This is a sad and happy post. As I have previously mentioned, I am a chicken newbie. About a month into the venture, stopping by the feed store to pick up a bag of food, I saw they had baby chicks. Well, I am sure you can guess what happened next. My only defense is that I had been reading,”Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens”, so I felt I knew enough to get some babies. The problem was, it was early afternoon and I didn’t have a home for them to go into. Thankfully, Tammy, the owner of the Feed Bucket, was very kind and patient, explaining in detail the set up they used for their babies at her house. I left with the original bag of feed, 7 baby chicks (4 Ameraucanas and 3 Turkens), and the knowledge of how to build a cage. With lumber I had, I was able to build the frame for the cage. Then it was off to Lowes for some plywood to finish it. By 10pm the babies were in their new home.
I don’t have a great picture of the cage. But to the right hand side of the above photo, you can see the front had chicken wire on it. Almost a month to the day of getting the babies, the black bear came. The chicken wire was no match for him. He ate all the babies, and broke into the hens coop and took 2 of the hens.
The day after the attack we fixed the coop. At 8:09pm the bear was back and tried in vain to break into the coop for 40 minutes.
I went to see Tammy at the Feed Bucket and asked her if she could please get some more baby chicks, as mine had been killed. Having had bear troubles of her own in the past, she was sympathetic and agreed. Determined that the next time the bear would not get my baby chicks, I proceeded to do major renforcements to the baby cage. I broke it down to the frame and started all over. I gave it a solid bottom, put 1/2″x1″ wire mesh on top of the chicken wire, put bear proof hooks on the roof, and attached the cage to posts buried 2 feet in the ground. Fortunately, we have not had to test the “bear proofness” of the baby cage.
This time we have 6 Turkens and 3 Barred Rocks. Two weeks later we added to 2 Blue Wyndottes and 2 Golden Lakenvelders. More on that decision in a later post.