Finished hoop house~ Coop training begins, again.

Putting on the finishing touches
Putting on the finishing touches

 

Secured with screws and zip ties
Secured with screws and zip t
The tarp is on
The tarp is on

Now that the hoop house is finished, it is time to introduce the little and middles to their new home! They have been in a temporary little dog house converted into a coop. This makes a great first outside coop. Both coops are enclosed in fence to keep them safe.
We had hoped to have their bigger home ready before now, but things usually take longer than we think for one reason or another!
Night one: It is nearing dark so we begin taking the girls one by one into the new coop. We sit them on the perches, talk sweetly and try to get them to stay. Some do, some try to leave immediately. One acts like she is trying to break out of jail! We continue taking them one at a time in and they keep running out, lol! We decide one of us should stay in there with them and one get the others so we can keep the running out to a minimum. We get about half of them in. The other half have cooped up in the old coop and are not happy when I move them so we call it a night.
Night two: Earlier I closed the fence door to the old coop so they can’t head into it. At dusk an entire flock of chickens is poking their heads through the fence and whining. We take a few of them in one at a time and sit them on the new perches. They are not real happy to begin with. We continue this process until at they are all are in the new coop. Three or four are still fussing and act like they aren’t sure about this place. Jailbird is still trying to break free. But they settle down finally and all is well.
Night three: Fence is closed to old coop again so as dusk approaches over half head to the new coop by themselves and jump up on the perches. We stand quietly in the background and watch. Slowly more and more head in and out, in and out until all are in except two! Make that one. Only one is left, all alone perching outside the old fence. So sad. I scoop her up and hold her. I think this is Jailbird. She is beginning to panic a little. Finally I take her in the coop, kneel down with her on my shoulder and she steps off onto the roost. Success! At last. All are in and settled for the night. Maybe she will go by herself tomorrow.
Night 4: It is just barely dark. All the girls are in the coop quiet as can be. Everyone is perched. We have passed this course of coop training. All is well in our chicken world.

All in and perched.
All in and perched.
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Snow/Sleet days on the farm in South Georgia!

Iced over Coops

Iced over Coops

This has been an interesting winter to say the least! Our dogs have seen snow once and they were not very fond of it. Sara Lee was just a young’un and she played in it a couple of years ago when it actually stayed on the ground, as long as we were out there too! The older dogs not so much. Now the cat and the chickens, this is definitely a first for them. The silly cat keeps trying to go outside, I keep trying to keep her in. She runs outside or just takes a look out the door and runs back in! In the meantime I’m saying “hurry up silly cat you’re letting out the heat!” The older dogs crunch across the ice slowly as if to say, “what is this stuff and why is it on my porch and grass?” Sara Lee doesn’t really care, she’s always full speed ahead.

Icicles
Icicles
Icicles make pretty decorations
Icicles make pretty decorations

This winter has been some of the coldest weather we have had in a long time. We have closed vents and windows on the chicken coop, secured the doors tightly, fed the chickens scratch in the evenings all to keep them warm. Why? Because we thought they might be cold. Everyone deserves a warm place to sleep at night and duck into during the day to knock the chill off. Well,these silly chickens absolutely loved this wintery mix we just had. They got out there and pecked ice, sleet and snow and stomped around in icy cold puddles! We were up like we are in the arctic and they are playing and having a blast. During the short time I had my mittens off to take pictures I thought my hands were frozen solid! But they are not cold, so I am no longer worrying about them in the daytime anyway. Yes, I will still give them scratch to warm their tummies, and close the coop up to keep it as warm as possible but these birds are resilient! I am no longer a worried chicken mama. Except I can’t help but worry about foxes, coyotes, hawks; I hear owls are a problem too. Oh my, I’m putting back on my worried mama title. 🙂