Wow, was it comedy hour around here the other day. This was my first time introducing baby chics into the big coop. The original plan was to wait until Saturday or Sunday to move the babies, so they could be monitored after the move. There were still a few things to do, to prepare for the move. Feed had to be changed from the layer to baby, and the perches the bear broke during his attack had to be repaired. It was early Friday morning. I was still on my first cup of coffee, when I saw one of the baby Turkens escape the makeshift run. I was able to get her back inside, but in that instant decided “today would be a good day to do the move.” I rearranged my work schedule and plunged into the task. Knowing I would need help with the move, I quickly devised a plan. My girlfriend, Holly, would be leaving for work in about an hour, so it was now or never.
The babies are okay with humans but don’t particularly like to be held. Here is a picture of the makeshift run. Please don’t laugh I know it looks ghetto. The coverings are there to protect the babies from hawks. Before the coverings were installed a hawk landed on top of the cage with us only 10′ to 20′ away.
I decided, I would stand in the baby area, and hand the babies to Holly, who would put them in the big coop. Sounds like a reasonable idea, well, of course nothing is that easy. In hindsight I should have taken the fence down and herded them into the big coop which is only 10′ away. But, without the benefit of hindsight, I proceeded with the plan. Let’s just say the babies became very agitated making the hens agitated. As soon as the first babies were placed in the coop, they were immediately pecked on the head by a couple of the hens. So now everyone, including me, is very stressed. Out into the yard go the hens, while the rest of the babies are moved.
Everyone gets a few minutes to calm down and then the hens are put back in. The babies are being taught their place, but all seems to be going well. Two of the smaller New Hampshire Reds (I am new to this, so if the orange ones are not New Hampshire Reds, please let me know) still chase the babies off wherever they are. But, I hope in a few more days this too will end. I was able to make the modifications and change out the food as I kept a close eye on all the chics.
Just when life had calmed down, nightfall came. The hens went into the coop as they always do, but the babies don’t understand this yet. With the bear attack not too far in the past, the babies were not going to be allowed to stay in the run overnight. They had to be secured in the coop. Having already had a big day, they were in no mood to be herded into the coop. Once again they start a ruckus and a few of the hens jump off their roosts and block entry. I may have laughed had it not been getting bear time and the chics just weren’t cooperating. But eventually they all were in and the door was secured. Checking on them a short time later, they had all found roosting places and were ready to get some sleep. I can only imagine how exhausted they were, what a day!
This is an experience I will learn from. Next time I hope it will be a smoother transition for the chicks and me. The wyondottes and lakenvelders will be ready to move in a few weeks, though I may give them additional time.
Just a note, the second night of getting the babies into the coop went much smoother. I’m not sure how long it will take to train them but I hope only a few more nights.