So, the chickens are in their new home. It was a lot more work retrofitting a pre-existing structure than perhaps we originally thought, and I’m not sure we really saved money, but in the end I do think we saved time overall. And with nighttime temperatures generally dropping around here, it felt more than right to move the chickens in late yesterday afternoon.
We still need to build in the nesting boxes and a roosting area, but right now Esme and her fast-growing brood of eight chicks seem to be very happy in their new abode. We’ll keep them in for a couple of days as they become used to their new surroundings, which will give us time to sort out one more loose end, the little bit of extra fencing we need to connect their own entrance to the coop to their run.
The chicks are growing fast and we’ll need to decide about what to do with the boys very shortly. We’re also thinking a lot about how we want to allow the chickens more freedom in the warmer months (prior to being given to us, Esme and her chicks were free roaming during the day on a local farm – we just weren’t confident enough to do the same right from the start).
We’ve called the coop The Map Room, as the large metal sheets that we used to sheath the lower walls and floor are old printer’s sheets, stamped with Canadian topographical maps. Having been stacked, unused on the floor of a farm building for a long time, the sheets needed a thorough cleaning before we could use them, and it was fun discovering the maps on them. One of the best examples has been attached to the wall higher up (partially visible in the photo above): it’s of Grassy Lake, Alberta.
If ever our chickens make it onto a quiz show, we want them to be ready to score big in obscure Canadian geography. And who knows, maybe it will make for better eggs!