When I first got home from Portland and after the flurry of greetings was over, one of the first things I did was peek in the brooder box holding the baby chicks.
Well, they weren’t babies anymore. It’s amazing what a week will do, when you’re a baby chick.
These guys were decently feathered out. Still babies, of course, but more than ready to get out of that cramped brooder box!
Okay, time to work on the coop. You can't just put babies in with adults because the adult hens will peck unmercifully on the chicks. They need to be gradually introduced. Our coop has a divided room in it, but over the last couple of years it's fallen into disarray. Plus the entire coop needed a serious cleaning.
I armed myself with a sweat band around my forehead and a bandana tied around my face, cowboy-style, to cut the dust. Then I got to work. It was a hot, dusty, stinky job.
I shoveled and pitchforked the floor litter into the wheelbarrow, then dumped it onto the compost heap, which the chickens thought was a dandy idea.
About halfway done.
Clean floor, clean nest boxes.
Tools of the trade.
Now that the coop was cleaned out, we had to reinforce the interior cage. The chicken wire was too large a mesh and the babies could easily slip through.
So we cut some hardware cloth to size...
...and reinforced the chicken wire.
We also tacked some hardware cloth over a crack in the floor where it connects to the wall. Keeps out mice and snakes.
Time for some fresh straw.
Nice new stuff in the nest boxes...
...and on the floor.
Then it was time to move chicks. Oh noooo!! Not... the crate!!
Lifting them out, one at a time.
A bunch of bewildered babies.
They spent the first couple hours huddled under the heat lamp until they figured out the coop has a LOT more room than the brood box!