September 20, 2017

The Girls Are Outside!

Hardware cloth installed, food and water moved, pine shavings put down.
Check, check, check.
Or should I say cluck, cluck, cluck?

Welcome to your new home, chickens!

They were pretty tentative at first, and the kids took it up on themselves to "train" them how to get up the ramp into the actual coop. The slat that fell out of the ramp didn't help much.
(We'll have to replace that.)
They seemed to enjoy having more space to practice flying.
Several of them flew the length of the coop.
It seems we'll probably have to clip their wings when they get bigger.

I ended up moving their food to the other side of the ramp.
I had it down at the far end of the run, but they were all huddled up over there, and it was like they forgot the water bucket existed until I came out and used a stick to make some water come out.
Then they all came running!
After I moved the food closer to the water, they were eating and drinking, rather than just one or the other. More like what they were used to, I guess.
Chickens are funny.

Let's talk about the weather for a bit.
See how it looks sunny and calm in this picture?
It wasn't. It was SUPER windy that day.
Poor little chickens probably were wondering what just happened to them!

I didn't want to wait to get them outside, though, because Monday was the supposed to be the warmest day all week.
I really want them to get acclimatized to being outside soon.
After all, it's just going to keep getting colder.
I don't think we're doing them any favors leaving them in here where it's warm.
They're a cold hardy breed, but apparently they grow feathers appropriate to the temperatures they are in. So unless we want 13 hens in our house all winter, they have to get out there and get used to it!
Plus, they were stinky (we were changing out the bedding material every 2-3 days) and they had grown big enough to be crowded in the tin tub.

So, after a warm but windy afternoon, Monday night we had a wild and windy rainstorm!
At least before it started we had already gotten them all safely into the coop and closed the door, and my husband figured out how to rig up the heat lamp for them overnight.
(We'll probably have the lamp on for them at night for another week or so.)
It was just pouring out there, though, and the wind was blowing the rain sideways.

Welcome to living outside, ladies!
I felt a little bad for them, but on the other hand--see above.
It was time to get them out there.
What a first day and night to be outside, though!

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