Chicken Update: Month 1

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I spent the past two weeks in the Green Mountains of Vermont while this website went on publishing without me.  I know some of you were wondering why I wasn’t replying to comments, announcing posts via Facebook, and yes, even worrying whether I was okay.  I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you in advance, but my husband (who already thinks I “overshare”) made me promise not to tell a soul, and a promise is a promise.  We had a marvelous time on vacation, hiking, canoeing, swimming and being bitten by bugs.  The one thing we hadn’t banked on?  The chickens.  We toted them with us, along with most of our menagerie of pets.  They lived in an over-sized computer box, replete with food dishes and heat lamp.  And they seemed quite content.

Until, that is, about a week in, when one of them came flap-flap-flapping out of the box.  There’s something comical about chickens taking to the wing.  At least when you’re sitting in a cabin, 200 miles from home, and you aren’t expecting a chicken to come sailing out while you’re watching a movie.  By the end of the trip we knew the chickens were ready for their new home, and we were going to have to build it.

My family and I returned home, setting aside laundry and a mountain of email in lieu of coop construction.  We’d found a photo of a coop we really liked in one of the chicken books we’d been reading, and even plans online.

Only problem?  The coop as written is too small.  My husband and I altered the dimensions of the general plan, using it more as a guide instead of law, and with financial backing from my Mom Central Grant, we set to build our own version.  Four long days, multiple trips to Home Depot, and one visit to the ER later, the coop is DONE!

The chickens now have ample room to stretch their wings and YES, even fly!  The coop is strong and secure and should protect them not only from the elements year-round, but from the bevy of predators that cruise our yard.  We even hung a rope perch and dishes for our gold-capped conure, Kiwi, so she can hang out in ‘the aviary’ during warm summer days.

The chicks themselves have at least tripled in size since we brought them home a month ago.

They’re looking more and more ‘chicken’ like every day — sprouting feathers instead of fuzz, tiny combs and sturdy legs.  It’s fun watching them scratch for bugs, dust bathe and go about their chicken business.  And in ~14-18 weeks, we should have FRESH EGGS for recipes here on The Daily Dish!!

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15 Responses to Chicken Update: Month 1

  1. Country Wife says:

    My they have grown!! Sounded like a great vacation, flying chickens and all! 🙂

  2. Christy says:

    Hey CW! It was a lovely vacation, made more memorable thanks to the chickens! LOL I’ll be blogging about it too – just catching up still. Stay tuned. 🙂

  3. Adrianne says:

    That is Awesome! Have fun with them. I’m sure the girls love them.

  4. Chicks are so much cuter than babies! I mean, I love all of my friends who are having babies right now and posting daily photos of them, but chicks are FUZZY! And chickens have feathers! I’m totally serious when I say you should be doing an entire chick photo blog/Tumblr right now. That thing would go viral like crazy.

    I can’t believe you guys went on vacation with the menagerie. I hoped you watch Return to Oz a million times while you were on vacation and renamed one of the chicks Bellina.

  5. I hope your family had a wonderful vacation – it does sound like a lot of fun!
    What a great coop, too! Sounds very successful (minus the ER part, anyway). Construction can be brutal! But you do have some very impressive looking results, anyway! I hope all is healed! 🙂

  6. Christy says:

    Thanks Adrianne!! They sure do!

    Katie, I’ve never seen Return to Oz! I’ll have to check it out. While on vacation, we watched Fantastic Mr. Fox (awesome), School House Rock, the Princess Bride and two full seasons of Dirty Jobs w/ Mike Rowe. Maddie’s become addicted to old Monty Python episodes, so she watched many of those too. The cabin has no TV connection, and the general store has a really limited selection these days, so we brought a ton of DVDs from home. It’s funny how few photos I’ve taken of the chicks. We’ve been so busy since we got them, with graduation and then packing, then vacation. I will have to pay more attention to capturing their development.

    Thanks Inky! Vacation was a lot of fun. The coop building less so – though rewarding in its own right. The ER visit was no fun AT ALL. We were at Home Depot the first evening, getting more supplies. We had flat metal roofing on our cart and Georgia came too close to the edge. She cut her leg open – the laceration was clean, wide and deep. I rushed over and held it together, calmly telling her – it’ll be fine, just don’t look at it baby – while John ran to get a bandage. We went straight to the ER. 4 hours and 8 stitches later, she was feeling right as rain. Poor thing was terrified initially (worried about the pain) but after a good dose of numbing agent, she didn’t feel a thing. About 5 stitches in, she even started watching. Even me (the human shield) joined in — though I am NOT a surgery enthusiast. She gets her stitches out late this week. Thank goodness all is well. So happy to be done the coop!! Thanks all for the compliments! 😀

  7. Tammy says:

    Funny thing happened to me last week. I was driving home through the suburban side streets and had to pull over, get out of the car and lead animal rescue. A dog? A possum? Both common in our neighborhood. No! Two black baby chooks who had flown the coop. We had a bus, mini van filled with kids, an old woman walking her dog and a young surfer dude all waiting until the owners found rakes to safely herd them back. The bus driver would be particularly grateful of your coop if he were there!

  8. Tammy says:

    Great job on the chicken coop! Is it permanent or can it move?

    The chicks so big and pretty. Glad you survived your vacation with them. I forgot all about how they can fly out when they get their wings. I bet that was a funny sight. hee hee!

    Sorry to hear about the trip to the ER. I hope it wasn’t serious.

  9. Christy says:

    Hah! Tammy, great story! Thanks for sharing.

    Tammy (#2) lol — yes, it is mobile, though we have to install the wheels on the light end and a bar across the heavier side (w/ the box). It’s heavy so we’re not going to be moving it daily, but we’ll be able to transport it around the yard when we think the chicks (and the grass) need a change. It was definitely a surprise when that first chick came flying out of the box – talk about unexpected. Hah!! PS: Georgia lacerated her calf when we were shopping for flat metal roofing at Home Depot. The cut was deep & wide, necessitating 8 stitches, but it’s healing very well and there shouldn’t be much of a scar. Thanks for your concern!

  10. OUCH! Wow, I’m very, very sorry to hear about that, Dishy!
    That’s awful! Sounds like something I would do (only I’d have passed out for sure)!
    I hope that Georgia is feeling much, much better now!

  11. Christy says:

    Thanks Inky! She’s fine — I have to keep reminding her (or holding her down) to put bandaids over the stitches. She’s one rough & tumble gal!

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