Moving Day.
The chicks get sent to the big house.

I remember years ago Martha Stewart had an episode where she was cooking something with eggs.  It was her original show where she was standoffish and quite scary (the way I like her) not the newer Martha show where she was forced to act kind of human.

As she was running down the list of ingredients she got to the eggs and said, “Just go out to your coop and gather some fresh eggs from your chickens.”.  I laughed and laughed.

Fresh eggs from your chickens.  From your coop.  Right Martha.  You idiot.

And then about 2 decades later, this happened to me.

 

 

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I’m an idiot too.

 

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This is my second flock of chicks, the Black Copper Marans,  which I now have to somehow integrate with my original,  older flock.

To integrate my flock a little bit faster and get them out of my shed, I decided to group everyone together but have them separated so my older hens can’t attack my smaller chicks.  Hens are vicious and could easily tear these smaller chicks apart.  Literally.  They will peck, scratch and gouge them until they’re dead.

 

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But I can’t have them living in the shed anymore and the faster I get everyone used to each other the better. So last week I moved the chicks into the big girl coop.  They no longer needed to be under the heat light because they have their adult feathers now to insulate them, plus it’s warm(ish) out.

 

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Cuddles, Walnut and Cheez Whiz had no idea what was coming.  By the way, I totally photoshopped out Cuddles poopy bum so you didn’t have to look at it.  My chickens have poopy bums like everyone elses.

 

 

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The first step in integration was to lock the bigger hens into the coop.  That way I could release the smaller chicks into the outdoor run without anyone being able to attack anyone else.

 

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The little ones took a look at the big hens and promptly ignored them and went about trying to eat straw.

 

 

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The older flock were interested in these weird black things but didn’t seem upset by them.  They may not even recognize them as chickens since they’re a completely different size and a completely different colour.  They’ve only seen each other you see, and they’re large and brownish/red.

 

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Earlier I had put up a piece of hardware cloth to cut the size of the indoor run in half.  That way the big hens would still have access to and from their roost in the “upstairs” as well as the nesting box that’s up there.  And the chicks would have their own safe room, in the back half of the lower run.

 

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There’s access and doors to the chicks portion so they get lots of light.  I have a screen that fits in the space perfectly so they have natural light and an see outside all day.  Plus I lock the big hens up once a day so I can let the little chicks out for a run.

 

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While the big hens were still locked up I corralled the smaller Black Copper Marans into their new quarters.  The big hens looked on.

 

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Once the little ones were secure in their portion of the coop, I let the big hens out again.  They ran/flew out in a flurry of feathers and ground to a halt in front of the chicks new coop.

 

 

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The chicks managed to remain terrified at the back of their coop for a full 30 seconds.

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Once the half minute of terror was over, they ran to the front of the cage to introduce themselves.

 

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Nobody screamed, nobody squawked.  Everyone was well mannered and pleasant.

 

 

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I’ll keep everyone like this for the next couple of weeks until the smaller chicks are big enough to defend themselves if they have to. Once I can tell everyone is getting along (as well as can be expected) I’ll take down the hardware cloth that separates them. It went fine with the Berlin wall, so I imagine this should go fairly smoothly. Although it probably won’t.

Then it’ll be onto the next integration. Goats.

Just kidding.

Speaking of which, did you ever see the episode where Martha went out and got Goat’s milk from her goat for making cheese? Just ran out and milked her goat. LOL. Milked her goat for fresh goat’s milk.

Idiot.

Oh crap.

77 Comments

  1. Opal L Larson says:

    Uch-Ho, I have milk goats, AND chickens, and yes I do make cheese too. I guess growing up really REALLY poor, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, we made do, a Dad would say, if we can’t make it out of what we already have, then, we don’t get it. Huge incentive to be a do it yourselfer. And yes, there is a huge feeling of, I did that ! when you can knit your own new car from steal wool. Bet wishes to all you, “I gotta try thaters” out there. Opal

  2. FarmGirl62 says:

    You didn’t realize that chickens are the gateway drug to goats? Oh. I’m so sorry.

