We decided to move the chicks into the chick brooder and away from the mama hens last night. Upon doing so we realized the chicks could fit through the wire on the brooder coop. We have used this coop before with other chicks and not experienced this problem. I think because the mama hens were still around, the chicks were a little more eager to escape than the chicks we previously bought from TSC.
Kev brought me some twine and I started to weave a temporary wall through the wire to keep the chicks from nosediving out. As the sun went down and everyone settled in for the night without escaping I thought we were okay…
When I went to check on the five chicks this morning, I only found four. Worried, but hopeful, I started toward the big coop where the mamas sleep.
At some point during the night, a baby had wiggled it’s was through my twine wall and found it’s way, all the way across the yard, to the big coop, and under a mama hen. I was relieved to say the least, but this also meant finding a better solution than twine first thing this morning.
Kev found some spare half inch hardware cloth for me in the shed. Using wire cutters, a staple gun, and a few zip ties, I reinforced the bottom layer of the run area and coop door. Seems to be working so far!
My hope is that the mama hens will go back to laying eggs and foraging the yard soon, but for now they seem content hanging out by the brooder.
Meet Annie! She is our 5 year old dachshund, “farm” dog. Annie is relatively new to our home as she originally belonged to Kev’s mom, but has adjusted to the farm life pretty seamlessly. We did put her on a bit of a diet, I’m sure she misses the home cooked chicken and egg dinners her first mama used to cook her! She was more of a sausage dog, than a wiener dog, when she first arrived!
You can often find Annie keeping watch on our back porch. Up until Annie moved in, our free range flock had become pretty comfortable around our other dog, Rosco, to the point they forget they are still birds of prey. Annie has put a healthy awareness back in their little chickie minds. Although not rough, Annie will chase the chickens off our porch and out of her “perimeter.”
Poor planning on my part last year to go ahead and buy a dozen chicks from without a chicken coop ready to go. “They’re just so darn cute.” Famous last words of just about every chicken mama… Luckily, we already had a small brooder at home to get us by for 4-6 weeks until we moved the newborns out to the yard.
This chick warmer is my favorite brooder essential. I feel so much more comfortable with it than with the heat lamps, the chicks all snuggle underneath it and can easily escape it if they get to warm.
With a dozen chicks growing rapidly, as well as the smell of baby chicks, in my living room, we started to step up our pace. With most of our projects I have a rough idea in my head of what I think I want. I sketch or describe the best I can to Kev, and he usually works out the kinks for me and somehow our projects tend to come together pretty darn well.
This coop has earned its keep. It stays very dry, there is a lot of room for roosting, and it comfortably fit all 12 ladies. We also added two PVC pipe gravity feeders and set up a rain water collection and watering system, which has worked out extremely well for our needs.
Because this coop stays so dry, it will be the perfect home for our Silkie flock. Because Silkie feathers do not have the barbicels like normal chicken feathers, they do not repel water quite the same way, and therefore can have a hard time drying off and staying warm, especially in colder months.
Protecting the Silkies…
Silkies do not make great free rangers. They have fluffy feathers on top of their heads that often make it hard for them to see overhead predators. Also, they can only jump about 12 inches off the ground. Their special feathers make them very flightless birds, and even harder for them to escape or evade predators. Our plan is to keep them safe in their new Silkie Shack with supervised free range time. Once they get a little older of course….