The pullets were growing fast and jumping out of their brooder quite often by the first week in August. One day we came home to them chilling out on the windowsill and walking across the room under the piano.
It was time to move them into bigger quarters. You can read about them before the move here and here. I need to update the journey since then.
We decided to divide the 24 chicks and put them in two different places.
The five Polish, four Dark Brahmas, two Blue Andalusions, and one we keep forgetting to identify, are in a temporary coop down the driveway in the hayshed by the side of the pond. The Polish and Brahma are low on the pecking order so it was best to separate them from the other breeds
and set up their food and water.
Soon they needed an additional waterer and soon after that a gallon sized one. It was also set on a higher block of wood. A hanging feeder will eventually be used in the permanent coop but the dish works fine until then.
Their temporary quarters had good ventilation and light and plenty of space to run around or roost . . .
or play *keep away* with some greens. . .
or have visitors in!
We wanted them to be able to go out in the sunshine so we constructed a small run and used what we had on hand. . . garden stakes, chicken wire, wooden beams, and baling twine.
It was very important that we secured the top with wire too. There are many other creatures living by the pond that might be predators.
They were a bit nervous to come down the ramp at first. It was their first time out on the grass. The White Polish was the first to check it out. A funny story after that one later.
Soon they all enjoyed the sunshine and foraging in the earth. They go into the coop off and on during the day and stay in there come early evening. The ramp door is secured at night.
The run was small but adequate for the time being. It was only a temporary situation. All hens will be living closer to the house before the New England weather turns cold.
The other twelve pullets, three Buff Orpington, three Partridge Rocks, three Speckled Sussex, one Rhode Island Red, and two Anconas are sharing the coop with the nine older hens ( Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, and Rhode Island Red).
They are free-ranging, pastured hens. Did you know that a hen can be called free-ranging if it has the choice to go to its water or its food? In other words, it can be kept in any kind of space, but as long as it can move from one to another at will, then it can be called free-ranging.
But free-ranging, pastured hens are able to move about the land as they wish. Pure freedom.
We set up a large wire dog crate in the coop to allow the hens to get used to the youngsters but yet keep them separate. Again, using what we have on hand.
The pullets could come and go from the run into the coop .
They would stay in the run until the early evening and then make their way up the ramp and into the crate all huddled together. The ramp door is secured at night.
Their run is larger than the one down the drive, with sun and shade and more greens, but again it is only temporary. After awhile, they will be roaming at will like the older hens and not be kept in a run.
Raising chickens is such a delight, in more ways than one.
The pullets should start laying in November.
Stay tuned to their growth update and the move to their permanent quarters.