I finally sorted out the house and run for the chicks. Not before time: they’re three weeks old now, and are getting a bit big for the brooder, not to mention a bit messy.
The base unit is a Flyte so Fancy Maggie’s 6 henhouse and run. There are detailed pictures on the Flyte so Fancy website here. It’s pretty good, and the smaller sister to the Maggie’s 24 that we have at the allotment. I’ll do a separate blog entry on what we’ve done to modify it.
We got the run secure on Sunday, but delayed putting the chicks in until Monday, since it was forecast to freeze overnight. We’re still very inexperienced, and weren’t sure how robust our 3 week old chicks would be. We certainly didn’t want to come down on Monday morning to find eight pathetic little frozen corpses!
So on Monday morning we treated the floor of the house to a decent layer of warm and absorbent Aubiose, and put out a drinker and feeder in the run. We retrieved the chicks from their nice warm electric hen (little did they know that it would be for the last time), and popped them into the house and opened the ramp.
It didn’t take long for the boldest to emerge.
Followed in short order by (almost) all the others.
There’s always one who’s a bit cautious, isn’t there?
Anyway, they had a lovely time on their first day in their new home. It was a pleasant enough spring day, with no rain, although it got a bit chilly at times. We noticed that they tended to seek shelter under the ramp up to the house rather than in the house itself. And sure enough, when evening came, they clustered round the door of the run, waiting to be taken back inside to the warmth and comfort of the brooder and the electric hen.
No such luck. Jean scooped them up into a plastic crate, and we put them in the house for the night. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but after supper we crept out with a torch just to check that they were OK. They’d found the cosiest corner, and were nicely cuddled up together for warmth. Not too crowded, though, which would have shown that they were too cold. I’d thought about installing the electric hen in the house on a suitable extension lead, but we decided that there was no need.
One of the final things that we did on Monday was to install a polycarbonate roof on the run. Actually, it still needs a bit more to be added, since the width of the roofing sheets doesn’t quite match the width of the run panels, but the run is now mostly sheltered.
You can see in the picture that we’ve also substituted a full-sized feeder with a “rain hat” for the chick feeder.
It was a wise move, as it turned out. We were away for most of Tuesday, and the rain lashed down throughout the morning. And it was cold. The weather improved in the afternoon, but as we drove home we wondered if the chicks would have had the sense to take shelter in the house, or whether they would simply have become wet, chilled, and miserable. We needn’t have worried. In this picture, a heavy shower is just beginning to ease off, and they’re just surveying the situation before making another assault upon the chick crumbs!