The ladies' first outing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ScottyHOMEy, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    If you've followed at all, this is the first year for chickens at the new abode. It's nice to have them around a after a hiatus of several years. All hatched in June, the meat birds went to freezer camp in August and the pullets started laying just a few weeks ago.

    Time and funds have made the startup a bit of a scramble at times. First to get the coop up and closed in for their safety as they outgrew their brooder boxes in the garage. (Rule #1, have the coop ready before new chicks arrive.)

    I had some challenges with the terrain as regards a run. The coop is more than large for them, but I really needed to get them outdoors. Guilt for not doing it has been a burdenm for more than a few weeks now. I finally broke down last weekend and bought a 10x10 chain-link kennel run for them, easily expandable, adaptable . . . Had a little hold up with the hardware to affix the upright ends of it to the coop. Got that dealt with yesterday, as well as draping and wiring 2"x4" welded wire over the top, before running out of light.

    Today I got the pophole cut out, and set up a ramp. Got some planking and block around the bottom where there were gaps resulting from the terrain. It's enough to keep the birds in but not to stave off nocturnal predators. My long weekend next week will allow time to make things secure the way they need to be. In the meantime, the girls will have daytime shore leave only while we're home and about.

    Well, with all of their tendencies to fly up into the window when I slide it open to check on them, and all of their rushing the door when I open it, you'd have thought theyd have rushed right out once things were opened up. No. It was comical. A more curious bunch you will never see. Each of them spent some time at the threshold, cranking their heads around to scout things out. A few times, the others would bunch up behind the one at the door taking a gander and almost push her on out, but they each kept a good grip with their toes and made their way back in through the crowd. I finally lifted a couple of them out. That didn't encourage the others any, and my neighbor's boy went into the coop and started tossing them out one by one. Two actually went right back up the ramp and back into the coop, but we eventually got them all outside.

    Lush grass for them. I was a little surpeised they didn't go crazy over it. But they did get into scratching and doing their chickenly thing. One of them found a cigarette butt that set off a chase before they all decided it wasn't anything they wanted. Now, if only the person who discarded it (Guilty!) could come to the same conclusion . . .

    I ran to town for some hardware and set about building the door and trim and getting that all in place. Dark comes early up here, about 4:30 this time of year, and the ladies are usually up on their roosts by a little after 4, so about 3 I turned on the light in the coop to see if it would draw them in, and went back to my carpentry/wood butchering. About an hour later, the door was ready to hang. Well, whaddaya know, three of them had already gone back in on their own and were feeding and tanking up for the night. The rest were still out pecking in the grass. I got the door hung and the latches all in place. The stragglers, bless their hearts, offered no evasion or resistance to being picked up and set back inside.

    There's more to do next weekend with tightening up the run but, tonight, all is right in my little piece of the world.
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas

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