Our Babies are Growing Up and Movin’ Out

Our chicks have really grown up since the last time we posted about them a month ago.  Here are a few of the Ameraucanas when they were three weeks old.  They were so cute back then.

They were about twice as big as this white Silkie, even though they were the same age, and the feathers on one of the Ameraucanas began changing from a dark brown to white.

A couple weeks later, she had even more white feathers coming out.

Isn’t she adorable?

They’ve also started to fly.  Every time we took the screen off the top of the brooder, some of the chicks would fly up to see what we were doing.  This chick was usually the first one to check on us…and then she would often poop on the slow pokes that were still in the brooder. Naughty girl…

Not only are they extremely curious, they love to eat.  In fact, it seems like they’re always eating…or they’re pecking and scratching at the ground, looking for something to eat.  They especially like their grits.  Well, it’s really crushed stone, but they act like it’s chocolate-covered worms.

They’re usually pushing, shoving, and walking over each other during feeding time, but, for just a moment, they were well behaved for this photo as they munched on their grits.

A couple of weeks ago, we started taking them outside.  The two larger Silkies really enjoyed taking walks through the strawberry patch.  They were a little cautious at first, but then they realized there were delicious bugs and worms all over the place.  I think we enjoyed watching them eat the bugs more than they enjoyed eating them.  I’ll show you why in our next post.

All of the chicks have outgrown their brooder, so they’ve moved into their new homes in the backyard.

The Ameraucanas are living in a new coop that was built by a local business, the Backyard Coop Company.  The coop and run were a little expensive, but they’re made to last a long time and are large enough for a dozen or so chickens…not that we’ll ever have that many, but our small flock will definitely have plenty of room to stretch their wings when they need to.

The Silkies have their own place.  They’re enjoying their new Ware Manufacturing Chick-N-Hutch and Pen from Tractor Supply Company.  We always prefer to buy locally-made products, but this was made in China and was significantly less expensive than the Ameraucanas’ green mansion.  Unfortunately, we got what we paid for.  It is a very poor quality coop and run that should only be used as a temporary shelter.  Maybe it would be a good hospital coop for a sick or injured chicken, but I absolutely would NOT recommend this to anyone looking for a permanent home for their chickens.

Some of the more noteworthy events during the past month were two escape attempts.  The first one occurred in the garage when the screen was not placed on the brooder correctly.  During one of our regular chicken checks, we found one of our girls on top of the screen sunbathing under the heat lamp.

She looked like she just woke up…and she wasn’t all that happy about it either.

When I checked on the chicks this morning, I found the brown Silkie in the process of escaping from her run.  At first I was just happy that I found her before one of our many local predators did, but then I wondered how she got out of the run.  It didn’t take long to figure out that the door to the pen was partially open just enough for the small Silkies, but not enough for the larger ones.  You can see her running away from the open door in this photo.

We got lucky this time, but we’re planning to put chicken wire over the top of the fenced-in area to keep out the bad guys just in case we have another lapse in security.  Until then, we need to start checking and double-checking all of the coop and run doors to make sure they’re locked up tight before we leave.

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27 Responses to Our Babies are Growing Up and Movin’ Out

  1. Your green hen house certainly looks the business. We made the mistake of buying a flat pack chinese hen house at first, and in less than 2 years it is already falling apart. We have just found a local place that makes much better quality hen houses and are going to get one of these now. We also gave our chickens the benefit of a much larger run, as they soon decimate the grass. Lovely to see all your photos.

    • That’s a good idea. Our Silkies ate most of the grass and clovers in their run within the first day. After we get the screen over the top of the fenced-in area we plan to let all of them run around the 16′ x 16′ area. But I have a feeling that won’t be enough space either.

  2. Kellyann says:

    I love the pullets’ enthusiastic flying. But it makes me sad that they can’t fly when they’re full-grown; I feel a sympathetic sense of loss. Though I still laugh when they try to fly and find they can’t. 🙂

    • I know what you mean, but it’s probably for the best in our area. We have so many hawks, owls, raccoons, foxes, and other critters around that would love to “play” with them. It’s a mixed blessing.

      • Kellyann says:

        Yes, same here! We’ve only lost one chicken to predators, and that was to two domestic dogs, off their leashes and looking for fun. That was unavoidable, though sad, but in every way that they have control over, our hens are very canny about predators.

