Last year, I got a dozen chicks of unknown breed (turns out they were Barred Rocks) from Tractor Supply because I was tired of waiting for the breed I really wanted to become available. What do you know, the next week the Co-Op had the Buff Orpingtons I had been searching for, so I got a dozen of them too. At the time, we had two empty bathtubs that were easily converted into brooders. This year, one of those is now the baby's tub.
So this spring I decided we needed a dozen more Barred Rock pullets since last year's so called straight run turned out to be 11 cockerels and one hen. I also wanted to get another rooster since both of our two Barred Rock roosters turned mean and went into the stew pot, so I ordered a dozen straight run of Buff Orpingtons. Then I though about how nice it would be to raise our own turkey for Thanksgiving and wanted turkeys too. The Co-Op offered three breeds and rather than just pick one since I didn't know which was best, I chose to order two of each, seems logical right? Then I found out they also offered guineas so I ordered some of them too.
The Barred Rock pullets came in three weeks ago and then two weeks ago the 10 guineas. We put the dozen pullets in the available bathtub but had nowhere for the guineas to go. Luckily the baby's highchair arrived in the mail in a perfect size box, so I cut one of the sides out and put the guineas in that.
The new arrivals put us in high gear to get the mobile coop finished especially because there was no way to know when the other dozen chickens or six turkeys would arrive. This project took longer than expected due to Nick coming down with a nasty cold that pretty much sidelined him for a week and a half.
The other thing that put a little fire under us was the fact that the guineas were starting to escape their box and are a booger to catch. It's amazing how fast those little guys are and boy do they crap everywhere!
This weekend, the turkeys arrived, which really put us under the wire to finally get the coop done and transfer both the chicks and guineas out there. Because they will be on pasture and we have a lot of hawks, we want the guineas to bond to the chicks and vice versa,since guineas are very good at sounding panic alarms when predators are around. Below are some picture of the mobile coop, the chicks and keets are separated by wire until they get used to each other and then we will let them mingle. Or rather, until they figure out how to hop over to the other side.
Nick played around some with the design of the new coop and made some improvements over our other coop. The first was to reduce the number of nesting boxes and increase the number of perches to cut down on the amount of poop in the boxes and keep the eggs cleaner. I also painted the inside of the boxes a dark red because I have been told that chicken will only go into dark places to lay eggs. We also kept the nest boxes lower because chickens and guineas like to perch as high up as they can.
So the next project will be getting a turkey roost and enclosure ready for when they outgrow the bathtub, which will be sooner then we know it. But first, we need to finishing fencing another pasture because Natasha is due to have her next litter in the next couple weeks. Oh yeah, and there are still another dozen chicks coming. It seems as if we are always rushing to complete animal housing of some sort. Maybe next spring I will learn my lesson and not order too many animals. Maybe, but I doubt it.