Just a little update on our favorite urban chickens… after four weeks in the house and three weeks in the garage, we moved the baby chickens outside to a structure that I dubbed “The Chicken Shanty.” It was an old plywood table we had in the garage, butted up against the chicken run, with chicken wire on two sides and two pieces of mismatched plywood leaned up against the fourth side as doors. Rick built a little perch (notice I said perch, not roost… it was small), and we put the heat lamp in there.
This ‘shanty’ allowed the big chickens and the little chickens to see each other without being able to peck each other much. After a week of letting the adults free range the yard in the morning and the babes free range in the afternoons, I gave up and just started letting them all out together. I figured that our yard was big enough that they could hang out away from each other if they wanted, and, well, it was a hassle. They were going to have to get together at some point, right?
This weekend, we decided to take the shanty down and let the flock fully integrate. Saturday, Rick cleaned out the chicken coop thoroughly. He even pulled out the removable bottom to hose off, and the roosts, which we scrubbed down. After airing out and drying completely, we reassembled, and that night, taught the pullets where they should now go to sleep.
I was a little afraid of rushing things. The little chickens are still only about half the size on the adult hens. But the shanty was overly ugly and white-trashy (sorry, I can’t think of a better way to put it), and I was sure the neighbors were hating us. Plus my cousin is coming to stay with us this weekend, and I didn’t want her to see the plywood and chicken wire eyesore.
However, despite the size and age differences, they seem to be doing just fine. each morning as I open the coop, three big hens hop out followed by four little pullets. No one has been pecked to death or lost an eye yet, so I think all is well. Poppy, our head chicken (the hen on top of the pecking order), is the main pullet pecker. Usually it’s around food and treats. The babes are pretty fast and getting good at avoiding her by the food bin. But otherwise, every one seems to be living in harmony.