This little plot of land has a new house on it. And it belongs to Roz, MaryAnne and Susie Q. The chicks who we brought home as tiny, fluffy babies in the cupped palms of our hands are full-out chickens these days. Granted, they still have some growing to do, but it’s incredible how much they’ve changed in a matter of weeks.
They peck around the yard. They flap their wings. They sleep snuggled up against one another. They are just about 16 weeks old. And they are finally…FINALLY…in their permanent home.
As you learned weeks ago, I’ve been in a bit of a shipping date pickle. As in, I timed ordering my coop down to the day of picking up the little ladies. And since I work in television where we literally operate by the second, (10 seconds left in the break? No worries, I’m still chatting on the other side of the studio) the idea of back order never occurred to me.
Thank goodness my generous friend and chicken-raising mentor Janice Cole graciously lent me her extra “temporary” coop so I didn’t become a crazy person with grown birds residing in the basement.
But as fall settles in and the temperatures drop, it was becoming clear that the new coop needed to show up. And about six weeks after our pullets moved outside, they moved again. Into their lovely, large, sage green coop.
Two delivery men showed up to assemble the coop and the run, looking slightly confused about their assignment, but happy to help nonetheless. After wedging pieces of wood underneath a couple of the legs to make up for less-than-flat ground, Jay and I tackled the task of securing the run.
Along with the coop, I ordered a predator kit consisting of hardware cloth to lay around the run, preventing a curious and hungry raccoon from digging it’s way in for dinner. We staked the protection into the ground.
Secure latches make the nesting boxes impossible for even the most resourceful hunting animal to open. Jay installed a hook in the top of the coop where the heat lamp that kept the girls a toasty 90 degrees warm when they were babies will hang to take the edge off the upcoming frigid Minnesota winter nights.
I attached the feeder to the side of the run, preventing the chickens from kicking dirt and mulch into it as they eat.
After a few confused days (“We’re used to our little plastic coop! You want us to go where?”) the ladies settled into their new home.
Every night at dusk, they hop up the ramp connecting the coop to the run. They settle in for the night, cozied up against one another for security and warmth. In the morning, they are free to search for bugs, worms and a salad of weeds in the backyard. They are quiet, content and, in my humble opinion, living as God intended a chicken to live.
Now…we wait for eggs. Hopefully those don’t end up on back order too.