I first tried the wire we used for Sally's old enclosure. One chick went right through and one of the girls went through the side, which was not meeting up with the sides. I removed the barrier to fix it, and the girls rushed in, pecking at the "new" food (same as theirs) with gusto. The feed is better on the other side of the fence, you know. The little chicks ran among the older girls, under them and doing dances. The girls seemed not to have a problem with them, yet they are at a clumsy stage and tend to stampede to the side of the brooder when anything interesting comes into view... you know- Sally, me, lint...
Himself added a layer of chicken wire to the barrier with sides. Once properly in, the girls lost a third of their space. They can handle that for a week while the new chicks get some girth on them. The chicken wire on top of the older girl's side was a
I had cleaned the room well as one can, then added hanging sheets all around their area to keep the dust from destroying my stuff in the room. I washed our shower curtain and replaced it, putting it on a short shower-curtain rod in the doorway. We can see in, the girls can see out and it keeps the dust down in the rest of the house. I sweep two or three times daily.
Oh!!! After the older girls kicked pine shaving into the chick's water 3 times in less than an hour, we made the chicks a nipple feeder. They got it within minutes. I watched them constantly to be sure they were comfortable with it. The older girls got it quickly when I introduced them to one last week. Whoever, (whomever?), invented chicken nipple waterers is a genius. Their water stays clean. I freshen the bottles every day or two, not because they are dirty, it is so the water stays fresh.
I put a hanging feeder for the older girls, at the level to keep them from kicking shavings into their food. It is full, yet if I sprinkle more of the same food over the tray, they rush over and start in like they are starving. (laughing) Strange creatures. The new chicks and the girls sleep next to each other, separated by the barrier. A large "chick puddle" and a small one. A member of Backyard Chickens dot com came up with that term. It fits. I took the small roost out to be scrapped (ugh) for the new chicks and slid a larger dowel through the wire and resting on the pool edge for the older girls. They use it mostly, but prefer to sleep next to the new chicks at night right now.
The girls are getting their head feather and looking pretty ratty right now. It is funny. One's comb is looking like a ripple. Once they have more room to get about, who gets what name will show. Of the older girls, Fricassee was not right, she will be Noodles. She is the one who will not peck a meal worm out of my hand, but pecks at my sleeve instead, every time. The sweet one who comes to me gently and gets on my hand will be Nugget. Who will be Stew and Potpie, time will tell.
The new chicks will be- Marsala, Dumpling, Tenders and Biscuit.
Sally likes to go under the shower curtain and play-bark at the girls. She has even taken a toy to them. Poor girl. She wants them out of her space and for me to not give them much time, if any, yet she is okay with them. Conflicted? Sally is fed first, gets an hour+ of brushing and tummy rubs at least every other day, played with, yet she is acting like a sibling being ignored at times or one who cannot understand why the new critters will not play with her. Once the chickens are outside, I am sure she will be fine. We tell her that we should be nice to them, they will give us eggs she loves to eat and, eventually, dinners. I know she may not understand, but it cannot hurt to reassure her. We make sure to show her she is at the top of the heap.
Poor girls. The smaller space is sometimes hard on them. They are bouncing around right now. They will like when the barrier is down. Next week, the weather is supposed to clear. We can get the coop made. By time the girls are ready to go outside, the younger ones will still not be without a heat lamp. I will put them out without access under to the run for a week so they get used to the coop as the night place to roost. I am going to run the heat lamp out there and set it up to safely keep the younger ones warm and keep the flock together. Our nights are still too cool to be without it for the younger chicks and the older ones need time to acclimate to the area. Making the process go slowly is not a bad idea. We have heavy-duty outside electrical cords I can run out there, but I am going to buy a new one. Expensive, but old cords are a cause of coop fires, and why the coop will not be heated after this.
Oh yes, I will take photos of "Frick and Frack Build a Chicken Coop". I am very good at designing and putting together things. Himself is good at using the drill and cutting where I mark the wood. I tend to measure 3 times. Overkill, maybe, wood is expensive.
The garden looks like a bunch of burritos all over the place. I need to water, but it is raining too hard. The plastic keeps the beds warm but the rain out. Ah well. We are supposed to have clear weather for a week soon. I hope they are right. The first week in May marks a lot of planting to be done. It will progress through the month.
I made some chicken block treats using the smaller crumbles of their feed, various grains, seeds and raisins, held together with unflavored gelatin. It will be interesting to see how they react.
That is it for now. Nap time?