Tomatoes

Today’s egg picture … I changed the nest box, took the straw to the compost, and by the time I returned I found this …

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The yolk was dripping down through the ventilation slot and they were eating it from underneath the Cube, but I don’t think they broke the shell or they would have been in the nest box. It must have broken as it was laid – it is a really thin shell. I’ve been adding grit, oyster shell and egg shell to their feed. Hopefully it will eventually make a difference.

The senior girls are enjoying the freedom of the Hen Run and Garden … but it is plenty of space for all seven of them. And just in case you’ve forgotten about them in the excitement of following the arrival of the B Team and the building of The Moppet House …

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Molly

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Milly

I’ve extended the area of grass they can graze, though I had to double up on some damaged netting …

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The black compost bin (made up of raised bedding panels) will eventually be emptied, and the front lowered to allow them access to kitchen scraps etc. We’ll not fill it, just toss them it to be turned over by the girls before transferring it elsewhere to compost down. Mixed with their droppings, it will compost quite quickly over the summer.

There is an untouched area of grass towards the back wall, but they obviously found something more interesting to forage …

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From the left – Mandy, Milly and Molly

Hens love tomatoes. Even hens who have never seen a tomato before! I threw a wedge of tomato to the B Team …

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It soon became clear that the pecking order among the B Team is sorted … I noticed this hen held on to possession of the tomato because, although the others followed her around hoping for a taste, they didn’t really make a serious attempt to gain possession of it. Of course, it will all have to be renegotiated when they are integrated with the A Team of Milly, Molly and Mandy (or should they be the M Team? And what will we call the combined brood?).

Besides tomato, the B Team now also  recognise dandelions, spinach, potato, pasta and corn as treats. They’ll eat the peck block happily, but don’t peck at it themselves – I have to break it up for them! They have had their first mash, too … delicately spiced with Flubenvet.

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With three separate runs on the go, these posts are getting very long … but I can’t finish without telling you about the bantams, too …

To encourage them to use the coop (I found one egg in there today :) ) I’ve now removed the plastic nest box …

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I hope to remember to put out a torch tonight, so they all find their way home!

The Moppets, too, recognise potato, pasta and corn, but really aren’t interested in the green stuff unless it’s grass …

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Nor are they interested in the washing up bowl of a dust bath I’ve provided. Bantams really are a different species of hen!

Oscar is the only cat who visits the hens. He likes to sit and watch them, especially if I’m in the garden. Misty comes for a stroke if I’m sitting watching one of the runs, but pays no attention to my feathered friends (of the chicken variety – she’ll sit and watch the garden birds for hours, hoping one might do as a snack before tea time … ). But I did notice Magic keeping an eye on changes to his territory …

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