    WHEN you get your goats, remember to get 2 because they are herd animals and will cry all day if left alone. In town, the best dairy goats (because you will be milking them, right?) are Nigerian Dwarf goats – they are smaller, give excellent milk and are pretty gentle. Ask me how I know. Go ahead. I got chickens many years ago and am currently expecting BOTH of my Nigerian Dwarf does (Chamay and Sassy) to kid any day. Every morning I open the door to the goat house and check to see if everyone is still pregnant. One day soon . . . they won’t be. Hopefully, I’ll be there when the event happens. I almost missed last time and was heading out the front door when they literally started yelling their heads off. I rushed to the backyard and baby goats were popping out of Chamay right on top of one another. Easiest birth I ever saw.

    Enjoy your goats. :)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. NOOO! I can’t have goats! I live in the middle of town, lol. They’d be bouncing off of everyone’s cars. Although. That does sound kind of cute in a demolition kind of way. ~ karen!

      • FarmGirl62 says:

        Oh, that’s right! I forgot to mention that I live in the middle of town, too! LOL

        Just build your fence 6′ tall and remember to get the Nigerian Dwarf goats – they’ll stay in there just fine.

        Enjoy!

  3. michele says:

    Aah Maria don’t be too sure Cluck Norris is a boy, I had a hen who crowed, yep full on crow on top of the coop, full throttle at dawn, really spooked me first time I heard it as I’d given away the stroppy cockerel.
    Best way to introduce chicks to coop is in the dead of night, just pop them on the perch while they’re sleeping, next day out they all run like they’ve always been together, bless their short-term memories.By the way I now have workshop envy.

  4. Linda says:

    Love the post Karen (as usual). I keep stopping any chicken ideas at the thought of predators getting to my pet chickens. Your coop looks really strong and built for efficient upkeep. Would it be possible to get a sketch of the whole thing? I’m not very good at putting together a mental image from multiple pictures.

  5. Kaitlyn says:

    Ha. I started out with chickens too. Two years later and I’ve somehow ended up with goats and a rabbit to go along with the chickens. It’s a slippery slope.

  6. nancy w says:

    Love this post! Two of my neighbors have chickens, and one is about to integrate new chicks into their flock of 3. (they now subscribe, after me sending your posts along so often) The pecking order is pretty brutal in both coops!

    We’ve had raccoon raids every so often, it’s gory and sad, one time they only left a trail of feathers. So we all make sure those chicken coops are latched at night…every day the chickens are fun to watch and the chicken keep-away game is my favorite lunchtime entertainment.

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  8. Tracey says:

    Ah, I just loved this post Karen! Thanks

  9. Mother ship says:

    Great photos!
    In the 2 times I integrated new chickens it was easy!!
    1st time- if you’re lucky – you’ll have a broody hen-
    We added on a second chicken condo with a chicken wire wall Btwn them- & transferred her over to the new nesting box (made it bigger with a board across the front bottom so any potential chicks wouldn’t fall out) when it was obvious she was still broody – we put some fertilized eggs under her- 21 days later 4 out of the 7 hatched- when they started coming out of the box by themselves – we let them out – the mom did ALL of the work… Protecting/ keeping them warm/ etc- it was fab! When they grew up we took down the dividing wall & they all intermingled at night too.
    About a year ago – after a raccoon raid & losing one to illness- we got 4 more – they were about 3-4 weeks old – already sexed, & ready for outside life – just put back up the dividing chicken wire & put the babies in the next door condo- after about a week stretched a long piece o chicken wire across the yard & let both sides out on their own sides… One week after that – I noticed one of the babies was getting over the outside barrier & hanging with the big girls (she’s now 2nd alpha!) nobody seemed to care! So much to my honey’s chagrin – I let them mingle- the babies were still 1/2 size . They still slept in their separate condos- when they were grown we took down the inside divider & they now all roost on one side…
    I think because of the dividing screen much like you have- it gave them time to get used to each other & establish pecking order without actually pecking!
    It’s Soo cool to watch nature at work- 3-4 months ago, we fostered a newborn bluejay – it survived & is now in our yard – it hangs with the chickens & eats their food & gets in their faces if they get too close- (does not roost with them though) –
    Is freakin hilarious to watch!!

  10. Laura Bee says:

    Only you could make something like this interesting & hilarious. Great photos! Hope the raccoon does not return. That coop is built strong – if it actually tried to get in you would probably hear the commotion from the girls before it got into the coop. Could you keep the coop cam set up like a baby monitor?

  11. Janet says:

    You have the best blog in America and your posts are so timely. Thanks! We are seriously considering goats because we have lots of weeds, and so we can laugh every day too http://youtu.be/tTO4jJzZkY4?t=35s.

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