We made a few changes in the brooder this week. First of all we had to add chicken wire to the top of it. We came downstairs one morning to find one of the chicks “roosting” (where they sit on a branch or ledge) on the lip of the Rubbermaid tub!
The chicks kept being naughty and kicking bedding into their water and pooping in it. So I took an unused dog bowl, put it in the brooder upside down, and put the waterer on that to elevate it. It’s working well so far and the chicks aren’t getting nearly as much bedding in it as before! I also ended up doing the same thing with their feeder, because they like to kick bedding into it.
We also added a “roosting pole” this week. Chickens like to have an area to roost on while they sleep. For the chicks in the brooder, something just a few inches off of the ground works just fine. I just put an unused piece of 2×4 wood in there and they seem to like it. One morning five of them were sleeping in a row on it. When they move into the chicken coop we will have roosting poles for them that are as high as 5 feet off of the ground. The chickens have a natural instinct to sleep on an elevated branch to protect themselves from predators.
Speaking of the coop, we did some more work on it this week. Last Sunday I spent the majority of the day cleaning out all of the extra dirt, dust, and debris that were left after we got all of the wood out of it. I also removed the random shelves that were in there to give us a clean slate to work with.
We got to work on building their nesting boxes, which is where they will lay eggs in the coop. This was our first construction project, and I think we did a pretty good job. I did the measuring and drew the lines, Barry cut out the pieces, and then we (mostly Barry) did the drilling and put the screws in. The one divider ended up a little crooked, but Barry was able to fix it. That may or may not have been the one I put the screws in for…
|The front, where the hens will enter and exit|
The boxes are roughly 1 ft x 1 ft, with a 4 inch piece on the front to keep any droppings from falling out. We did the backs of the panels higher, around 20 inches, so that the roof can be slanted to discourage the birds from roosting on top of the nesting boxes. We mounted the boxes inside the coop about 2 1/2 feet off of the ground. They don’t need a ramp or anything to get up there, they just jump.
|There’s a hatch door on the backside so that we can access the eggs
without going inside the coop. It still needs a latch, though.
We also installed our roosting poles in the coop. They are about 4 1/2 and 5 feet off of the ground. We built the table/shelf area under it to keep a tray on. Chickens tend to make the most droppings in their roosting area, so we will keep the tray on the tabletop under the poles so that this area can be cleaned more frequently than the coop itself. It also gives us an area underneath to keep plastic tubs with their bags of feed.
Lastly, the chickens had their first outdoor adventure! Since it was warm out, we decided to let them walk around out in the backyard for a bit.
They were very curious about the grass and also thought it was fun to hop back and forth through the holes in the chain link fence.
The very first picture at the top of this post was from last night. These pictures are from earlier in the week (maybe Tuesday or Wednesday). They’ve changed so much already in that short amount of time!
I am getting ready to move the chicks into yet another larger brooder today, as they have outgrown the Rubbermaid tub that we were using. We stopped by a furniture store yesterday and picked up a larger cardboard box to use. A few more weeks and they’ll be done with the brooder all together! My babies are growing up 🙂 haha