Friday, August 3, 2012

Moving day for chicks

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!


  1. They are so dear. I miss having chickens so much.

  2. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)August 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Good job on the cleaning! I use a big plastic snow shovel and a rake to clean out the coop and pens every day. It sure is a lot of work, but my girls are happy, clean and give the best tasting eggs ever! Like yours, mine love to rummage through the "dirty" piles too.

  3. Congratulations. They look great!

  4. We have the dog kennel we used to move cross country for our baby chicks. Last year I lined it with 1/2" hardware cloth completely around it for my then baby chicks I had bought for layers. This year I put Momma and babies in the kennel in the main coop when I moved her from the nesting box. They stayed in there till they were 5 weeks old. I would let them out the last week to roam around with the other chickens and Momma would keep an eye on them, so would my rooster. I would put them back in the kennel for the night. After 3-4 days of this and having to try to catch them each night I decided to see how they did out and they did fine. They roost on the lower roost( hubby made them a double becker roost and in their outside pen also). They are getting along with all the chickens except the banty hens who chased them at first but are now smaller and are learning their manners. Still not sure how many will be going in the freezer, we only had 9 chicks. Roosters will and the banties which proved to not be good mommas (they ate the eggs and left the babies die). Also we have started dehydrating eggs and then grinding them up for egg powder, stored in a vaccuum sealed canning jar.
    Adele (NE WA)

    1. How are you dehydrating them?

      I'm interested in storing separated eggs.

      I know nothing. I'm starting from scratch.

      Do you ever oil or water-glass them for storage?


    2. We are just taking the eggs about a dozen at a time and breaking them into a container. We then stick blend them to mix it all up well, and put into a leather tray in the dehydrator. 12-24 hours later when they seem to be dry we take them out and put them through the food processor. We then put them back in the dehydrator for another 12-24 hours and then put them in a canning jar and vacuum seal them. I found the instructions on how to do it at
      You probably can do this after separating the whites out also, but we use whole eggs mostly. Haven't tried the water-glass because we have limited room for things that will freeze, hence the major push on learning how to dehydrate things this year. When you have room for about 50 canning jars total in the kitchen and no storage space (except in the rest of the pole barn you live in which is NOT heated) you try to find ways to do things that won't freeze. We are still waiting for the house in NJ to sell so we can build a house here. Until then home is a 24x24 apartment in a 24x40 pole barn. Cozy for sure!

  5. Proving yet again what I've "always" said.....

    You're only in it for the glamor.



  6. Good Morning Patrice! that you put the things that you shoveled into your compost pile. When you have time, can you start a blog on the basics of composting. I have googled it and have lots of information, but would like to see how you do yours. Have a great and blessed Sunday.

    1. That's a good idea, Alicia. I'll start working on it.

      - Patrice

  7. I started a compost heap out the back about 3 months ago as I have a small cafe in Brisbane and was shocked at the amount of peelings and pulp going into the bin each day. A local guy came to start me off and now our waste is drastically reduced and we have a lovely flowering garden!