It sounds like we've all been busy little bees. I had NO IDEA how much work we'd be doing nor did I have any idea how much money we'd be putting into these girls. lol We're trying to get ready for winter around the house and things have been busy here. We've been shoveling dirt from a pile my husband had sent for fill from the county. The idea was it was supposed to be great for filling our garden and/or repairing the lawn that is uneven. Our neighbor has joked that it's our very own mountain. I look at it and just shake my head. It's work. It has stones in it and one HUGE bolder on the top . Lets not even mention the large weeds growing from it. We're finally making a dent in it but I hope it's gone before snow sets in. It was dumped in my front lawn where had things gone right, would have had more flower beds in it. Instead, I've been shoveling weeds into a bin, he dumps it for composting behind the fence line. At least he has learned not to do that again. Hahaha
We managed to get the run door squared away. It needs some tweaking but it's great now. We had one roost up for a couple of weeks which we purchased dowels from home depot and those closet shelving thing-a-ma-bobs with the hooks. I couldn't believe all fluffy butts finally jumped up. My husband said they were laying on each other staying warm the other night. We're planning to put the second one up tomorrow, get some work done in the run and I hope we'll have some time to get the plastic tarps you've all mentioned. I would love to see what your using to hold the tarps down with and are you using them just on the roof of your run or are you also using big enough clear plastic to run along the sides as well leaving a small area open?
We'll put some festive tube lights around the coop and run like suggested here and we already have some in the coop. The water issue in the coop. That was an excellent question! I don't know why I didn't think about the heating coil element causing issues with the pine chips. I'm glad that was brought up. I was going to start some fermented feed shortly. We have a tube with regular dry chick feed in it but I thought maybe we should make some fermented feed. Maybe the water and fermented feed should be in the run portion then since they both will need the heated bowls? I had also thought we'd use the bales of straw around the run to keep it insulated a little. I think someone mentioned this earlier. I would love to see your winterized coops and run pictures as you work it out this year.
Welcome to all the new folks! Good to catch up with everyone else and hello to the seasoned folks who I haven't met yet.
I never post without a couple of questions so to keep with what's starting to become tradition, I thought I would ask a couple more.
I'd LOVE to try to let the chickens free range in the yard. I was thinking sometime this afternoon with my husband here. That way if all heck breaks loose, I'm not the only one looking for chickens that may have flown over our 4ft fence to either neighbors house or the back woods (oh goodness, please don't fly to the woods ladies!)
They are still skittish. The Australorps and Wyandottes seem to be very gentle and for the most part easy to work with. My favorite black and white EE is getting used to us but will fly (though she likes to make sure everyone in the coop is safe and taken care of). I think I have one EE molting as under her wing I've noticed some feathers missing and I've observed some new ones trying to come through. As someone mentioned on here, they usually don't molt very much as pullets but the ones that did, trended more egg laying. I'm hoping that will be the same for us as well. Anyways, all the EE's tend to fly away with one (my daughter named her Cinderella) along with (Lady Mary...Think Downton Abbey) flying too close for comfort over the fence.
I'm trying to figure out if we should let them out to free range at this time, separate the Australorps and Wyandottes from the EE and let THEM free range Or just keep all of them in the coop?
Second, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago to my husband that I felt there was a space between the lower bottom of the run fencing where something small could get in. I was right! I opened the door yesterday to find a mole run in there. Luckily I know what they are and have been around them often as a kid. Should I be concerned about this breach? Will it cause disease if it or more got into the wood shavings in the coop? So far we haven't seen anything but that doesn't mean its not there. Anyone have issues with moles? Do you not bother with them, fix the problem and let nature take its worse or do something else?
I hope everyone has a great week!