Our older chickens (far side) and newer chickens (this side) start getting to know each other through the fence.
In due course, we want the two flocks to merge, but that may take a while, with much negotiation about the new pecking order, once we let them interact without a barrier. In the meantime, this is a beginning.
This morning I finished the new chicken run fencing, and installed the automatic pop door opener (with a little help from Domino), enabling the chickens to access the run:
The opener is mounted to a small door, so it can be accessed from inside the coop:
Here’s the pop door open for the first time, much to the chickies surprise:
Outside the coop, the opener is behind a window, so the light sensor can work:
And a close-up:
Chickies peeking out of the pop door:
Unsurprisingly, our bravest new chicken, imaginatively named Merida after the Pixar movie character, was the first to leave the coop to the newly fenced chicken run (YouTube video):
Followed by Domino:
And a few others:
But some weren’t yet brave enough:
Good thing it was a bit cloudy this morning; once the sun came out, they were all much more reluctant to leave the coop.
The chicks are now two months old… and they’re definitely getting bigger! It’s hard to realize how fast they are growing when I see them every day, but after going away for a few days, I certainly noticed the change.
They’ve still got lots of growing to do; they’ll be about twice the size when fully grown, and their combs and wattles are just starting. But almost all of the baby fuzz has been replaced with feathers now.
My first attempt at a custom chicken feeder didn’t work so well — the feed tended to not make it far enough past the 90° elbow to reach the holes where the chicks eat.
So I modified it to use a 45° connector instead (which Jenn kindly picked up on the way home from work). I didn’t want it quite that steep, so I joined the parts with some duct tape:
The new angle works much better; the food freely flows down to fill the tube, but doesn’t overflow:
Having four hole heights means chickens of all sizes can reach the food without a platform, too.
Hopefully this will work reliably; time will tell.
One project for the chicken coop that I deferred until after they had moved in was a custom feeder and waterer for them.
I made them out of 2″ PVC piping, and other bits. Firstly I drilled and filed holes in one piece of pipe, for the feeder:
I then assembled other pipe bits for both:
Here’s the waterer, in two pieces (so it could be inserted through the center wall hardware cloth). It uses drinker cups that dispense water when the chickens nudge the yellow tab:
Building a stand for both dispeners:
Both installed. The height is set for adult chickens, so I added a temporary platform so the chicks would be able to reach them:
Closeup of the feeder; I hope it works properly — I have a concern that the feed might not make it down the tube all that well, but we’ll see:
The waterer cups:
The feed and water bottles (only partially filled for now, just in case):
I have a folding chair in the storage side of the new coop, which I bring in to sit on when spending some time with the chicks. I also have a towel that I put on my lap, to protect it from the inevitable poop.
They seem to appreciate that; I had up to five chicks on my lap at once. And they all let me pet them. I guess we did a good job of socializing them.
Of cource, once they’re fully grown my lap won’t fit more than one or two.
Now that the chicken coop is basically finished, it’s time to move in the chicks! They are almost two months old now, so not a moment too soon.
We transported the chicks from the house in a plastic container (that has a vent in the lid, used in the past as a baby chick brooder). Here’s the first of three batches:
The second group:
And the last arrivals:
The aftermath upstairs, after the crates were removed; a thick layer of dust from the bedding material over everything:
Domino on my arm:
Merida & Domino:
A sleepy pile:
Curious chicken on my lap (actually probably considering if she can get onto my shoulder):