April 4th 2012, I bring home 6 one-day-old chicks, 6 yellow fuzzballs that will fit into the palm of your hand. They’re in a cardboard box a little bigger than a shoe box. Every bump in the road, every turn, every stop and every start would get them peeping as loud as they could. Very traumatic ride home and I’m a safe driver, well some of the time. I had set up their new home, a 2 foot by 3 foot cardboard box in the dining room. A heat lamp, a chick feeder tray and a watering jug had been borrowed from a friend. He had gotten his chicks in February and didn’t need these items right now. When I picked them up, I was watching his chickens, they were all feathered out, maybe a little skinny but they were chickens, not cute little fuzzy chicks. I asked how old were they. My mouth dropped when he said six weeks. “SIX WEEKS”?? Yeah, they grow fast.
I need a coop, really soon. That cardboard box in the dining room won’t hold them for long.
At 3 weeks they were jumping and flapping their wings, some could make it to the edge of the box.where they would perch. A week more and one jumped from the edge of the box to the back of the dining room chair. We knew this was coming and had a screen cover for the box.
I decide to make my coop up on stilts. The floor area is about 4 feet by 5 1/2 feet, enough floor space for up to 7 chickens. I made it that size so I couldn’t go nuts and bring home more cute chicks. Some chicken owners do that a lot. I purchased treated fence posts for my stilts and set them 2 to 3 feet in the ground. Then built my coop on top of them. Most of the coop is made from pine boards that my father-in-law and myself milled from 3 large pine trees that we cut down 2 years earlier. The roof material is 2 sections of metal from my neighbors old swimming pool. The run is an old chain link dog run that I salvaged for free. “Backyardchickens.com” talks a lot about the $900.00 egg or the $1200.00 egg. This is the first egg that your chickens lay. And this is how much you have spent yo get that first egg, This does not include the time and energy you have put into this adventure. My first egg was a $350.00 egg. It was laid August 4th 2012, four months after I brought them home.
The cute little fuzzballs have changed into moth eaten, partially feathered preteens, that only their mother could love. They changed daily. It was hard to tell who was who. Oh Yeah, we did name them, Ini, Mini, Miny, Mo, Giselle and Jasmine. Once you name them, you can’t eat them.
Coop done, out they go. First night in the new chicken condo. I rise early the next morning and look out the back window. And what to my wondering eyes do appear??? A FOX. A red fox is walking around the run and the coop. How did he know?? He must have gotten a tweet or a little bird told him.
The baby chick, Giselle, as she grew was changing faster and getting bigger than the other hens. At 8 or 9 weeks, when she started to crow, we renamed her Jack. And a handsome rooster he is. I can’t even complain, I ordered 5 hens and came home with 6 chicks, one turned out to be a rooster.