Sunday, June 01, 2008

Empty Nest

Before the chicks even got here, I had decided that I would remove them from the brooder and put them inside their coop when they were two weeks old. At two weeks, chicks can regulate their own body temperature and wouldn't require the constant attention I knew I would have to lavish on them the first 14 days. After I got the chicks, I began to question whether or not I would be willing to tolerate the 50 foot distance between the coop and me. I've quickly grown extremely attached to these little peepers and find comfort in looking in on them at all hours of the day and night.

Well, the past few days sealed the deal. It had gotten to the point that I could not even open the lid on the brooder to play with them without one of them attempting to fly out - namely our First Woman in Flight around here, Amelia. I also noticed they were all trying to fly inside their tiny brooder and I came to realize they would be much happier with the additional space the coop would provide. So, with no small amount of sadness, we moved our little babies to the big coop today.

Before I post the pictures of the chicks, I should probably show you the coop. We finished up painting the trim and will get the chicken yard fenced in within the next week or so. The chicks won't be going outside until the fence is completed and covered with a shrimp net my uncle gave me to keep out chicken hawks and other predators from above:


As difficult as the thought of moving the chicks to the coop was, it was even more difficult to catch all of them and put them in the box for transport. Their discovery of flight did not help any at all. But I got 23 terrified chicks into a box and carried them out to the coop. I sat on the floor and removed each from the box and each one ran over to the furthest corner from me and huddled in absolute terror. Get a load of Amelia in this picture (upper left), Prairie Doggin' her head above all the others and staring at me:


That picture cracks me up. The White Faced Black Spanish are the most alert of the group. At any rate, they were acting so scared that I was just about to chalk the whole thing up to a terrible mistake, load them all back up in the box, and take them back in the house to the brooder when little Lucy broke away from the rest and headed right over to me. For the tiniest, she sure is the bravest. When the others saw her courage, they started moving towards me too. They began pecking at the ground and scratching and looking a lot more relaxed. Lucy found a little clump of grass mixed in with the pine chips:


Bernie and I left them to explore for a while. I went back out about 30 minutes later, and they were running around chasing each other, flapping their little wings and attempting flight, scratching like crazy, and just seemed to be having the time of their life. I've been out several times this afternoon to sit with them a while, and they are really enjoying that coop. Lucy found a little, tiny spider and nailed it on the second peck! They all seem much more happy with this arrangement than I am. I will really miss having them right under my nose 24 hours a day.

I put additional pictures up on the Chicken Coop Deville page of the website.

So we have an empty nest here, but the chicks seem to really love their new digs. The coop is built solid and is certainly safe from any predators. Their heat lamp is on and should keep them at the 80 degrees they're accustomed to.

I'm a little sad, but it really makes me happy watching them run and fly and play. I hope they'll miss me, just a little. I'd hate to think I'd raised a bunch of ungrateful little peeps.

Bee Free,


Michele said...

The chicks new home is beautiful. Lucky chicks! Have you been able to figure out what breed the adventuresome little Lucy is? said...

Hi Michele - Little Lucy is a White Faced Black Spanish. Those, and the Golden Penciled Hamburgs are the only 2 breeds I could tell apart immediately. The other 3 all look alike! It is a huge source of curiosity to me. Although, I do believe I have identified the lone Silver Dorking rooster.

White Faced Black Spanish are supposed to be rather "unfriendly", but my experience is quite the opposite. Mine are extremely alert and curious little dare devils, and very friendly and sweet.

Take care,