First she was sitting on her eggs in one of the next boxes, which are about 18" off the floor of the coop. The nest boxes were great for sitting, not so good for new chicks, so we know we had to move her. Despite the fact we had 21 days to get ready, we didn't. That sounds a bit sluggardly, and I suppose it is, but that's the way it was. We found our solution in an old pet carrier.
|The duct tape wall is to keep wood chips and chicks in.|
|In place in the coop before putting the chick feeder, waterer and 'family' in.|
|All loaded up! It was just the thing... for a couple of days.|
|Mama and chicks settle for the night in the corner of the coop rather than in the box.|
With the basic shelter, food, and water problems resolved, the next problem was security. Our fencing around the run was fine for adult and even young birds, but not for chicks. They ran in and out as they pleased, which would had been fine were it not for the host of local predators, include all manner of neighborhood cats, in the area. We had to seal it up!
To complicate matters (my fault - all my fault) I let Houdini and the chicks out for a supervised stroll in the grass. They all enjoyed a few minutes of wandering in the grass around the stroll before Mama took her babies under the coop and settled in for the night. It took a bit of doing, but we got her out and back in the coop. The new top of the to-do list was to close up the run and the space under the coop.
|Wire tying 12"chicken wire to the existing fence "chick proofed" the run.|
|The challenge is getting the fence to cover the places where the girls take their dust baths.|
|Fixing the coop meant taking the step off and sealing off the path to the 'underworld'.|
|All done with the step still off...|
|And all back together.|
|The door sweep seals up the gap pretty well|
|Mama and babies enjoying the run. Hers is the dark one, the other is from an Orpington.|
It's been a busy few days, but other than a getting a better brooding area in place, I think we could handle more chicks if another hen goes broody.