This year’s chick move went pretty darn smooth. We only added two new chicks to our flock this year – two black sexlinks. They’ve been staying in our outside office-gym since we brought them home April 14th.
We have four signs that it is time to move them out of this little out-building of ours to the grow coop.
- They have all their feathers to keep them warm.
- The weather stays fairly mild at night.
- They start bumping their heads on the top of the chick coop.
- And this outside office that houses our bow flex smells a little too much like chicken.
When we first starting introducing new chicks to our little chicken coop, we realized we had some pretty aggressive chickens.
Real peckers ya know.
So Barney and I made what we call our grow coop – an intermediary coop to get the chicks a little bigger to fend for themselves within the pecking order of the coop.
Barney made a new flip over and removable rain roof. Here in Wash-ington it could rain for stretches even in July. Then the food gets wet, the poo gets wet, and the chickens get wet. Barney’s new roof should cure some of that.
We added a new metal feeder and the larger water trough, wood platforms and chips. These black sexlinks are pretty mellow so it wasn’t hard to carry them over to their new grow coop. We picked them because they are cold hardy, tolerate a coop well, and are good layers. It’s cool that these two have a mild temperament, too.
We place them in the back of the house when we move them. It has a lift-up roof on hinges. We start them out “upstairs” so they can figure out the ramp and know where the shelter is.
It didn’t take them very long to come down the ramp and check out their new digs – and poo all over the new metal feeder – within about five minutes. Dang!
Anyway, our new recruits seem healthy and content and Barney got to enjoy a fresher workout.
Another successful start to our chicken year.
We are fast approaching spring and Easter and you may be considering bringing home a real baby chick or two to add to the Easter basket. Before you do, there are a few things to consider.
Check for any city ordinance that may place restrictions on raising chickens at your home. Some cities do not allow roosters but do allow only hens. Others restrict raising poultry in general. The cities we like the best, of course, are those that see raising chickens as a normal backyard activity. Nevertheless, check with your neighbors to see if they have any problems with chickens next door. Roosters are known to be the noisy gender, but hens are talkers and like to make their presence known throughout the day. Your neighbors may not like the clucking and cackling as much as you do. If your neighborhood has a homeowner’s association, you should probably check in with them as well.
Know that baby chicks grow very quickly and will need somewhere to live. They will soon out grown that small little brooding box and will need something larger within a month to give them room to move around. They will also need a larger feeder and waterer which will take up space as well. In just a few additional weeks, they will loose their soft down and sprout feathers and become pullets. It is best to have a coop being built or on delivery when you bring the baby chicks home. Check here for ideas on chicken coops.
Consider current pets. If you have other family pets, you need to consider keeping a separate space for chicks and chickens. It is only natural for dogs and cats to be curious about the new birds; cats want to hunt and dogs want to chase. When we first brought our baby chicks home, we literally had the Sylvester and Tweety thing going on with our cat and baby chicks. She actually would hide by the door to their brooding area and wait for any opportunity to sneak in without us seeing. I can’t tell you how many times I caught her licking her chops! Now that the chickens are bigger than the cat, I don’t think we would have such a problem if she got in to there coop.
Be prepared to take care of them. I actually think that chickens are easy to take care of; however, you need to be prepared to see to their care everyday. You need to keep food and clean water before them at all times, and clean up the chicken poop. If you go on vacation, you will need someone to care for your flock while you are away.