This left me tired, and longing to be indoors pursuing my favorite rainy day (heck any type of day) activity, watching ChickTV. Well, I spent a bit of time watching the chicks, and before I get into any deep thoughts, I figured everyone should meet the ladies:
This is our Welsummer, hatched March 22nd. My daughter holding all the chicks in these shots has named this one Rosalina, as she feels the name reflects peace and serenity. This chick is the calmest of them all, and she doesn't want to leave the hand, when she is put back in the brooder.
This is our Golden Laced Wyandotte, hatched March 22nd. My daughter has named this one Hayden, as she feels the name reflects Strength and Loyalty. This chick is content to be number 2 in the flock, and is loyal to Rosalina, but Mother's all the chicks.
This is our Silver laced Wyandotte, hatched March 29th. No name for this chick yet, as she is still to young to have shown us much of a personality. She is pretty calm, doesn't mind being picked up, and adores Hayden, following her every move.
This is our Buff Orpington, hatched March 29th. No name yet, but leaning heavily towards "Brat" as she is our little thug in training wings. She is trying to assert herself over the older birds, and is just now coming to realize that they have put up with her, but her antics won't move her into the Alpha spot anytime soon.
And that is the cast of today's post. Now for the deep thoughts.
Being new to this chicken thing, I didn't start the two older ones with a roost, adding this 3/28. This first attempt had a 1"x1" roost about 3" off the bottom of the brooder. Neither bird was the least bit interested. By the time the little ones joined the party on 3/30, I changed the roost to a 1"x2" wide roost. Hayden was the first to show some interest, then Rosalina, but when they tried to use the roost, the Buff Orpington would peck at their toes until they came down. So the most recent incarnation of the roost has a 2"x 4" board for the roost. I figured that the birds could rest on that, and not have to grip the board, exposing their toes to the the little pecking fiend! Hayden found the roost fairly quickly, but Rosalina still bedded down in the bedding, even though the Buff Orpington would rush up to peck at her, or walk over her, or push her Orpington around every time she settled in for a quick nap. I was really concerned that Rosalina was quite possibly the dullest tool in the shed if you get my meaning...why put up with this, when the roost would allow her some peace and quiet.
Well, I had made my peace, even if Rosalina wasn't bright enough to figure out the roost. When what to my wondering eyes did appear....but Rosalina, Hayden and the Silver Laced Wyandotte all snoozing on the roost. Of course in my fumbling and bumbling to get the camera, they all woke up, and hoped off the roost to peck at the bedding, eat or drink. I did catch the shot below about an hour later:
Hayden and the Buff Orpington were snoozing on the roost until the flash went off.
As you can see in the picture, my brooder has the waterer on a 2" x 6" piece of wood, to keep it out of the bedding, and minimize the bedding that gets into the water. There is just enough room for 3 chicks to stand on the wood and drink at the same time. The roost is to the right of that; with the Buff Orpington just under the 250W infrared lamp (the warmest spot in the box.) Opposite to the waterer and roost is the feeder try resting on another 2" x 6" piece of wood that gives the chicks about an inch of board to stand on as they peck away. The feeder is large enough that all four chicks can feed at the same time.
Well, let me state, that I simply forgot, that these chicks are still baby's, and like baby's can't be expected to know everything that and adult knows. They learn as they go. So, I too must learn; Patience. All the chicks are healthy. The vents are clear, eyes are bright, toes look good, feathers all coming in. So far so good. Roosting, eating, drinking, pecking, scratching will all come in time. I hope that I will remember this in the summer whilst awaiting the first egg. Though I will probably be a total wreck by the time it comes...as Patience doesn't come easily to me, though it does come (likely by the 2nd round of chicks some years down the road!)
Now to get back to planning the coop! My wife and I went to view some coops that were for sale over Craigslist. It was local, and the coops were kit's. They looked cute, but weren't very sturdy. All framing was 2" x 2" and the 3 sizes weren't compatible with their features. The medium coop we saw for 4 - 6 chickens had some likes:
- The whole floor pulled out for cleaning
- Two nesting boxes
- Outdoor fencing on the ground to prevent dig under intruders
- No ventilation other than the open door, though there was a ventilation feature on the large size.
- The door was only 1 1/2 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet tall (no way for me to get through)
So back to the drawing board. Though I did take away some ideas, and am re-working my design. My brother is rightfully anxious and ready to start building our coops, so that will probably begin this week. We pulled the canopy off the truck so that we can go get the wood. Now I need to finish up the design so I know how much wood to get.
So I have been noodling off to much on this post, as my brain is not wrapping itself around this design phase. But it's late, and we have early appointment's tomorrow, so I will shelve the design for tomorrow, and hopefully will come to a final decision.