Good morning, Blog Buds!
The chicks are now fully feathered out and have grown big enough to live outside. But I didn’t just toss them out with the lone survivor from my last flock, Anna. She woulda beat the crap out of them! That’s her territory out there and they’re just irritating little invaders, as far as she’s concerned. So I placed the entire brooder (a converted large dog crate) inside the outdoor chicken run which is between the coop and the garden. They’ll stay in there with the door locked for a few days while their Auntie Anna gets used to them. She’s already displayed her dominance and they’ve already acknowledged her as Almighty Queen. That’s good. That’s called ‘The Pecking Order’ in flock politics.
Besides what you see in the picture, I also fastened a tarp around the brooder with large clips to keep out the wind and rain. A wet chicken is a dead chicken, generally, and dead chickens don’t lay eggs.
In about three days, I’ll open the chicks’ door and keep Anna’s door closed for a few hours. Then, I’ll open her door to the chicken run. And keep watch over how it goes. If you’re thinking things looked cramped in that picture, you’re right. Three chicks have already gone to my brother. Five of the ones you see will go to my step-dad soon. We’ll be left with a total of five, which includes Anna.
If you’re wondering how many hens to keep, a good rule of thumb is one per person in your household. If you live in a neighborhood. If you live in a rural area, better toss in a few extra because you will have more predators. A couple of my brother’s chickens were just killed by a skunk. However, you will also be allowed to keep a rooster in a rural setting, usually, and he can sire new chicks.
Suburban and urban chicks are not totally safe, however. We’ve seen raccoons scurry through our backyard, although that was before we got a dog. And we’ve seen hawks sitting in our trees watching our hens. It’s essential to rig up your coop with your kind of predators in mind.
P.S. Chicken-stealing was a common practice during the Great Depression. It’s a crying shame to kill and eat a laying hen, which can provide so much more protein alive. Consider keeping an extra hen or two, if you can, and donate those eggs to any neighbors in need. No one should need to steal to feed their children, but I certainly don’t fault them for it.
P.S.S. If you think the garden fence looks weird, you’re also correct. I created from a couple of old loft beds. Use what materials you already have, if you can, that’s another lesson from the Great Depression. Thanks, Mom.