Housing for Mama and baby chicks

Redhead Rae

Chickens, chickens everywhere!
6 Years
Jan 4, 2017
Braxton County, WV
Yesterday we rehabilitated a 5ft x 5 ft PVC run we used previously to pasture chicks (the lid was busted, I don't have a picture with the lid showing, but it is a PVC frame covered in 2inch hexagonal chicken wire and then covered with a tarp). The sides are 1/2 inch hexagonal chicken wire. We put our Dominique/Buff Orpington Mama and her 7 babies she hatched out 4 days ago in it.
mama and chick run.jpg

We have the run weighted down with the stone paver in one corner and the broody box tote in the opposite corner. The weights are sitting on wire tied to the bottom of the PVC frame.
mama and chicks on grass2.jpg

Mama seemed very happy to scratch around and show her babies what to eat.
mama and chicks on grass3.jpg

We made their night/bad weather housing out of the rubbermaid container we used as the brooding box when Mama was sitting on the eggs. My FIL built a door that can be shut and locked at night and added air holes along the top.
Tote closed.jpg

I'm wondering if we need more/bigger air holes.
tote air holes.jpg

When the sun went behind the hills and it started cooling off Mama went inside the tote and her babies followed her. They did well in there overnight and they were out again this morning and back at scratching and foraging in the grass.
Hen in tote.jpg

I'll be moving this setup inside the mobile paddock system I have for the rest of the flock, but for now, I'm trying to integrate my 16 week old Buffs with my mixed breed layers and their rooster. So I want to wait until they settle a bit more before putting Mama and her babies into the mix.

Is there anything I haven't thought of? I think this setup should work well for a few weeks, if not more.
Such a sweet little family! Are they completely safe from predators there during the day? Where I live, I wouldn't be able to leave them in a setting without a roof - hawks, etc.

I've got my broody hen and her two chicks in with the rest of the flock, but I have a much smaller group than you do - just four other hens. I've been surprised by how little interest they currently have in the baby chicks: https://polloplayer.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/happily-ever-after/

I hope this works out for you - they sure look happy!
Have you thought about predators being about to bust through the chicken wire and or dig under it?
There is a lid on the run, It is just propped up for the pictures. It is a 5x5 PVC pipe frame covered in wire and then covered in a tarp. It is attached to the PVC run frame with zip ties on one side and I tie it to the front of the frame when it is shut so it doesn't blow open. The run is set up right by our back door. I've never had any problem with predators getting at my chicks when they use this shelter during the daytime. It even kept my buffs safe when my mom's cockapoo/dachshund (very high prey drive dog) got loose and tried getting at them. I close them up the tote at night. If I saw signs of predators around the run I guess I could bring the tote inside at night or move it into our tool shed, actually that may not be a bad idea in any case.
Build it and they will come....just saying.
Better be safe then sorry.
Hardwire cloth is much better, imo.
I use hardware cloth for the permanent nighttime shelters. We only have one shelter that isn't mobile so daytime containment has to be balanced between safety and mobility. So far, we haven't had any losses *knock on wood*.

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