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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Moving Day...and the Chick Condo

On Sunday, the chicks woke up and it was business as usual. They had been living in a 50 gallon container for the past 2 weeks in our laundry room. If you have ever raised chicks, you know that this was pretty much as long as you want them inside. They were making tons of chick dust and didn't smell too great. I decided to move them outdoors sooner than last year's chicks (which were brooded in a bathroom destined for demolition - so the chick dust wasn't a big deal).

We have plans to build a permanent chicken coop so all the chickens can live together (currently White Chicken and Brown Chicken have their own place). But that is a few months out. In the meantime, I wanted a semi-permanent shelter that was similar to a chicken tractor and allowed the chicks to be on grass. Thus, the Chick Condo was built.

The Chick Condo was built using 2x4 pieces leftover from gates we constructed for our new fence. There were just enough to make a 3' x 3' square, that is 18" high. The roof is some plastic from an old greenhouse. A few other scrap pieces of wood and old baseboards completed the structure. I wrapped chicken wire around the walls and added 2 pieces of culled lumber ($.50 a piece) as walls until the weather warms. A leftover hinge and latch allowed me to hang the door without a trip to the hardware store. The condo has two access points, the door and through the roof. I built it so the roof can lift off in case we need to access the chicks and they run into the corner like this:

I also put in a roost. On Sunday the chicks didn't attempt to get on it, but now many of them have been able to fly/jump up. They are still sleeping on the ground (next to the heat lamp), but I expect they will be roosting soon.

The last thing I did was to let out Brown Chicken and White Chicken so they could free range and "meet" the chicks. The ironic thing about the meeting was that White Chicken seemed to be afraid of the chicks and ran across the yard and hid under the patio table. Brown Chicken quickly followed suit. I called them out and they returned to their foraging. They have been okay since.


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