Today we switched the girls to layer feed. It should be just a few more weeks before all our time and work will pay off. The chickens are happy in the back yard.
It has been 7 weeks since we brought the chicks home. They are definitely a part of our life now. This time of the school year didn't allow for weekly updates, but I did document their growth along the way. They are officially chickens these days, at two months old. We are only about four or five months away from collecting eggs.
They rapidly outgrew the plastic tupperware, so we moved them into Olive's kiddie pool and put that in the garage. At this stage there was no way to anticipate the indescribable mess that would be created (I'll tell you more about this later). For now, look at how cute they were!
We added a roost, from an aspen tree outside. Also, we elevated the food trough by tying it to the hard cloth wall with wire (Erika's stroke of brilliance) because it was an extra chore to clean it out everyday. Once we got it off the floor, they didn't stand or poop on it as much, but they could still reach into it for grub.
They grow at such a rapid rate, that every day they look bigger. At this stage they kind of looked like awkward teenagers. Their "furry" feet grew in, and they began practicing flight. Actually, we had to put a large piece of cardboard on top of the hard cloth wall because they were hopping, climbing, scurrying their way to the top.
I was not prepared for the dust bowl era conditions that resulted from an open chicken coop in my garage. I am not exaggerating when I say this. Every single surface in our garage is coated with thick layer of sawdust. For me, this created a sense of urgency to get them outside as soon as possible. Another poultry unpleasantly is the smell of their poop. I can only take about two weeks worth of bedding-build-up. We added fresh pine to it every day, and after two weeks it became putrid. Consequently, it has Erika and I rethinking our plan for the bedding of the coop. We were originally going to go with the "deep litter" method, but are going to try the "sand" approach. It will require us to scoop it like kitty litter daily, but the odor is supposedly greatly reduced and that means more hygienic living quarters for our hens.
Matt, Adam, and Erika built the coop while I was out of town for the weekend. The coop gives each bird 3 square feet of space. After I got back to town, Adam and I painted it up on a Monday after work. This weekend we will be finishing it up! I'm so excited to get the coop all done and the chickens outside!
Erika and I decided to give the chicks some outside exposure to prep them for moving to the coop. They did great and loved the grass. I cannot wait until this summer when they are a part of our backyard landscape.
I keep thinking that I have to go and feed them, or water them, or change something but, no. They really are so easy breezy on day two. Also, we can already see their growth. It won't be long until they outgrow this temporary home.
At night they stay in the garage, but today we put them on a book shelf in the house so that they could get the benefits of natural sunlight. Plus, it was a joy to sit in my chair and watch them while I was enjoying a book and tea.
Don't tell anyone, but I think Adam really likes them too.