We are new to the Urban Farm movement. "We" include my husband, our son, and myself. We also own a Tibetan Terrier named Gimli. He is 2 years old now, still very much a playfull puppy and very curious about our new girls. We are the proud owners of 4 new chicks: Aveline, our Buff orpington, Eowyn our Black Australorp, Legoninna our Welsummer and Shana McGowan our punk looking Ameraucana. We are hoping to add a Brahma but she has been elusive so far. We are keeping them in a 35 gallon aquarium with straw, heat lamps and food. They seem to be as happy as we are!
have had our girls for about a week and a half and really enjoy watching their antics - they are hysterical. eW
Yesterday our coop arrived. We found it on Craigslist, built by an out of work carpenter in Santa Rosa, CA. He did an awesome job, it was very reasonably priced and we love it. Just one problem, the coop is built to last forever (that is not the problem). It is extremely sturdy, and very heavy (that is not the problem). It took 4 guys to move it into the neighbors back yard (that is not the problem). We (meaning the guys) thought they would just lift it over the fence and put it into place (that is the problem). Well it was too heavy to lift over their heads up over a 6 foot fence and then down into our yard. So there it sits in our neighbors corner. Fortunately we have fabulous neighbors and don't mind a nice looking chicken coop in the yard.
I know what you are thinking - why didn't we just put it in our own yard to begin with? Our yard is like an obstacle course. A backyard shed, a large bottle brush tree (great for attracting bees) a grape arbor, a plum tree and and ash tree all standy in the way of our intended goal. The other side of the yard has a deck, two apple trees a 7foot high deck railing and deck steps, another grape arbor, a fig tree, another ash tree and a pear tree all blocking the way. So it seemed like a 6foot fence was the easiest obstacle to overcome.
ur neighbor suggested we figure out how the Egyptians lifted and moved those big heavy blocks to build the pyramids and move the coop that way, or just leave in their yard and come over everyday to take care of things.O
In the meantime we did get our final chick today a Brahma we named Berta. She was quite tired from the events of the day so she took a nap . She is in the brooder with the rest of the girls. We took some hardware cloth and covered the edges with duct tape and made a barrier between the new chick and the older girls. They seem to be doing fine so far. They will have supervised playdates in a week or so.
So the four older chicks are now about 3 weeks old and getting a little cramped in their aquarium brooder. We found some "free" wardrobe boxes on Craigslist.org. The first thing that came to mind was to put the boxes together in a chicken "habitrail" enclosure, but decided that simple was really the way to go. We taped one end shut, folding in the larger flaps first - taping those and then folding in the shorter flaps and taping them down. Hopefully that will keep the food, straw and stuff inside. We then cut a large flap off of one side of the box (the side we chose was a happy accident) leaving about a three inch lip around the edge. Wardrobe boxes are wider on two sides and narrower on the other two sides. We placed the hangar bar in the box to give it stability and maybe be a perch for the chicks (maybe). The bar spans the wide width of the box, (which was the happy accident part) and the bar/perch is parallel to the floor). Tape the other end of the box shut in the same way as before. Large flaps taped first then the shorter flaps.
We ended up with a rectangle box, laying on its side with a big hole in the top. Then took some hardware cloth, cut it the size of the entire top side of the box+5" so we could fold the hardware cloth over each end to help secure it in place (the side with the big hole flap is now the top). We put duct tape on each side of the hardware cloth to cover the pokey edges and it also helps the hardware cloth to straigten out a little. Craigslist, duct tape and cardboard boxes have been our best friend so far.
We put plastic under the brooder to protect the carpet (although I hate our carpet-but its in really good condition) lined the brooder with newspaper, a layer of straw and the feeders and the heat lamps. Also put the divider (from the aquarium brooder) in to keep our baby brahma safe until she is a little older. Hopefully in a week or so we can have supervised one on one play dates with the older chicks and eventually mingle her into the flock. We then added all the chicks and watched them try to fly, jump and chase each other. They had a lot of fun, and Berta (our brahma) spent about an hour and a half peeping as loud as she could - I think she really wants to be with the other chicks. Eventually they all settled down for a good nights sleep.
The coop is still in our neighbors backyard, but we think we are getting closer to having it in ours. On Craigslist again, we found a company called Shedmovers.com, and sent them an email with a description of our dilema, and hopefully they can get it to its proper place - stay tuned. 4/28 ShedMovers called back and will not take down the fence to move the coop - so I am back at square one - but we still have time.
OK Sunday we have everything/everyone lined up to take down the fence, move the coop and put the fence back into place. Yeah!! (oh wait is the the place where we "don't count our chickens before they hatch"? or is the the place where "third time is a charm")