Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chicks in Day Coop

At Red Bucket Farm, we have a small portable structure we call the day coop. This little unit is especially useful for raising chicks, housing sick or injured hens, and as extra daytime shelter for the flock during the winter months.

Our day coop is 40"x 60" and 24" high. The wood frame is covered securely with hardware cloth. It has a hinged wood roof over an open floor. It keeps our birds relatively safe during the daytime from dogs and hawks, but it is not secure from nocturnal predators like coons and foxes.

Our spring chicks have been enjoying warm days outside in the day coop. The constellation girls (Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Ursa and Venus) are just over three weeks old. They are losing their baby fluff as their feathers fill in. On warm days, we transfer them outside for a few hours, but they always come back into the brooder box indoors at night.

The chicks are kept separately from the mature hens for a few months, until they are all approximately the same size. It's a bit tricky to incorporate new pullets into an established flock because the older hens can be aggressive towards the younger. For now we keep them at a distance. They can see each other across the lawn. Later in the summer, we'll start moving them together.

We had an unusual experience in our day coop this spring. The little coop had been inside the fenced chicken yard all winter and the hens would hang out there during the day. Somehow, a rabbit boldly built a nest inside the day coop. I found a little hole in the ground complete with six baby bunnies last week when I moved the day coop to clean the chicken yard. As I discovered the little critters, all of the hens came running to examine the squirming mass. They seemed as surprised as I was! Chickens are carnivores, so I quickly removed the bunnies to avoid a bloody slaughter. Evidently the day coop provides shelter for more than just my birds!

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