Friday, June 17, 2011

Cooped up

One of the first challenges with our chickens is giving them a place to live.  Apparently I can't count by weeks anymore. I thought they were going to be about 5 weeks old when they joined us- no, they were only 2 weeks old. And they were so cute and fluffy! But they had down instead of feathers which meant they couldn't go outside yet.  I thought it would be rather sad if I sent the class chicks outside and they got ill and died...

Our soft, downy chicks in the bathroom.
So we brought them into our downstairs bathroom.  It's a small bathroom that is completely tiled and should be easy to clean, I thought. As the odorama hit us after a few days as we walked in the back door, though, we quickly began counting the days until the chickens could live outside.  The positive side of the chicks being inside is we got to spend lots of time holding them and they were easy to catch.  They would chirp their melodic sweet sounds until we went in and visited in the morning. When night fell, the chicks became silent as the huddled together in comfort.  But the task of sweeping out the bathroom and cleaning the poo off the floor became rather tedious. A fellow "chicken" friend suggested putting them in a large dog crate which would make the cleanup easier.  At first I thought this wouldn't give them enough space, but as the weather warmed and the chicks went outside more during the day, the crate was perfect.  Thank you, Robin! 

Keeping the chicks inside gave us a few more weeks to solve the coop challenge: where to locate the coop and the run.  At first we thought we would tuck the coop in a cleared out wooded area. It was shady and cool but there wasn't any greenery to munch on. We quickly discovered how much the chicks like to eat clover, grass, and anything growing in the garden.  We bought a kit to build a small coop with an attached smal run- perfect for 3 to 4 chickens. But we wound up bringing home 7 chicks because I can't count chicks either. Here is the photo of the coop we built from the kit you can find at

This coop was great temporarily- until we realized we just love the chicks and got 3 more (we know some will be roosters). We decided to turn the smaller coop into a tractor coop which means that we can move it around so they can eat fresh grass and clover. But most days, we just open the doors and let them free-range.  It's interesting how they roam around but don't go far from the coop- hence the term "coming home to roost". 

Next up, the new coop my dear hubby built completely from recycled and reused materials...

No comments:

Post a Comment