The flock is now seven and a half weeks old. They were quickly outgrowing their temporary brooder. The Salmon Favorelle, Golden Laced Wyandotte and Easter Eggers were now the size of Silkie Bantams. It was time to begin their transition.
Yesterday, on the hottest day of summer yet, I chose to incorporate their small little mini-chicken world, into the world of the existing flock. I took apart the run from my old chicken coop and turned it on its side inside the big girls’ run. I used two of the run’s existing walls and closed off a square in the run. The old coop door was still attached. With this set-up, it would allow me to gain access into the new brooder. The coop door now simply flips down. For shelter, I am using a small pet carrier. The little girls only need this for sleeping and it can easily be picked up and placed in the garage or even in the coop with the existing girls for the evening.
I placed the waterer up on a terracotta flower pot. This helps to keep the water clean. I also added some vitamins and electrolytes to the water during this transition. Moving is always stressful, even for chickens!
Yesterday, they spent the entire day exploring inside this brooder. All the older hens, Tilly and the girls came over to take a peek at the little ones. Surprisingly, the thing they cared most about was trying to eat the chick feed through the hardware cloth, especially Oyster Cracker! As I went to close them up in the evening, I imagined myself climbing in the brooder to retrieve them one by one. As I approached the coop with the sun sinking from the sky, I heard lots of peeping. The big girls were in the coop and the babies were all piled into the dog carrier getting “situated”. Life is always better when the chickens sleep where they are supposed to! For the next week or so, they will remain in their brooder until I release them into the coop and run with the big girls.
For more information on transitioning and integrating flocks, you might find this post helpful. You might also enjoy reading about this other DIY project: A Chicken Safe Place.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest