We have a streak of warm days and mild nights ahead and the chicklets have gotten way too big for the brooder. They are able to cope in the garage without a heat lamp now and get absolutely frisky if taken out in the sun or on a really warm day. They clearly need more space before they start pecking each other. I hung a “Baby Block” toy/feeder in their brooder to try to help and put two perches in there, but they need more room.
They can foul that cage is less than a day. Preparations were made today to do some moving around.
The coop is 4 X 8 feet inside, discounting the 6 nesting boxes attached to the outside of one wall. Since the plan is to leave only the 2 Buff Orpington hens and the 1 Americana hen and possibly Cogburn, but I am leaning toward removing him as well, I have created a divider that will give the 10 chicks 2/3 of the coop and the 3 hens will have 1/3 with 2 nesting boxes for nighttime and egg laying. After they all go to bed tonight, Jim and I will remove the other 6 hens and Cogburn, maybe to the chicken tractor and temporary run.
This is going to stir things up in the pecking order. I installed two nesting boxes in the chicken tractor today, but I anticipate the girls going on strike and either not laying for a while or laying their eggs on the ground. After the coop is opened tomorrow and the remaining 3 hens go out to eat and drink, I will use the staple gun to erect plastic poultry fencing over the new framing and to close off the 4 remaining nesting boxes and the chicks will be moved into the coop. They will be able to see the hens, but for now, they won’t be able to leave the coop. After a few more weeks and some growth, I will make a passageway for them to leave the coop, but scoot back to safety if feeling threatened. For a while, they will have food and water in the coop with them. Once they are large enough to share the coop and run with the big girls, the netting and framing will be removed and they will share the coop. My goal is for the hens to sit eggs for future chicks, but that will either mean keeping Cogburn or another rooster, or buying fertilized eggs and slipping them under a broody hen for hatching. I’ll have to make that decision before eldest son comes in late summer to put the hens in freezer camp.