Out of the Brooder & Into the Coop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CorporateGranola, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. CorporateGranola

    CorporateGranola Chirping

    Aug 4, 2010
    South GA Swamp
    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.

  2. Broodica

    Broodica Chirping

    Aug 20, 2010
    Cascade Foothills, WA
    How adorable!!! What a good Dad (and) mom you guys are. I've still got about 4-5 weeks left. Really nervous becuz it has been cold and wet here for days and it's not looking up. I hope they'll be OK when we transfer them!

    Great pics! Thanks for sharing
  3. SuziQ991

    SuziQ991 Songster

    Aug 18, 2009
    I loved the pics and the story! Thank you for sharing. Tell your wife that I completely understand. Last year was my first with chickens. They went to their "big girl" coop in August. I sat in that 8x4 coop for hours with my babies. I was sweating so bad, I must have lost 5 lbs that week. Nothing like bonding time with the chicks!
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Thank you so much for the wonderfully descriptive and literate narrative and the gorgeous pictures.

    I never thought I'd become so attached to chickens. I figured, sure, I'll name 'em, but they'll never come to their names and they're just chickens, after all.

    Oh, boy was I wrong about that! Each individual chicken has his/her own personality and quirks. I don't know why this surprised me so much; I know dogs and cats and canaries and parakeets have their own personalities. Dunno why I couldn't imagine the same for poultry.

    The ducks didn't surprise me, but the chickens sure did. Now I know better.

    Thanks again for the post!
  5. pat1297

    pat1297 In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2010
    orange park
    Thanks for the loving story and pics. Nice to know so many of us love our little chicks in this big mean world of ours.[​IMG]
  6. bragabit

    bragabit Songster

    Mar 26, 2009
    Southern Utah
    This is such a cute story!! Love the pictures.
  7. CorporateGranola

    CorporateGranola Chirping

    Aug 4, 2010
    South GA Swamp
    Thanks so much for all your kind words - What do you all think about my Sultan's feet? Isn't that wild?!
  8. sixxchixx

    sixxchixx Songster

    Aug 10, 2010
    Escondido, CA
    i think that was the best post ive seen on BYC all week!!

    ** and no i dont think she'd be qualified to compete with those funky toes but it would make her all the more endearing to a doting father!!
  9. Pineywoods Peepers

    Pineywoods Peepers Certified Poultry Accruer

    Quote:I've found that to be the case with my Silkies as well! I ordered them because I thought my nieces and nephews would really like them. And they do. They're fuzzy, little and cute. Why wouldn't a kid love them? The only downside is the Silkies don't like people! Of all my chicks they are the most standoffish and several of them *totally* freak out if someone picks them up. There are a couple who are a little more friendly (one jumped up in my lap last week), but for the most part, they all avoid human contact. [​IMG] I could understand one or two being standoffish but all 6?? It's very disappointing. I wonder if it's because my chicks are hatchery chicks. Maybe those from a private breeder would be more sociable??

    btw Loved the post. I hope you are keeping a secret stash peanuts in case your wife needs another intervention! hehehe


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