Monday, April 4, 2011

The new chicken home

We haven't completed the addition to the chicken coop yet.  The coop right now is about 8x16 completely enclosed plus about 16x24 all wired in.  We are adding another 8x10 that's going to be partially enclosed.  I'm going to put nesting boxes in this area for the broody chickens while the other nesting boxes are for the eggs that are collected daily.  The coop will be completed on Saturday, I hope, since Sunday we are going to be gone most of the day.  If it's not completed this weekend then the next.  Work is busy right now so I'm not getting too many chores done at home during the week.  For a while I won't be able to work a split schedule of 4 or 5 hours at the office, come home and do chores all afternoon and work the rest of my schedule after the grandkids go to bed. 

Nevertheless, I want the chicks out of the house.  Since three week old chicks just aren't as cute as day olds I have less tolerance for the smell.  When I got home from work today I decided to make an in between house for the chicks.  I had some old metal closet shelving that was in the barn which made perfect walls for their temporary home.  Grandson and I built a 4x4 shelter for them with a side room of an old rabbit cage.  In total they have 20 square feet to run around in.  The metal shelving has wires about an inch apart.  It's too close together for the chicks to squeeze through.  If they were only a week old they'd be escaping.  I had almost enough of the shelving to cover the top of their new home.  For the rest of the top I used some wire mesh with 1/2" squares.  I don't remember where I got that from but it came in handy.  I attached all the pieces with plastic bale strings.

I put their new home in a dirt planter underneath the kitchen window.  I put their heat lamp over it and covered the whole thing with a bunch of blankets.  (No the lamp is not under the blankets)  It's going to be in the 50s tonight so they will still need the heat.  Tomorrow it's going to be 80 so all the blankets will come off.  They will probably stay in this new home until it's warm enough for them to not need a light at all at night, perhaps a few more weeks.  After that, they will be out in the coop.  They will go into the new extension and the two sets of chickens will be able to stare at each other for a week or so before I open it up and let them mix together.

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