The Big Move

Entrance to the new digs!

Entrance to the new digs!

Today is Saturday and that means that the babies are at least two weeks old – maybe 15 days.  Since they arrived before dawn at the post office on Monday morning, February 9th, I am guessing they were born and shipped on the previous Friday… but maybe Saturday.  Anyway, I digress.  Today has been a big day!  We moved the babies out to their new, permanent home – our recently completed chicken coop/garden shed!

My big motivation to move them was Cool (soon to be permanently named – I am tired of calling them by colors, breeds, and other temporary names); she is the most advanced flier in the group and was spending her free time hopping on and off the tops of the feeders and waterers.  And like I said before – it’s only about 6 more inches from there to the top of the brooder and to freedom.  Anywho, this made it so I had to put a piece of wire cloth over the top as a lid to prevent escapees.  This wasn’t so good because they were very afraid every time I had to move the lid.

The reason for the move.

The reason for the move.

 

So, I told our builder that I was moving the chicks into the coop on Saturday morning and so it simply had to be done and sercure by the end of Friday.  This shouldn’t have been a hard goal, considering he told me he would be totally done every week for the past four weeks.  Anyway, he stepped up and finished yesterday, other than the outside doors for the nesting boxes (so we can gather eggs from outside the coop), which he will return to finish in a week or two, at no extra charge to me since he was supposed to be done yesterday.  So, here are some pictures of the finished product.  Not too shabby.

The finished coop!

The finished coop!

Another angle on the coop
Another angle on the coop
The run is definitely fancier than what I had originally envisioned, but I feel really good about it.  It is very sturdy and set in and surrounded by concrete, so I feel like it’s about as secure as it could be.
The Run

The Run

The Run (different view)

The Run (different view)

Close up view of the run - that's "the post" in the middle - I am going to paint it and maybe attach perches to it someday

Close up view of the run - that's "the post" in the middle - I am going to paint it and maybe attach perches to it someday

First thing this morning I headed out to prepare the coop for the babies.  We had a hard frost last night which was still around at about 8am when I headed out.  Yes, that made me nervous.  I looked at the thermometer on the outside of the coop – 30 degrees.  Oh boy.  Then I went inside to check the internal temp – 28.  Awesome.  It’s COLDER INSIDE THAN OUT.  Anyway, ignoring that and telling myself that the two brooder lamps will be enough warmth if I hang them close enough to the floor, I set about making it a home for the chickies.  I put down a layer of shavings on the floor and I hooked up the new, second brooder lamp.  I then tested the temperature below and around the lamp – it was up over 90 degrees.  At this point, they should be good with about 80 degrees, but I figure with the cold air all around them, the extra heat is good and they can hang out as near to or far from the heat as they like.  Satisfied that they at least wouldn’t freeze immediately, I went in and grabbed their feeders and waterers, cleaned and refilled them and set them up in the coop.
Setting up the coop for the babies

Setting up the coop for the babies

OK, at this point it was time for the Chicken Catcher (aka “Brian”) to do his job (for some reason he is much better at this than I am.
The Chicken Catcher

The Chicken Catcher - be afraid, chickies - be VERY afriad.

While I was finishing setting up their food and water, Brian went about rounding up the babies and placing them in a cardboard box for transportation.  They weren’t thrilled.

Chickies in the moving box - sorry it's blurry.  It's the only one I took.

Chickies in the moving box - sorry it's blurry. It's the only one I took.

 Then we whisked them quickly out to their new home.  It was still scarily cold inside, but warming up.

Nearly 40 degrees inside at the time of move-in.

Nearly 40 degrees inside at the time of move-in.

At this point there was nothing to do but go for it – tip the box over and let them come out of their own accords.  Some were better at this than others.  Some of the Marans and Cool the Ameraucana were the first to head out into the unknown.  They have historically been the boldest of the chickies, so no surprise there.

Coming out of the box.

Coming out of the box.

 

My four boldest babies

My four boldest babies

Soon, most of the others followed suit.

Others cautiously follow the leaders

Others cautiously follow the leaders

 Eventually a Buff Orpington gave it a shot.

"Hey, guys!  Wait for me!"

"Hey, guys! Wait for me!"

However, not surprisingly, a few of the babies remained terrified.

"Maybe if we don't look, it will all go away!"

"Maybe if we don't look, it will all go away!"

I felt sorry for the poor, scared babies (two Buff Orpingtons, two Ameraucanas, and Mystery chick – the typical scardy-cats of the group) and wanted to let them keep the box for a while since I thought it made them feel secure.  But, Brian said we should dump them out of the box and take it away to forced them to stop hiding and get going with the food, water, and heat.  He was right.  We waited a while and those guys just sat there in a clump like that and then we finally gently tipped them out and took the box away.  They immediately went over to the others and started eating and drinking and peeping happily.  It was the right thing to do.

Happiness in the new coop.

Happiness in the new coop.

 Within mintues, they were back to business as usual, almost like nothing had changed.

finally a good perspective on Mystery Chick's relative size - see how small she (he?) is next to the others?

finally a good perspective on Mystery Chick's relative size - see how small she (he?) is next to the others?

They were particulalry fond of the little custard cup we used to bring in some extra food to entice them out of the box initially.  It is SO MUCH fun because you can jump on it, in it, and tip it over!  It is also excellent for a game of Feeder Jump – wait until three of four of your friends are eating and then get up on the block of wood nearby and divebomb them, landing directly in the middle of the bowl of food!  Could life be any better?  (sorry, no pics of Feeder Jump yet)

Eating from the ramekin

Eating from the ramekin

Also, flying is more fun in the new coop because there is more space and you can really get a good running start!  After all this fun, it is quite enjoyable to stretch out under the heat lamp.  It’s like a chicky spa!

Basking in the warmth of the brooder

Basking in the warmth of the brooder

Well, that’s it so far for news on the move.  We have been checking on them regularly and all seems to be well.  I will start to worry more as the sun goes down and the temperature drops.  Sunset is in about 20 minutes.  Hopefully the lamps will keep them warm enough.  I am happy because the low tonight is only about 40 – instead of the 20s like last night!  I will keep you posted on how they are doing!

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2 thoughts on “The Big Move

  1. AWESOME CHICKIE HOME. My babies are green with envy :) They’re still stuck in the house, without a coop to poop in.

  2. I’ve been so busy so no time to comment – but I can’t stand it anymore! :) My first and still favorite is Mystery Chick. I hope it’s a girl, and I love her sweet color and temperament – yay for scardy-cats! This is such a fun blog to follow – and gotta love the super-stoned look of brother in that picture – always the photogenic one. :) Yay chickies!!

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