It was a perfect day in Portland today. The sun was shining all day and the it was actually shorts and T-shirt weather. This morning I started in on renovating the chicken coop, which meant the girls were allowed to free-range for the day. My chickens don’t lay eggs until late in the day, so a good part of late morning and early afternoon was spent chilling in the garden, waiting for the ladies to take their turn in the nesting box. Even though I have two nesting boxes, they refuse to use them both at the same time.
Anyways, the weather was gorgeous and warm so I decided on somewhat of a whim to let the baby chicks have a grand day out! I was a little nervous at first about how the grown hens would react to the new-comers, so I hung out waiting to swoop in should trouble start brewing. Would they just snap their little necks, would they chase them around the yard, would they peck them to death? Since it was neutral territory (not the chicken coop), things went totally fine!
Winnie and Hazel were the first two to spot the new chicks. It was really funny because I think they were quite scared of them! Pearl eventually came out of the hen house after ten minutes later. Pearl and Winnie spotted the chick feeder I had brought out and decided to inhale their food. It must be the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” because I have never seen them devour their own food like that. What a bunch of huge pigs compared to the little girls. They also decided to drink the chicks’ water. As the older gals laid poolside, or rather next to the chick waterer, Jay and I decided they must be the senior sorority sisters, and the chicks were the freshman who were “rushing”.
The chicks clung fairly close to Jay and I, which was super cute. They let us pet them and a couple even got up on Jay’s lap. The runt is now our favorite because he/she is a total cuddle-bug. She was all over Jay and eventually hopped up onto his arm for awhile, then onto his shoulder. But eventually she took off to ramble along with the other little girls, but not before she left Jay a little poop on his jeans – just a little something to remember her by.
In about two weeks my baby chicks will be grown up enough to move outside. It seems like just yesterday… Ahem, anyways they will be ready to move outside and I will be ready for our second bedroom to not smell like farm animal. My brilliant idea is to build a small hen house, maybe 3′ x 4′, onto the opposite side of the run from the big girl hen house. I will partition off part of the run so each flock has their space. After about a week of that, I will remove the temporary fencing in the run so they share that space. The flocks will still sleep in their own houses at night though. After a week or so of that, I will close off the smaller hen house and move them all into the same hen house. Probably at night – I will just move each little chicken onto a roost in the main hen house. The smaller hen house will then be used for storage of chicken supplies.
Am I genius or what? Okay, not really because I have heard of people doing that before. But I always thought it sounded like too much work. Now that I am rebuilding the whole coop anyway, it would seriously take me about 3 hours to build the smaller hen house and it would make it easier for all of us. More on the revamped chicken coop tomorrow!