You blink and it feels like you missed years. Long gone are little balls of fuzz cheeping in their dog crate home. We are even past the awkward teenage days when they are half way between fuzzy down and new feathers. Now we have young chickens – fully feathered and full of spunk!
In my last post about the chickens I told you that we had put them in an old dog crate as an improvised brooder. Just about a week after that post they had grown enough that the crate was becoming quite cramped. I spent a few hours in the morning taking apart old crates and piecing them back together to create a much larger pen. I lined the floor with cardboard and covered that in wood shavings. I set up the heat lamps in one corner, the food and water centrally and added some roosts in the corners.
This pen has been working really well! It gives the birds a lot more space to be birds, and makes cleaning/feeding them easier. I recommend adding lots of roosts! The birds love them and boy are they cute all puffed up perched on them.
When I first put the water can in the pen I placed it on the ground and within an hour it was full of bedding, poop and food. It is designed to hang and works much better that way. If it is suspended just low enough that the birds can reach they will not be able to make a mess of it.
I had some bad luck with the feeding tray I purchased. First it was sharp and difficult to use which in its self was a pain. Second it is a tray that goes on the ground so the birds would make a huge mess of it and I had to change it twice day. It also has very small holes for feeding and the chickens weren’t able to eat all of the food. I noticed that when I would go to change the food the chickens would be quite aggressive. Once a bird bit me and hung off my arms as I tried to remove the dish. Although it hurt a bit it was pretty hilarious. I assumed they were defending their home but was a little hurt that my babies were so mean. But I started to notice when I put the dish back in they would swarm it aggressively. So Toby pulled the lid off half way as an experiment and sure enough the part with no lid was cleaned out in an hour. I tried using it without the lid but they mostly threw the food all over the place. Finally I picked up a hanging style feed that has worked one hundred times better!
Toby’s dad Randy lent us a chicken tractor to use until we get ours built (hopefully this weekend). So I have been putting them outside during the day. They love to be outside but hate the commute. I have a Rubbermaid tote that I put them in and carry them back and forth. It is getting harder everyday. They are getting bigger and sneakier! They fly out of the tote faster than I can get them in. Needless to say I am excited the have the permanent coop built so I don’t have to carry them. I am also getting nervous about when the roosters become more aggressive.
Frisket is learning that the chickens are friends not food, but he really wants to play with them. Hopefully when the roosters get a little bigger they will show him who’s boss and that will be the end of that.
So that is whats going on with our flock! I’ll be sure to send photos when we get our coop built and our first eggs!!