My morning began after another restless, sleepless night with chores and the drive to make the Chicken Tractor secure for the chicks I was expecting to begin hatching tomorrow or Saturday. Last night, we bought two 2X4’s supposedly 8 feet long. I was given 10 foot lumber, so first thing, I had to cut 2 feet off of the boards. They were placed lengthwise as floor joists and a double layer of metal poultry fence was stapled down and 1 X 2’s screwed down on top of the outer edges where the hardware cloth sides were pulling loose. This secured the edges and the sides simultaneously on one lengthwise half of the coop.
The other half back section had hardware cloth stapled down and 1 x 2’s secured over the edges. The front section was floored with whatever random scrap lumber I could find that was long enough to cut to 26 inch sections.
The scrap 2 x 4’s were used to close up the spaces under the ends of the coop where I think the Opossum must have entered last week. If anything gets under the ends now, they will be foiled by the flooring. As I was finishing up and trying to get 3 nesting boxes together to put inside, Daughter came out to see if she could help. She had been inside cleaning up as her MIL is due for a weekend visit shortly. I ran out of staples for the staple gun and came into the house to get more staples and she called to me to come quick. She had opened the egg door of the main coop to check for eggs and found this.
My efforts were just in time. Momma Hen #2 has 6 chicks, 2 pipping, and 2 that haven’t started yet. I quickly threw down hay in the chicken tractor, placed the nesting boxes inside with clean straw in them and we discussed how to manage this move, which I had hoped to accomplish after dark tonight. Mamma Hen #4 is pretty docile and is the last of the three expected to hatch, so I picked her up and we moved her eggs and her to the new nesting box in the Tractor and she settled right down. Momma Hen 2 and 3 are my two oldest and are very feisty, pecking at you if you approach. Momma Hen 3 is the one who left her nest then tried to steal eggs and she decided that the chicks were hers and tried to collected them under her with her eggs. We decided to take her, as she is the one due to hatch her clutch next, within a day or two and move her as well and then move Momma Hen#2 and her new brood last. As soon as Momma Hen 3 was put on her nest, she left it to try to take the chicks again so we moved her back to the coop with her clutch until Momma Hen 2 finishes hatching and settles with her babies. Hopefully by the time Momma Hen 3’s clutch starts to hatch, we will move her again. Once all have hatched and they know where to go at night, we will start letting them into part of the run. I will erect the temporary fence to give them a protected space for a few days and later let them all run together with the flock.
As soon as the new large meat bird coop is completed, we will begin to cull and separate the keepers from the rest and the run will return to the laying hens. We can already tell that one of the two remaining 4 week old chicks is a cockrell. He has a much larger tail and is larger than his sibling. One of the teenage Americaunas is also a cockrell. They are both destined for the cull pen.
In the midst of us moving chickens around, the neighbor who hays our fields came hoping for a dry afternoon. They no sooner raked the part that has been mowed when the afternoon rain began again. I guess they will finish it eventually. I’m glad that I’m not relying on this hay for animals, but he is, so he is hoping for an end to the afternoon rains.