Sixteen 5+ week old chicks are just too much for the 110 gallon hard rubber water trough that they have been in for the past 5 weeks. As few day old chicks, they looked lost in it with room for two mother tables, a 1 quart water dispenser and a 1 quart feeder and still plenty of room to run and chase. By 3 weeks old, they needed larger dispensers for feed and water as they would go through the quart in half a day and the gallon size ones took up more room, plus by then they also needed a small container of baby grit. Now, they are just too large, they are teenage chicklets and a couple have even escaped into the garage to be confused and terrified wondering what had happened, even though there was a window screen over the top. They needed more space.
After the morning school drop offs and the return home, a realization that they needed to be cleaned again and almost no way to do that without chicklets flying all over the place, they were caught a few at a time, place in a giant bucket, covered with a feed sack and carried over to their new digs. Their feeder and a 3 gallon nipple water dispenser, one of their mother tables, and the pint of grit were added to their new space.
This coop is raised off the ground on a raft of cedar logs sitting on large rocks, covered with several inches of hay, then soil, rocks around the inside edge to further deter predators and the soil covered in a thick layer of hay. The coop is fondly called Huck’s Coop. I just couldn’t resist during the construction last year.
The brooder tub had pine shavings in the floor, so the chicklets were at first unsure of the new surface, but quickly discovered it was fun to play with.
There is much chasing, grabbing leaves and running off with several others in pursuit to see what goody had been acquired. A much larger space.
This coop has three perch bars and a ramp up to them where I am sure the teenagers will soon discover and will be found huddled in a tight mass at night. Until then, they still have their familiar mother table to sit on or huddle under. They have been in the unheated garage for more than a week now and all of them are fully feathered except for a few fuzzy heads. For the next week, the ends of the A frame will be blocked at night to cut down on drafts.
In about a week, once they think of this coop as home, they will be let out into a spacious run enclosed with rabbit fence so they can’t squeeze out and topped with a sheet of bird net to keep the flying predators from swooping down for a meal. They will live in this coop for about 5 or 6 weeks and then they will take over the main coop. At about 22 weeks old, we should start seeing some pullet eggs from this crowd. With 16 layers instead of the current 6, one hen doesn’t lay anymore, there should be plenty of eggs for our use and to share with friends and family.
If any of the big girls decide to brood this year, they will take over Huck’s coop to raise their littles.