Yesterday marked the chick’s 3rd Week-aversary in our care.
We celebrated the occasion by busting our butts all weekend long (in between baseball games and everything else we had going on) to get the not-quite finishing touches on their new coop. DH, Little Dude and I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning up around the outside of the barn where their run is going to be. I guess we’ve decided to put up a small run for about a month or so, until the get acclimated to the outdoors area and then remove the fencing to let them truly be free range.
The clean up is not quite done. It included pulling weeds, removing rock, trash, scrap metal, old boards and broken window glass. There’s a lot to do, but seeing as the chicks are still only 3 weeks oldish and most still have down on their heads yet, we have some time to get the rest of it gone before the run goes up.
However, they are getting too big for our brooder box. Most of the bigger ones have been trying to fly and keep hitting their heads on the chicken wire on top or careening into the brood lamp. Not safe, in my fairly new-at-chickens opinion.
Also, we are expecting a delivery of Rhode Island Red chicks this coming week.
All the research I’ve done, from stalking other chicken blogs to looking on sites like Back Yard Chickens, suggests that since they are under 5 weeks old, I should be able to integrate the babies in with these guys in the brooder box and not wake up the next morning to the site of a massacre. But the above statement that my three-week-old Gold Sexlinks are getting too big for our brooder box and the fact that 17 of them are rowdy little boys, I tend to think that mix them is a bad idea.
Not that any of the Golds seem to be vicious, but they are starting to act more like the chickens they will become and less like helpless little peeps.
And I just don’t want to wake up to a blood bath.
So, after the clean up, DH cut the hole for the door to the future chicken run and build them a ramp to walk down. That was Saturday. Yesterday, he put the door and lock up, so we could lock them up at night and installed a brood lamp in the coop, in one corner. They still have some down so they still need it.
After the door was installed, I picked up all the tools, swept the coop out really good (or as good as I could get it for an old barn) and with the help of My Girl (my daughter, she’s 15 and says she wants nothing to do with the chickens but she really does, if you know what I mean), put straw in the beds and wood chips on the floor.
After the lamp was installed, we were free to move them into their new home. Some of them were totally okay with it. Some of them completely freaked out and got scared. Their toys did not make the trip. We need to figure out where/how to hang them before that. Also, as they get bigger, I want to build them some of these log chicken swings They look neat.
Everyone else thinks I’m spoiling them.
Here’s a look at all our hard work. Hope you enjoy it! Tips/suggestions/comments always welcome. 🙂