It was a total impulse buy this weekend, the stores hardly ever have them for long and typically the minimum purchase the store set is insanely high…
… but this time at a clearance price of $1 each and with a minimum purchase of six we totally just invested in six more hens.
The selling point for buy more hens was the added egg production. You see, our older three have been taking turns moulting and we are now down to just one half dozen eggs in the fridge after months and months of 4 -6 dozen hanging out in there.
Since it is so warm and because the chicks seem to be somewhat bigger/older than our first batch they are already living out near the older hens (which we have been cautioned against and have worried about).
Of course they are separated by glass and chicken wire with our makeshift repurposed windows/ window frames chicken enclosure.
Introduction of new hens to an existing group should always be gradual and only done when all parties are big enough/ healthy enough. Most times sick chickens and small babies will be picked on/ killed by the existing flock.
Actually, the hotbox I built for starting seeds in (a three sided mini greenhouse of sorts from windows) is what the chicks are using as a coop right now as it keeps wind, rain and predators out and retains heat well.
In the photo you can see them inside the hotbox. Just behind the brick and on the other side of some glass you’ll see Bernice, our older hen, (just below Everly’s reflection) checking the chicks out from the shade under her coop.
The chicks have an exit from the hotbox so they can enjoy the fresh air along side the bigger hens run, they are separated by some chicken wire that we stapled to some empty window frames so they can try to peck one another and to get acquainted if inclined but the chicks can’t be seriously hurt.
Both inside and outside the hot box there is food and water. We also put a heat lamp back up in the hotbox for the evenings just incase they need it, of course they also have room to sleep away from the lamp if need be.
The chicks are WAY more active out in the dirt as opposed to in a cardboard box or bird cage. They are chasing bugs and scratching around already.
Everyone always has the impression chicks need a very particular environment, often indoors and away from nature to survive. However, the reality is, as long as they have the basic necessities (food, water, a warm area, fresh air, a cooler area and shelter from predators) their instincts will manage to keep them alive.
Keeping chickens is really quite easy and super beneficial in terms of nutrition and avoidance of antibiotics and growth hormones. Plus, it also redirects your egg buying dollars away from those heartbreaking mass farming operations and it is fun for the kiddos too!
Everly is very in love with the new chicks. She just watches them constantly. Yesterday she told us “They are my pets mommy, I love them so much!”.
Pets? Well maybe, until they are old and finished laying eggs but she’ll be older and better able to understand the “pecking order” of keeping chickens for food by then :P