I know, I know. I have been neglecting you. Would it help if I gave my list of excuses? We're trying to move. It has snowed. A lot. We had to travel to visit the ever tolerant husband's family. Oh, and I have the plague (or a cold, depending on how dramatic you want to be. But this cold does come with a mouth ulcer named Kevin). So, I suppose I should fill you in.
Spring is just around the corner (no, really) and the hens are starting to wake up from their long winter slumber. As any keeper of pure breeds knows, these pedigree chooks tend to go in to stasis through the cold and dark months. They eat, drink and sleep their way through Guy Fawkes night, Christmas and Valentine's day. You barely see them, except for cleaning out and the odd sighting as they come down from the coop for feed. The suddenly, you notice that you're topping up the feeder more often. The odd egg appears in the nest box, and crucially, they find their voices again. Oh yes. You know that spring is about to be sprung when you hear the mournful caterwauling of a laboring chicken at 7.30 in the morning.
I am getting the odd egg, and I suspect that Flo is the culprit. The older ladies have yet to recommence laying duties, but their combs are bright red and they've resumed strutting. I'm not expecting too many eggs from Mabel, Maude and Maeve from now on, as they're pushing 4 and 3.5 respectively. But the others will soon be back in to full production. So now is the time to make sure that they have mixed poultry grit and access to grass. My girls pretty much ignore the grit during the winter, but nosh it at a rate of knotts come February. A laying hen needs the calcium, or else they leach it from their own bones. This cannot be a good thing.
I can pretty much rule out Winnie laying at the moment, as in a fit of total craziness she has decided to go broody despite never having layed an egg. This does not bode well for her laying abilities, to be honest. Still, she's a plucky young bird and if there is no egg to sit on, she tries to incubate enormous poos. Deeply unpleasant when I rootle about under her to find and eggs, but it's keeping her busy. And hideously fragrant.
The serama are still road runnering about the pekins, and in this way have avoided being a) eaten and b) flattened. They work in a tag team of distraction, leading the homicidal pekins on a wild serama chase while the other one scoffs pellets. Everyone seems to be coping with the situation, and even Maeve is getting bored of 'pluck the serama'.
The next big thing will be the move.