Now that the days are getting longer, and a little bit warmer, we started having eggs again. Mary was the first to start laying, but now Snowy and Bubbles have started too.
It's been 3 months since we had eggs. Looking forward to having lots of eggs again!
Cacciatore is looking rather miserable and pathetic with her moulting, so it will probably be a month of two before she starts up again. She laid into winter the longest.
In other news, I was at it again on Gumtree and saw some more free chickens. This time they were a pair of Barnevelders, a rooster and pullet, that someone had gotten from their daycare and raised. The reason they were free was that this lady's dog had killed some of them and she wanted to try to make sure the other two survived.
I went to check them out and they were beautiful chickens!
We named them Princess Layer and Luke Skysquawker.
It's not that obvious here but Layer has lovely lace feathers and Luke has a lovely green sheen to his feathers. I was pleased to see they looked like full size chickens and not bantams.
Barnevelders may start laying as late as 28 weeks, and these two were 17 weeks old so it might be a while before I see any eggs. I wonder if they will be brown eggs?
Having the two of them means that Layer won't get bullied much, as she hangs with the rooster and he doesn't take much flack. He had a bit of a power struggle with Bubbles, but since then they seem to have settled down. Layer is very flighty and flies out of the enclosure a lot but no different to Cacciatore really, as she wanders around the garden eating grass and digging in the dirt.
I was most upset on their first night in the coop because Mary had a bleeding comb and was making a dreadful wheezing sound. She had seemed fine earlier in the day but in the afternoon began making a weird sound. I checked her for discharge from her nostrils in case she had a cold but she seemed clear, just a weird sound. And in the night when I found blood in the coop I was most upset so I took her out of the coop to have a rest in isolation so she could heal up a bit. I made her some bread soaked in olive oil the next day, but she seemed to return to normal. I have no idea what happened to her - did she aspirate something? - but I'm glad to see she was fine afterwards.
I'm wondering how long I can keep the rooster for before he becomes a nuisance. I'm hoping it's a while.
Oh, and the other day I had a big sinking heart, as I went outside in the dark to check on the chickens. I saw a RAT running around the fence. MAYBE two. I have no food lying around so I'm hoping that they're not going to hang around in my backyard, but I will have to put out traps, because 2 rats quickly become TONS of rats, and I don't want people to make me get rid of my chickens because they think they're attracting vermin.
The other thing that could be attracting them is the compost bin. Now that everyone is throwing their kitchen scraps in there the bin stinks. I've been trying to put more carbons in but it can't keep up with the nitrogen from the kitchen. It was fine when it was just my stuff... and I'm hoping that the smell will attract soldier flies so they can start laying eggs and eating up all the food... but not if it's attracting rats! I've ordered some humane traps, but I am sad that I will have to kill the rats a bit inhumanely. What would be the kindest way? Drowning? Cold water? I can't put baits out coz of the chickens! So I'm giving this trap a whirl and I'll tell you how it goes.