  3. Lovely to see your Silkies wearing their fluffy white hats. It makes them look like they’re attending a Zsa Zsa Gabor convention :o)

  4. CurtissAnn says:

    Thanks. I so loved seeing your setup and chicks. We have Ameraucanas, too.

  5. chickndaddy says:

    Love the pictures! I would love to have a couple of Ameraucanas, but theye seem to be hard to find around here. I’m not set up for chicks, so I’m looking for pullets. Maybe someday …

  6. everysensory says:

    They look like they are doing so well! All the chickens I have are real Houdini’s, some are much worse than others. Its a constant battle. And… my chickens can fly when fully grown – esp the bantams. Sure, they don’t soar through the sky but they can cover quite some height and ground in their flapping 🙂

  7. Those silkes in the strawberries look like some laundry lint is blowing around. Beautiful creatures!

    Why are you keeping the silkes and Ameraucanas separate? They grew up together and I would think they’d live happily together forever.

    We have a Chinese made coop that, rumour has it, doesn’t hold up well to the weather and rots. But we put a sturdy foundation under the boards at the base of the coop which keep it off the water (and level it and make it fox-proof). We’ve also almost finished installing some guttering to stop the rain splashes from bouncing at the base. Hopefully with our mods it will last a good long time. When the day comes to replace it, I figure we’ll make something ourselves. Probably nothing as nice as your green coop though. Your chickens are pretty lucky birds.

    • They are gorgeous birds, but they were starting to look like dirty laundry lint. For some reason they tend to stand under the Ameraucanas rear ends and then they get pooped on. It may just be that all of the chicks get messy and the white ones just show it more than the darker ones, or they may be a little too dumb to learn not to stand where the sun doesn’t shine. I don’t know which one is correct, but they are so much more beautiful when they don’t have fecal matter on them. 🙂 Hopefully we can keep them cleaner if they’re in their own coop.

      Those are good ideas. We may need to modify our coop too…or, if keeping the Silkies separated doesn’t help keep them cleaner, they may get to move back in with their buddies.

      • What a hoot. I was thinking you separated the Silkes because maybe they couldn’t compete for food or got bullied or something. I would have never guessed it was part of their beauty regime 🙂

        My theory would be love is blind and your Silkies love the Ameraucanas and don’t carew if they’re staring into that pretty little face or the other end!

  8. narf77 says:

    Welcome to the world of chicken (or in Australese “Chook”) keeping. We have 40 something chickens. We started with 8 “guarenteed” hens…1 (obviously lesbian?) rooster later and they started breeding exponentially. We are now slaves to them all…watering, feeding, counting, and sighing heavily as ours are all free range and live outdoors with all of the predators. We just lost 2 silver laced wyandotte babies who actually had 2 mums and they STILL couldn’t manage 3 chicks between them! We are getting eggs from our girls even though its autumn and just about everyone else has stopped getting eggs…ours have just started laying and show no signs of stopping any day soon. Chickens can take over your life (especially when you always have to check your shoes) but they certainly give you something interesting to look at and they are very rarely boring! Kids love them and the reward of a fresh laid egg is WAY out of proportion to the amount of food that you have had to shovel in to the hens to get that single pearly delicate food source. Have a great day and cheers for sharing your hens with us all 🙂

  9. AmySue says:

    Everyone looks so happy! I still have two silkies that won’t roost at night, but they go into the nesting boxes, so no poo on them. I think they just feel safer on the ground??? Thanks for sharing.

  10. babso2you says:

    We have given up on anything made in China and look before we buy to see where something is made. The quality of China made products is poor. Glad to see these lovely babies doing so well! The little white ones are adorable!

  11. We moved our babies out to the big coop a few weeks ago as well. We keep them in small pen next to the big chickens so they can get to know each other first. It makes them easier to integrate. I love our girls, but some of them just aren’t too bright. I’ve had the same problem with them pooping on each other. You’d think they’d learn to move eventually! I have our crew in a large secure pen where they can free range in peace without having to worry about our resident fox or great horned owl. When I weed the garden I bring the weeds in for them to eat. My big hens know that I bring them goodies so they always run up to me when I walk in the pen. I threw some weeds to my little ones and they squawked in fear and ran into the coop. Eventually a few of them figured out the weeds were good to eat and came out. I could watch them for hours, they’re so funny! Enjoy your babies. I look forward to more stories!

  12. What part of the country are you in?

    I build my own coops, far better and cheaper than those rotten prefabs.

    Can send plans.

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