This is the view of the brooder through the hardware cloth top that keeps the cats out. There are nine chicks in there. Five went to live with a friend from work the next day.
This was taken after the other five chicks had gone to their new home. They had their two week birthday, Monday, March 29th. The box is a 105 quart Sterlite storage tub (available at W*l M*rts everywhere). It is placed on an old coffee table we used in our tiny first home and kept only for sentimental reasons since it was our second piece of furniture we bought together. It's located next to the breakfast bar that separates the dining area from the kitchen proper. It's out of the way so we won't jostle it passing by but still notice if anything seems amiss.
The heat lamp is a 75 W red glass bulb. The fixture is clamped to a stand for coffee cups. Three cups on the other arms balance out the weight. The temp got too high with it clamped to the edge of the bar. I've since added a 10 lb barbell weight on the base to give it more stability. But it went three days and four nights just like this with no problems at all with being tipped over.
Here they are with the red light turned off for a moment and lid removed so I could take a good pic. They've scratched through all the shredded paper and layer of newspaper to the bottom of the box. I hope they didn't eat too much paper! They seemed fine and dandy the morning after this pics was taken.
The first night we put our dining room chairs in front of the brooder as an obstacle for the cats in case they wanted to knock the brooder off the table. Bandit got up there to check out what was going on but he was a good boy. No mischief was managed.
Here he is "just looking" at the chicks. Other than Biscuit scratching at the front of the brooder and frightening the chicks, the cats really haven't been naughty around them. Sarah has perked up her ears from time to time when she hears them peeping but since I tell her "no", she doesn't bother them. Angel and Cheyanna act like they care less than zero about the chicks!
Here's one of the chicks posing for its first portrait:
Here is the same chick from the front:
Here's a new pic taken April 7th. They have grown so big so fast!
Here it is the 27th of April and, my goodness, they've gotten so big. They spend about an hour and a half every day out in the "cat run". It's a dog kennel that we put up against the house where there's a window with a pet door. We made a roof of 1/4" hardware cloth to keep the cats in and support their weight when they walk on top of it. We set it up so the cats could sit outside but not wander the neighborhood while we're not home. The cats have graciously let the chicks use it until their coop is finished (this weekend, I hope) and the backyard is fenced in (starting this weekend and finishing next, I hope). They've finally gotten so they don't squeeze through the holes in the chain link but I still stay out there with them to make sure they don't do anything funny that I'm not there to see! You can see a bit of the coop in the background of the photo. DH based his design on Coop 5 of the Austin Funky Chicken Coop tour. That one has the boards for the house part charred for preservation purposes but we thought that looked really ugly (sorry) and unnecessary so we didn't follow that part of the design. Here is a pic that I "borrowed" from http://fccooptour.blogspot.com/ (Hope they don't object.)
Ours isn't going to be as tall or as wide. We also will not have an open space below the roof. We're also using 1/4" hardware cloth instead of chicken wire because we're on the edge of a wild area and have seen armadillos and racoons in the neighborhood. Predator-proofing is a priority as well as building to deal with the 100+ degree heat we get here in the summer. DH has been taking a lot of pics as he's been getting each part done and plans to put them on his own blog page. I'll put a link in when he gets it ready.
Update: Well, my DH hasn't yet made his page with his coop construction pictures. He said he'd work on it this week. Not gonna hold my breath. I, however, have taken some new pics of our chickens.
This is our rooster, Rudy. He can't fail. He hasn't been in any "Clashes" yet, though. Here are some other pics of him that I took on June 13th.
The following pics were taken Sunday, June 27th of the whole flock. The girls are Rosie, Sweet Caroline and Mary Lou Jane; all named after Neil Diamond songs.
We've put little cable-tie bangle bracelets on the girls so we can better keep track of who's who since they look so similar. You can see the yellow one on Mary Lou Jane in the picture above. Sweet Caroline has a blue bracelet and Rosie's is red.
This is Sweet Caroline. You can't really tell from the pic but she's the only one that doesn't have prominent cheek proofs. The other s do.
Here they are enjoying the mister we put out for them. There's a better system set up in the coop but this little stand is nice when they're in the enclosure.
Totally ignoring me here and nomming up all the good stuff they've scratched up from the ground.
Ever had four chickens try to herd you to the door and ask you to leave? It seems they've had enough photos taken today.
Update: Sweet Caroline died suddenly in October and we decided to get three chickens to replace her. I found Wendi C. on Craigslist who was selling chicks not far from where Jim works. So in the first week of November, he went to pick them up. He bought home five! Which is fine, except that he had to add on to the coop. He expanded the coop by building a duplicate run and coop onto the original. It's nice but everytime I want to take pics he talks me out of it because it's not totally finished yet. There's a hardware cloth wire wall between the two halves which will be removed when the two flocks can be merged into one.
The new chicks are Buffy and Anya who are Buff Orphingtons, Tara is a Rhode Island Red, Black Betty Spiderbait (check out the band Spiderbait's cover of that song. It kicks a**), and Willow has been identified as a Welsummer:
I'll put pics in later.
They are now (January 6, 2011) nearly as big as the original ones and hopefully by the end of February they can "hold their own" against the big ones and all live as one disfunctional family.
I haven't done a status report in a while. Rudy got to be a terror, attacking me and my husband relentlessly and hurting his ladies so bad that Rosie still, as of May 3, 2011, has bald patches on her back. We had to send Rudy to that big chicken coop in the sky around the middle of April. Tara turned out to be male so having two roosters was probably part of the problem. So far, Terry has been behaving himself well enough. Mary Lou, one of our original chickens, went broody and hatched one chicken out of the four eggs I put under her. Jody was hatched Saturday, April 30, 2011. Of the other eggs, M.L. kicked one of them out of the nest and two others weren't viable. I cracked them open yesterday and found no trace of developing chicks. Oh, well. I'll post pics soon.