The Chicken Chronicles - Chapter Two

The Chicken Chronicles – Chapter One showed you the skeleton of our future coop. Chapter Two introduces you to the reason our coop construction began in earnest.

We had chickens years ago – in fact we still have all the necessary “chicken equipment” to feed and water our small flock. We stopped keeping them for reasons I can’t quite remember. I had been yearning for a small flock of chickens for a long time and we kept telling ourselves that we would build a coop and bring home chicks but that project was never on our “do it now” list. Then, in early June, our neighbor called to tell us that one of her hens had gone broody. For those who don’t know – broody means that a hen has decided to sit on a clutch of eggs and, hopefully, hatch the chicks. Anyway, she offered us the chicks – when and if they hatched!! Alll right! Now all we had to do was wait for the chicks to hatch.

June 2012

Waiting for the chicks to hatch turned out to be the easy part. Greg and I, after the initial “Wow!! We have chicks!”, looked at each other and realized we had no place to house the chicks. You heard me – – NO COOP!! Gads!! What were we thinking? Truth be told the chicks were a kick in the you know what for us to begin the construction of a coop. We have a very small budget so this project will consist of mostly repurposed “stuff”. I look at our collection of materials and I say “It looks like a coop to me!” Greg just rolls his eyes and shakes his head knowing full well that we have a long way to go before we have a predator safe coop ready to house chickens through an Ohio winter.

Meanwhile the Black Copper Maren chicks – 13 hatched! – will stay in a homemade cage loaned to us by the same friends that gave us the chicks.

We wrapped the chain link cage with a “just in case” layer of chicken wire to keep out nocturnal critters – aka. raccoons – looking for late night snacks.

First night – We brought the chicks home, they have been fed, watered, and are settling in for their first night in their new home. My motherly instinct tells me to bring the chicks into the house for the night but everyone insists that they will be just fine. So we are off to bed for a restless night.

AAARAUGH!!! The next morning we find 11 chicks huddled tightly together in a corner of the cage. Two chicks are gone! “Something evil” managed to get into the cage by burrowing a hole through the dirt floor. To say I am outraged is an understatement. We obviously have to reinforce the cage – again. Greg wraps the floor of the cage with metal hardware cloth to prevent tunneling and we move the cage to a protected spot under an overhang and behind the wood pile. This new spot will also keep them drier if it rains. You can see the roll of chicken wire to the left of the cage door. When we close the chicks in for the night we close the door and roll the chicken wire across the front of the cage.

Night two – Off to bed – though I would prefer to sleep on the ground next to the cage.

The next morning AAARAUGH!!! We find another chick missing and a second with one wing gone. “Something evil” has managed to squirm between the outside wrap of chicken wire and the chain link cage, get into and out of the cage! My poor babies! What do the raccoons think this is a – personal food pantry?! Now what? We decide to use pieces of wire to secure the chicken wire wrap tightly to the chain link cage.

Night three – We wake to find all the chicks alive and having breakfast. All is well! The raccoons were out but could not breach our reinforced cage. Yay!! Next step – – we know that we cannot keep the chicks jailed in their small coop 24/7 so we build a temporary daytime enclosure. First thing every morning we gather the babies up and put them into their playground. They can feel the ground under their feet and the sunlight on their heads. They love the freedom of the space and spend their days busy with bugs and grass.

 

All right – we have our chicks temporarily but safely housed. We have a corn crib foundation, a collection of lumber, windows, tin, etc., etc. Next – Greg and son Nick concentrate on building the coop. Stay tuned for “The Chicken Chronicles – Chapter Three” – construction begins.

Hey from the farm,

Fran The Country Cousin

Share this post with others!

Please leave us a comment, we love to hear from you!

 

 

 

*