Tuesday, May 7, 2013

from chicks to small birds

Our little chicks are growing fast.  They are now three weeks old.  The grandkids no longer want to pick them up and cuddle them.  Something about them not being cute anymore.  And the fact that they are too big to trap in their hands.
Day old chick

10 days old
Their feathers are coming in quite fast now.  They are actually quite scruffy looking.  Their wing feathers are getting long and they are starting to use them.  We have even had lift off.  I am afraid they might end up flying out of the brooder box (trough) so I took the side rail from an old crib and covered the top.  They won't be able to get between the bars.
3 weeks old
chicken jail

 Rod and I are busy building a chicken coop to hold the ladies.  Our original plan was a simple 4x8 coop. Then Rod figured 8x8 would give them more room and we could have a feed room.  Well,  8x8 soon became 12x8.  Since were are building the coop out of wood pallets we increased the size by 4 ft increments.  I will now have an 8x8 coop with a 4x8 feed room attached.

Stack of pallets for building
We have been collecting pallets from the building supply stores.  My job has been to knock the pallets apart and collect the boards for filling in the spaces between the "building" pallets. Some pallets are much easier to dismantle than others.  I will need over 100 4ft boards.  Once those are nailed on we will use narrower boards to cover the gaps and complete the outside of the coop.  The coop will be 8 ft high at the front and 6 at the back.  There will be windows on both the front and back for air flow. 

First row of pallets

Needs a second row on top

original front door
We found one window at the reuse store.  We are still looking for another suitable (cheap) window.(Found another window tonight)  We also need a secure door.  We found in the basement the original door for the farm house.  It had been removed from the front and used as the door to the walk up but it never fit properly so Rod removed it and replaced it with a door that didn't let bugs and critters in.  Since it is an original door it doesn't seem right to use it on the chicken coop. We have decided to exchange it with the door in the mudroom.  This way I will have light through the window into the feed room.
nice carvings
door for chicken coop
We also plan on building a chicken run.  That is as close to "free range" as we are willing to get.  So far we haven't had any trouble with predators but no point in tempting fate.  The chickens will be in the paddock with the goats so the large animals will have to get through 2 fences to get to them.  We will need to cover the top of the run to keep the hawks and owls from swooping down on them.

A lot of work for fresh farm eggs.  Hope they are as tasty as everyone says they are.