Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chick Chickety Chick Chick: The Official Update

So.... the chicken saga continues. To refresh your memory, we had decided to wait until next year to acquire chickens. That plan didn't work out so well, and now I have 8 Rhodies, and 7 Hampies (one of our New Hampshire Reds has gone to the big coop in the sky. Don't be too too sad. This is part of life!). The Rhodies live in our now finished Multi-Media Chicken Tractor.

The Multi-Media Chicken Tractor.
OK. So if you're into the whole brevity thing, and contrary to popular belief I am, and you don't know what a chicken tractor is, go here. (If you thought that sentence was strange then you didn't get the movie reference and this is a problem. You must watch this for us to be friends.)

Our tractor is slightly different from the dictionary definition as I knew I was putting chicks that (let's face it) were really too young to be taken out of a straight-up brooder environment, but I needed said brooder for the Hampies, so the Rhodies moved in early. The modifications I made were to put deer netting along the floor of the run as well to add some protection and keep them from getting out. Or worse yet hurting themselves trying to (chickens are dumb. In case you were wondering). I also tucked a heat lamp up under the roof and above the 'roost' I put in. The heat lamp was on 24/7 for the first week or so, then on a timer so it only came on at night, and now it's off completely. It's 92 degrees outside. I also put pine shavings on the floor as the holes in the deer netting are bigger than the chick's feet were when they went in there and I really didn't need any human-induced injuries. (The shelter part of the tractor has no deer netting - it just sits on the ground)

Why is it called that? I am so glad you asked! Because it is made out of as much stuff as we already had on hand as possible. I would say we still ended up spending about $50 on it, but that does include primer and paint that will be used for other things. It's got an old wall from a shed built in the 40's or 50's (we think - it was the shed of a friend of a friend of a relative type scenario), some roofing tin (from the same shed), shelf brackets and hinges I had, PVC I had, deer netting I had, twist ties I had, cable ties I had, and 2 studs I had. We only really bought the sheet of plywood, primer, paint, a bamboo window screen (from the clearance section at Lowe's and used for the door), and some more screws and glue and such. Hence multi-media.

The Multi-Media Chicken Tractor will be our brooder next year.

Month old chicks just look funny.
And then there are the Hampies. They are already really different personality-wise from the Rhodies - I would say they are more skittish, aggressive towards each other, and loud. But they look identical so far. They are also seeing to want to roost MUCH earlier than the Rhodies did, which is why the door to the shed they are sequestered in now stays closed all the time:

In theory, pecking order is not established until the 6 month mark. Like I believe that. These guys are 2 weeks old in this picture.
 The Rhodies (is it hard to follow when I jump back and forth? Really?) also have begun to understand the wonderful world of bugs (I FINALLY saw one eat a tick today, Mr Manfriend), and the joys of veggies. Case in point, the cabbage leaf that is the size of a dinner plate and lasted less than 5 minutes:

Zora DOESN'T understand the joys of veggies, and would really very much like them to pay attention to HER, thankyouverymuch.
So now of course the task of building the already-named Chicken Palace remains. My great-aunt in her everlasting hilariousness, gave us two gazebo kits she saved from the dumpster at Aldi's that the garbage truck had run over (albeit, only the corners of the 'boxes' were run over). My mother and I had enough parts out of the two to put one whole gazebo up out of all good parts. So. Now we will make a Chicken Palace out of this:

Soon this will be a Palace full of Chickens. Mwahahaha.

This is gonna be interesting....


Samantha Bangayan said...

Aww the chickies are SOO cute! I'm glad plans changed! I bet they help keep you and Zora company! =)

caitlinvb said...

I am glad the plans changed, too. Even if the Hampies got moved into their very own hutch yesterday - unfortunately place under my window - and are VERY CHEEPY. But cute!