I made the short drive to Cameron yesterday to pick up the new chicks from Ideal Hatchery. All 150 chicks were divided between two reasonably sized and airy boxes. They were are a lively and vibrant bunch who serenaded me on the drive home with a chorus of peeps, tweets, and chirps. Harry had finished their portable coop complete with a poop free waterer, a nice long feeder and heat lamp. I was so excited about the new peeps and feeling very smug because this was the most prepared we had ever been. Feeling smug is usually followed by feeling stupid and this turned out no different.
Once home, I filled the chicks’ feeder with their Organic Chick Starter from Coyote Creek Feed, placed the boxes holding the chicks in the coop and proceeded to free the little guys and gals into their new and spacious home. They hit the ground pecking and foraging. All went well for about five minutes and then the little birds started popping through the chicken wire – in the past we had kept chicks in a big cardboard box in the shed for several days. I had no idea they were small enough to fit through chicken wire. These little balls of fluff though wanted to forage and free range so bad even this coop couldn’t hold them. The ones that felt the wire was too tight to squeeze through elected to get a running start and launch themselves through it. Chicks were literally popping out everywhere and I was scooping up handfuls of them as quick as I could and returning them to the coop. All the while I swear they were peeping “Don’t Fence Me In.”
While I admired the chicks’ free ranging spirit, they obviously couldn’t have free run of 50 acres at one day old. I stopped scooping and corralling chicks long enough to grab the utility knife, staple gun, and screen we had bought for the garden. I get along poorly with most tools, but I can wield a utility knife and staple gun like no body’s business. Quickly I cut the screen and started stapling. Staple, staple, scoop and coop, staple, staple, peel chick out of wire, staple, staple, scoop and coop…on and on it went until the entire coop was screened.
On the plus side, I had been concerned about teaching the little peeps how to use the chicken nipples (I still can’t say chicken nipple without giggling), but the chicks that stayed in the coop had it figured out by the time I had the screen in place. I plugged in the heat lamp and sat back to watch a great show.
Night one was a success in the coop and I spent some time today in the coop with the chicks just reading a book. Just to be clear, I was reading, the chicks were scratching, pecking, napping, eating and drinking. They are an even more lively bunch today after a night of high quality feed and it is entertaining to watch them running around expressing their chickenness until exhausted, at which point they just flop over where ever they happen to stop and nap briefly. Chick Pics Another Chick Pic