Raising Chickens – Week Three

Chickens at 16 days

Since picking up our chickens some 17 days ago all has gone well and our feathered friends are adapting well to their new home. The chicks are growing quickly and have changed from cute and cuddly to gawky and awkward.

At night they occupy the make shift brooder however during these warm summer days they get transferred to a garden cold frame come mini chicken coop that sits on our back lawn beside the strawberry patch. This gives them the opportunity to spread their wings a little and to acclimatise to the outdoors. It also means that we can switch off the heat lamp for approximately 12 hours of each day.

Chickens in temporary coop

Each morning around 9.00 am I move them from the brooder to the mini coop. Once inside they frantically run from end to end flapping their wings. It’s rather surprising to see how well they can fly at just 17 days however the roof of the coop prevents them from gaining any real altitude.

The enclosure is pretty much predator proof however it’s placed within easy view of my workshop just in case any uninvited visitors drop by thinking they can help themselves to some fresh country grown chickens.

Last week I spotted the neighbour’s cat Leo having a quick peek but he soon realised that it was all going to be too difficult. He loitered for 15 minutes or so and then wandered back home to an easier meal of “Whiskas” I suspect.

The roof netting at the far end of the coop is covered with an old real estate sign that provides shade from the hot midday sun as well as a place of retreat in the event of any calls from cats, dogs, pukekos or hawks.

Temporary-Coop

To date I’ m happy with the progress our poultry is making whilst being well aware of the havoc chooks can create. Namely wrecking my veggie garden and leaving their calling card on almost anything and everything imaginable, decks, paths, driveways, out door furniture, barbecues, patios, family room carpet and kitchen tiles when someone forgets to pull the door.

Perhaps having these gals isn’t such a great idea but I keep thinking about all those wholesome tasty free range eggs.

It’s too late to turn back now (what was that song?) as the chickens are steadily growing and the concrete around the piles for the new coop has already set.

Piles for chicken coop

With a little help from those members of the family who are not allergic to bees I hope to have the majority of the coop completed within the next couple of weeks. The chickens will be sharing the back section with bees from our three hives.

As we near the end of week three I’m looking forward to the day when the chickens take up residence in their new digs as I’m growing a little weary of continually shifting them about.

According to the chicken experts out there that should be about 3 weeks away.

More updates will be appearing soon re our hen adventures so please check back.

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