We started off this week with a cold front moving through dropping our lows into the 40’s. This coming off of mid 80’s feels really cold. In addition, the wind has been fierce, but our chicks are nice and comfy in their brooder box in our basement as they await their new coop.
Even though they are nice and comfy, they are not happy about staying in their brooder without getting their outdoor time each day. They’ve really enjoyed their jaunts outside lately. They have no idea that it has gotten chilly again and will be for a few days.
When we replace their food and water and clean up in their home, they regularly attempt an escape. I don’t blame them; they’ve fallen in love with the great outdoors. Each day they are visibly larger and I’m sure ready for more open space.
Steven started on the coop Friday after work. He put together the basic frame and legs before calling it a night. We are using wood from the demolition of our house project. Some is new but we are using what we can salvage from our pile.
We are not using plans for our coop. I basically told my husband that I wanted a 6 foot by 8 foot coop that was on legs so I can push the wheel barrel over to it for cleaning. My idea was to be able to shovel or sweep out the coop and deliver the goods to the compost pile.
Before we picked up our chicks we watched several chicken coop tours on youtube and even personally visited some chicken coops. We took various ideas from each and made our own plan. It’s been fun putting those ideas together.
On Saturday the coop really started looking like a coop. On went floor boards, then vinyl flooring (for easy cleaning) and then the front and back walls went up. By the time my hubby called it a day, he also had the roof boards on. We did help him where we could, but most of the work was done by my love. Thanks Honey!
On Monday, The side framing and windows went in. Hooray for saving some old windows! Our girls will have plenty of light year round in their soon to be lovely home.
On Tuesday we were so thankful for the sunshine and much calmer wind. We were able to let the chicks roam the yard for a bit and they were very happy about it. They had been stuck inside their brooder box for days. We attempted to feed them some dried worms, but they are not interested in that yet. We do have a couple that will eat wild strawberries though.
Two of our chicks were acting weird outside, they kind of laid over on their side with their wing laying limp and closed their eyes. They looked kind of dead. I was worried something was wrong, but as soon as another chick came close or a sudden noise happened they hopped up and walked off like normal. The chick who did this the most, was also panting which really worried us. We haven’t noticed this before. We made sure she had fresh water and put her back inside. We’ll watch her for any more odd behaviors. A search on “chickens panting” turned up nothing unfortunately.
Wednesday we took the girls for another jaunt outside. They love it and so do we. One of the funny things about chickens is how they run for cover when they hear a loud noise. When we have them outside they either run under us or they run and hide in a bush that is nearby and then they freeze and listen.
The odd behavior from Tuesday was not seen today at all. The chicks all look great and healthy. They seem to prefer roosting on our arms or sitting on Mason, at least this one did.
On Thursday some of our chicks were doing that same weird behavior from Tuesday. I noticed they were in the sun even though there was plenty of shade for them. This was the same weather situation from Tuesday so I googled “Do chickens sunbathe?” and guess what they do! They sunbathe to get certain vitamins, to control lice and mite populations and to dry themselves if they’ve gotten damp in a puddle or moist soil. Don’t you just love the internet?
At the end of week 5 our chicken coop looks like this. The roof is on and Steven has started putting the old wood on the outside. There isn’t much on yet, but already we can see how adorable this is going to be. It really adds some charm. If our weather permits, it might be finished this weekend. Our girls will be in their new home before long. We are so excited!!
Will the girls be in their new home next week? Will the coop even be finished? What predator proofing will we add to our coop and surroundings? How fast do waddles grow? Stay tuned for next week’s account.