Well ladies and gentlemen, it looks like our 5 week old babies have made it through their first weekend in the coop. We were so happy, nervous, proud, and excited about the whole experience for them! 4PM Saturday: We let the girls into the coop to wander around and inspect their new digs. Everyone is acting like a 7 year old with ADD and not taken meds for several days! Luckily, they settled down after we gave them a few minutes to orient on their new surroundings. They didn't immediately understand the new food & water container, but it didn't take the girls long to figure it out. 7PM Saturday (Dusk): DW and I gather up the babies one-by-one and place them gently into the fresh pine bedding in the hen-house. The girls didn't seem too happy about this fact, but after we turned on their security blanket (red heat lamp) they settled down pretty quickly... except for our precious Dominique. She looks out the coop as if to say, "Mom and Dad! Why the heck are you locking me in here with all these crazy chickens?! Can't I just come inside like normal?!" Absolutely gut wrenching. 1AM Sunday: DW hears a noise outside, convinces me to go outside and check on the babies. I grab my Mossberg Persuader 12ga loaded with 00 Buck to defend my girls with lethal force.... against the neighborhood feral kitty. We call him Bindi (white dot on his forehead). He's no harm to the girls because the coop is very well secured with heavy duty hardware cloth 12" in the ground. I come back to bed, and reassure DW that the girls are fine. 7AM Sunday (Dawn): We open the hen-house door, expecting a mad dash for freedom. Our expectations were.... underwhelmed. Not a single bird even seemed to notice that a huge hole in their enclosure was now open and they were, once again, free to roam. I conjured a mental image of Jean luc Picard in his famous "face palm" pose. After 15 minutes of coaxing the girls out with meal worms, they finally acknowledged their open escape hatch. 1PM Sunday: DW has been in the coop for 6 hours picking, preening, and playing with the girls. She's Irish and had no sunscreen. I was beginning to worry. Every time I mention she should come in and get some water and/or eat something, tears well up in her eyes as if I'd just kicked her in the shin. This has to stop. 4PM Sunday: I check on the chickens and my DW to make sure she hasn't had a heat stroke. Her skin is getting redder by the hour, and her eyes are starting to gloss over. I wonder if I'll have to lock the coop up with her in it. I'm finally able to talk some sense into her once she starts to get really hungry. Boiled peanuts did the trick. My DW had finally returned from her trance. 7PM Sunday (Dusk): Attempt two was met with a little less drama from the girls. The Dominique, Polish, & Sultan all made it into the coop with little coaxing, whereas the other 6 still required some meal worms and some gentle guidance. Way less stressful than yesterday. 4AM Monday: I wake up on my own, which is odd because I usually sleep like the dead. This was an opportunity to creep outside and see how the girls were doing though, so I seized the moment and made sure they were okay. All was well, only the Sultan even acknowledged I was looking at them. [As an aside, I'd have been a terrible Native American - I can't even walk silently in wet grass and sneak up on a sleeping chicken. I'm sure my name would have been Noisy Feet or something appropriately insulting] 7AM Monday: Wow! What a difference a day makes! Every...single...bird made it out onto the damp morning grass today. No coaxing, no begging, no pleading, no meal worms. They are just peeping, scratching, and pecking at whatever blade of grass has grabbed their attention for the moment. I'm a proud papa! 2-4PM Monday: DW and I get back from our day's errands and peek in on the girls. We set up some chairs in the coop and interact with the girls to keep them comfortable with us. The Wyandotte has become a *totally* different bird. In the brooder, she was stand offish, stressed out, and anti-social with the other birds. Now she lets the silkie curl up underneath her to nap, sit on my arms, cuddle under my neck. I'm really happy with this change. The only high strung bird we have now is the white silkie. Odd considering the breed is famous for being sweet and approachable. Maybe she'll warm up to us as she gets older and mellows. As we are about to leave, I notice something a little strange about the Sultan's feet. How many toes are they *supposed to have*? I think she *may* be disqualified from 4-H competition. 7PM Monday (Dusk): Attempt three, still wasn't perfect, but six of the nine girls made it into their hen-house with little or no coaxing. The others are just so scatter brained I don't even think they realize they are *supposed* to go into the hen-house yet. I'm sure it'll get better with time. They are learning quickly, growing faster, and impressing me more with each passing day. I didn't expect to become so attached to "just a chicken". Little did I know, that "just a chicken" would steal my heart and refuse to give it back. Her name is Elva, she is our Dominique.