Sorry for the extended post absence. You may remember my last post about my tiniest chicken feeling under the weather. She ended up needing to spend almost a week isolated from the others, requiring hand feeding just to get her to take a few bites. It reached the point where we had a conversation about whether we should have a vet euthanize her or if we should (or even could) do it ourselves, and where to have the necropsy done afterward. When I decided to get chickens I told myself they wouldn’t be normal pets, and I would like to have meat birds eventually, but I was not prepared to have to make that decision yet. Thankfully it never came to that, and with daily vitamin drops and trips out into the yard to free range for her own greens she started to revive. Every time I would put her back with her flock though she would resume sitting in the corner, refusing to eat or drink anything.
It turns out she was shutting down from the stress of the Barred Rock trying to attack them through the bars of their enclosure. As soon as I realized that was the cause I dragged the ex-pen out onto the grass and gave up trying to integrate my Antwerps in with the standard chickens. So the bantams spent a few weeks in this haphazard setup:
Yeah, not exactly ideal. Aside from looking awful it offered almost no protection from predators. Every time I left I crossed my fingers a coyote wouldn’t decide to stroll through the yard and stop for tiny chicken dinners. If I hadn’t moved them out though it’s likely my tiniest chicken would have died from stress and malnutrition.
As we were pricing out lumber and hardware cloth a free chicken coop just sort of fell into our laps. It’s not exactly what I had in mind for design, but hey, it’s free. It will definitely be cheaper (and easier, I naively thought) to fix a pre-made coop up instead of building an entire new one from scratch.
From talking to the people giving it away I got the impression it had been sitting vacant for two years. It definitely needed a bit of TLC.
The day after we plunked it into the yard I got to work clearing it out and ripping up the plastic liner so the wood could air. Then I felt something crawling on my hand and I noped right back into the house hoping J would take pity and clean it for me. They are my chickens though, I wanted to get them, and J has actual arachnophobia. Inwardly sniveling about neglected chicken coops I trudged back outside to take another shot at it. Luckily for me the interior had been screwed together in a way that made taking it apart extremely difficult, so frustration won out over fear. There may have been (okay, definitely was) some cursing involved though.
Just taking everything out is already a huge improvement. On one hand it would have been nice if the Antwerps had easily transitioned into the existing chicken pen, but on the other hand working on my own coop is a lot of fun. I’m really excited to have a coop with my own design ideas. I have since moved The ‘Twerps into the lower run, and I can’t wait to get them permanently outside in their own coop. I was not anticipating them sleeping in the house this long.