Today dawned gray, but mild and looked like it might be a good day to work on the weeds in the grape bed. After turning the pups out for a romp and to do their business and feeding them and me, I walked over to the coop to let the chicks out. When I opened the door, I noticed that Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee, the mammoth white meat birds had been pecked to the blood. Plans changed to trying to find a solution as I knew that I had too many chickies in the coop and have worried for a couple of days for a cheap solution to separating them into two flocks, the keepers for eggs and the meat birds that will be harvested in a few weeks for the freezer. I don’t know who the culprit doing the pecking was, as one of the unknown breed white birds and one of the pretty Silver Laced Wyandottes roosters are pretty feisty. The Wyandotte, after pecking at both hubby and me has been named Little Bastard and is sure for the freezer as soon as he has enough size.
My initial idea was to enclose the base of the raised coop and divide the run, but it really was only marginally large enough. On our way to buy the supplies to try to solve the problem, hubby and I discussed my digging out one of the compost bins and building a temporary run in front of it. When we got home with the wire and posts, we found the two new smaller pullets not only out of their temporary pen, but also out of the coop and the run, happily grazing in the compost bin.
After much digging and stapling chicken wire around the inside of the compost bin, the cage wire was strung around 8 metal fence posts and topped with plastic poultry mesh to keep hawks out and chicks in, a huge tarp doubled and stapled over the prevailing wind and rain side and the top and moved 11 of the chickies to the new pen.
That solved part of the problem, hopefully without inviting every predator in the county to come feast. The next problem was to find a solution to separating Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee from the rest of the chicks as they are so big and so lazy now that they have become targets for bullying. We had a large dog crate unoccupied in the garage, so it was put to use as a resting area for the two. I divided the run to make a separate fenced area for them, the width of the cage and the length of the run with their own food and water and they are happier too.
The only remaining problem is keeping the newest two chicks separate from the other potential egg layers, at least until they are larger or accepted by the flock, so I redesigned their pen inside the coop to give them access to the perches. They are sharing the coop with only 8 other birds now and hopefully the aggression will tame down and everyone will be happier for the remainder of their time on the farm.