I’m sorry to have been so quiet for a couple of weeks … we had family to stay for a while, and then I was away with my elder daughter – taking the opportunity to enjoy her company before she leaves for University in the autumn. Sadly, while we were away, I dropped and broke my camera – the one I always carry in my handbag :( There is a replacement on it’s way to me (I have carried a camera in my pocket/bag for over 20 years now and feel completely bereft without one), so no photos for a day or two. But you can be sure I shall take dozens when it arrives – just to get used to it, you understand! :D

The Moppets
So to update you on the Hen Garden … although a couple of the bantams continue to brood, the others are slowly coming out of their trance like state. First we had one egg (in the run, since I’d shut them out of the coop), then a day or two later another (which DH only found when he pushed a broody hen out of the corner of the run; she’d adopted it, no idea who laid it!). Then a few days after that, we had two eggs in the run. So we began to leave the coop open during the morning, only shutting it later in the day, usually after finding two eggs in the nest box. Yesterday, we had three bantam eggs … although again, we had to shove a couple of broodys aside to find them! The Moppet House is still, however, full of feathers.

There are a few feathers flying around across the garden path, too … Bertha is now fully feathered, looking amazing, but still not yet reasserting herself in the pecking order. She seems pretty glum about it, sadly. Her comb is still pale, so I assume she’s not yet laying. Babs’ comb is also pale pink rather than bright red. It’s not clear who else is moulting … Milly seems to be losing a few feathers, but I suspect they’re being pecked. I’ve seen Molly take a few, and a while ago Milly lost a tail feather and was bleeding (I mentioned I found an egg with a few spots of blood on it … I assume it was hers?). So she had the purple spray treatment, and I’ve seen no further sign of injury, but the bare patch is still growing :( She doesn’t seem distressed by it …

Someone is still laying the occasional soft or shell-less egg, and someone else is laying eggs with really thin shells, often with faults through to the membrane at the pointy end. Since they have adequate calcium in their diet, these faults are a sign of the age of the hen … their whites become less firm over time and it is harder for them both to absorb sufficient calcium and to complete the shell round a flabby egg. A more common effect is that the shell is wrinkly, but we’ve not had one of those for a while. So we’re getting a couple of smaller, but good, eggs most days – the only ones (apart from the bantam eggs) we can boil. I use the thin shelled eggs in baking or for omelettes etc. I’m saving up the bantam eggs until we have enough to make a meal out of them for the four of us!

Once my camera arrives, I’ll be back with some photos … see you soon XX

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  1. If I could just find the eggs I’d be happy. I have searched the garden, sent the dogs out after the hens have gone to bed, I know that they are there somewhere. Last year I found nearly a dozen under a bush.Hope you have fun with the new camera. J

    • I wish we could leave them to free range as you obviously do. Having lost an entire brood to a passing fox in January, they are all shut up so have little choice.

  2. Good to have you back. I remember the precious time with my son, Steve, before he went off to university, so know how you feel.

    Glad you are getting some banty eggs again. My big girls continue to lay but the bantys had taken a week off since the start of the hot weather, I don’t blame them! I got the first banty egg since then, Today.

    Looking forward to seeing you use the new camera.


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  • The Hen House Archive

    Our original hen keeping adventure came to an end in January 2013, when a fox took our entire brood of hens. But don’t let that put you off … you can find the story at The Hen House Archive where there are still lots of stories, photos, and information about keeping hens I hope you'll find useful.

    July 2018 … Four new girls arrive, two LS bantams and two Mille Fleur Pekins.

    June 2018 … We had an extended heatwave, with daily temperatures in the 30s.

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