Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chicks! Yea! - Chicks? Oh no!

I posted a couple of weeks ago that Houdini the Easter Egger had gone broody.  We let her sit on three eggs: one of her own and two others.  Last week she hatched out hers and one others.  We love the idea of having chicks and these are our first, but we discovered we were less than prepared "parents".

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.
After a couple of days the chicks were able jump right over the wall, so we took it out.  The carrier is still in the coop to hold the chick food and the chick waterer.

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.
We were feeling pretty good about the work done so far when the little chicks zipped out from under the door and into the grassy yard.  Mama had a chicken fit and the babies needed some help to find their back in.  Next up:  Fix the gap under the door.  We found some rubber mat and made a loop under the door to act as a door sweep.  We also sealed up the area at the end of the 'veranda'.

The door sweep seals up the gap pretty well
We still want to add a row of landscaping bricks around the edge, but we think the improvements put us in pretty good shape for chicks.

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.

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. Simple. Easy-peasy. No sweat. How hard can keeping chickens (and chicks) be? It's all so easy.


    Have so been there and so done that. (About a thousand times, each situation being just a tad different.) Kinda makes ya wonder who is the more intelligent being and who is the bird brain. :o)

    1. Mama Pea - We are definitely learning that our sometime stupid birds have a combination of determination and ingenuity that creates all kind of challenges. Still we love having the chicks and seeing them grow.