell - which will be their home for their first two weeks, and we've got it all ready. Everything was moved from the kitchen table to my study, as we'll need to keep the cats away from the hatchlings and can't see how else to safely do it.

I miss having the incubator on the kitchen table, but I don't miss the hourly chimes as it turned the eggs.

I've got a 20 kilo sack of chick crumbs under the stairs. I don't know what possessed me to ask Graham at Paws 'n' Claws ( to deliver a 20kg sack od chick food when a 5kg sack would have been more than ample. Never mind. The Garden Girls - and the Dorkings for that matter - can have some as a porridgey treat. For the next few months. Or so. I have a vacuum sealer, I might vacuum pack some to help it keep fresh.

I also have a 20kg sack of Growers pellets under the stairs, but they will get eaten. And a 20kg sack of Organic Mixed Corn. And the Ash Pan where I store wood ash to make the dust baths. And two mountain bikes. It's a big space, which is just as well under the circumstances.

Now that the Garden Girls have started moulting, I've been giving them poultry spice each day, in some yoghurt. They love yoghurt. They get it everywhere, all over their beaks, their combs, their wattles. If I'm passing, they shale their yoghurty heads and get it over me as well.

If I leave the empty bowls down, when I go past they rush to the bowls and start pecking frantically. I guess it's the chickeny equivalent of a cat staring at it's empty dish. It's a bit disconcerting, to be honest.

Well, that's all for now. I'll let you know as soon as the chicks start hatching!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Dinner Chickens - all done, for now

Today DH and OC (Other Chap) culled the remaining Dinner Chickens. Six of them, again too many in one go - but we wanted to get it over with. One of the Girls had been injured by the cockerel treading on her. DH very tired and a bit glum.

He brought home all the feeders and drinkers so we could scrub and sterilise them ready for when the hopefully-hatchlings are big enough to move to their permanent home. There's a lot of work to do on the allotment; the ground needs rotovating, liming (to neutralise the poo), and reseeding; the chicken house needs emptying, scrubbing and disinfecting. We also we need to make some other changes to the Dinner Chickens house; there will be a lot less birds in one go from now on, so we need to divide it to make it easier for them to keep warm when its colder. We'll use the freed-up space to store the chicken feed etc, which means the current feed shelter can be used by the Dorkings to keep cool in the heat. If we get heat.

The geese are more subdued since 2 of them moved to a neighbouring allotment. Hope they perk up, it's not like them to be so meek.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to give up eating chicken. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when it comes to the birds we're raising from eggs!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Balding babes

My Garden Girls have started their annual moult.

I noticed a few days ago that Lily was looing a little "oven ready" underneath so today, when I was giving each of them their Flubenvet-laced cucumber, I had a quick rummage to see what the situation was with each of them.

All bare in the same place. It's not wildly noticeable from above, and they are still laying. I'll need to put a note into next doors' eggs this week to let them know that (a) the Girls are going to look very unkempt and uncared for very soon, and (b) the eggs are likely to stop.

I put Lifeguard Tonic in their water as soon as I spotted Lily's situation and, now that I've confirmed theu're all at it, I'll introduce yoghurt with poultry spice and also some cat food (non chicken variety of course). Feathers are all protein, so they need extra protein in their diet.

Other possibles are tuna in water, and that's probably what we'll give the Dorkings. I need to check them over too to see what stage they are at,