Wednesday, 6 November 2013

PMT in Garden Girls

It's been a busy and rather stress-filled few weeks.

Family stuff provided part of the busy and most of the stress.  Work provided the rest of the busy.  I would describe myself as a part time worker, but not in a conventional way.  I work non-stop (6 or 7 long days a week) for about 4 weeks at a time, and then I do nothing at all for a while.   I've just completed my busiest work period of the year.

The Garden Girls have been, mostly, quite well.   They've settled down together now that Milly (the most spiteful chicken ever) isn't there.     Recently, PMT (pre/pro/post moulting tension) has set in, and those affected have become even more loopy than usual.

Two (Custard and Florence) of the three old girls are moulting.  Roobarb, the other old girl, is already pristine in her new feather coat, her comb is red, and she looks rather smug.   Custard and Florence's slower moults mean that they have gone from looking a little worse-for-wear to downright down-and-out.

Moulting also seems to have affected their ability to find their way in to the run when I need to shut them in temporarily so I can go out.  

Lotti, my little exchequer leghorn, bottom of the pecking order,  no longer gets particularly bullied.  She is able to get into the coop at night, and isn't showing any outward signs of being pecked any more.   She is moulting and is very unhappy about it.  She can't bear to be picked up (which is understandable), and she has gone even more loopy than usual.   Her gorgeous floppy comb and wattles are very pale.  She won't come near me.   Hope it's just the moult.

Poppy, my not-so-little Welsh Black (Australorp x Indian Game), isn't moulting. She is, however, pretending that she doesn't know how to fly up on to my arm.

Tilda, our special needs Girl,  is still living out with the others.  She comes in for a snackerel every day, and I can't believe that it's almost a year since she collapsed and "died".  She's not getting overtly bullied by her sisters,  but she is low in the pecking order. 

Overall, aoart from the PMT induced spats, it's relatively calm.

No one is laying.  Or at least, if they are,  I'm not seeing any eggs.   The only two who could be laying are Poppy and Roobarb, and I am wondering if they are laying somewhere else (haven't found a nest), or whether their rare eggs are getting eaten?

I've had to resort to buying eggs.   We're fortunate to have a place with truly free range chickens fairly close by,  so I buy eggs from there when I need them.  

The flooring that DH laid in the run is standing up well.  I cleaned them out on Sunday, and it was very easy as there was very little Aubiose to remove. It took very little to provide a new topping too.

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