Saturday, Little Man went and hung out with the neighbors all day. With him out and about, Dadabean and I tackled the baby pen. We needed it to be bigger than it was ( I was a goof and didn’t take before pics). At the size it was, it comfortably housed 2 couple month olds and 3 little week olds. We needed something to house those 5 plus the 7 eggs under Tutu (she accepted the eggs that were in Robohen) and 25 littles coming in the mail next week. We keep saying that we are going to have only a few birds…..
I also want to return to having Benelli and Ducati raising babies. We discovered (after placing them in a pen) that the babies they raise are great foragers, sweet , and have almost no desire to get in trouble. We placed them in a pen after a hawk took 4 of our chickens at Christmas while we were away. As Benelli and Ducati are my babies, I was greatly worried something would happen to them, so Dadabean created a pen just for them. With all the upheaval these past few months it was torn down. We just recently purged our flock of some egg eaters and mean chickens, which reminded me I did not want these new birds to grow up with those behaviors. Add to that the hawk is back and I am none too thrilled about it.
The fencing we used was initially around the house everyone sleeps in. Our first step was to take some of the fencing already apart of the pen and run it along the fence line. It served two purposes: it gave something to attach part of the pen fencing to and also blocked off the route the hens use to escape our yard. Then we removed the fencing attached to the chicken house on one side and attached it to the fence along the escape route.
Next we removed the door to the pen and set it in place next to the house. This now gives us access to the pen from either the front yard or the backyard. We now have access to the backyard without walking to the other side or going through the house (yeah! no in and out during air condition season). After placing the door, we removed the fencing from the other side of the house and attached it to the other fencing and door, thus completing the pen.
We were thus left with shoring up some possible escape routes and setting up the waterer. The Babies are thrilled with all the new room to roam and scratch about. Last night while I was helping Luna out, Dadabean and Little Man moved Benelli and Ducati into the pen. They were not exactly thrilled about it and have paced the fence line most of the morning, but since I have gone out and held Benelli the have calmed down some.
Using the pallet in the middle of the yard, Dadabean will eventually build a new house big enough to house Benelli, Ducati and babies without mommies. We learned that at some point most of our broodies are done with the babies, but the babies are not quite able to make it in the big yard. When mama starts pecking and chasing she gets kicked out and the babies remain with Benelli and Ducati until they are ready to join the big backyard.
This is where the babies sleep right now. Not pictured is the dog crate with a roosting bar in it that Benelli and Ducati stay in right now. Once the new house is built these places will be used for the broody hens and their new chicks. Now all we have to do is wait for babies.