We put 2 small dog runs together. The front will have wire on it today or tomorrow, and the other sides but one have shade netting on them, which will keep their legs and heads safe when they lounge. Sticking those things out, or against the fence, is dangerous.
The one side without netting or wire, which had a tiny bent portion, had a hole in it this morning. Some animal breached it. Thankfully, I lock the hens in their boxes every night. I assume by size and location that it was either a fox or skunk. Dh said that he will put some hardware cloth (wire with very small holes.) over it before tonight.
We had enough shade netting to cover one run, and 2/3 of the other run. Some of the 1/2 grown chickens are quite scopey, and could easily go straight up and out. The older hens would have figured a way out, also.
So, Dh temporarily put something on that one open bit to prevent them from flying/jumping out. And, to keep birds from flying in, or foxes and other critters from climbing in.
I want them to have a big yard, like they used to, with tall sides, but I'll settle for them being safe for now, and work on expansion as we go, and can.
I'd forgotten to mention turkey plans. I think that the few extra parts that we already have will be perfect for him to have a run next to the chickens.
Rather than have the 2 runs as one larger area, we have a dividing panel between the birds.
Since the younger ones are about 1/2 grown now, I was thinking that they could hold their own with the bigger birds, but I miscalculated their ages.
When we evacuated, they were not even 2 1/2 months old. That means that now, they are only 4 months old. They can't eat the adult food until they are 5-6 months old, due to the calcium. Keeping them separate prevents them from eating layer food, and prevents the adults from helping themselves to baby food, also.
It just seems like they should be older; they are getting so big!
Sure enough, there are only 7 adults. I kept hoping that at least one of the 2 missing birds would show up, but they didn't. I know that at least one was a victim, because there were a lot of feathers around.
But, the 7 are thrilled to be with us again. When Dh was working to put a few extra screws in wood from inside the run, they kept sitting on his feet, and wouldn't move.
The babies are learning about ground for the first time. They were kept in a safe place off of the ground when they were very small. Then, in a large cage when we evacuated.
When put into the run, they began pecking and scratching at seeds and bugs immediately.
I did learn that getting into the box for the night at dusk is not instinctual. After 4 months of never having done it, they didn't go into the box automatically at dusk.
The adults went into their new box immediately at dusk. But, the babies just huddled together on the ground for the night. So, they were picked up and put in.
Maybe after a few more nights they will get the idea and go in by themselves. Since I've never had chickens that didn't, I assume that they will.
Now that their plummage is changing, I am pretty sure that the chick that we lost originally was one of the 2 Brahmas. (10 Ameracaunas, 2 Brahams - now one, and 2 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes.) Not only that, but my light Brahma is not turning white or even buff. She looks like a Dark Brahma. We'll know everything after their next molt, but I'm 98% sure that she's a dark brahma.
I'm hoping that Ds can find a couple of pumpkins for the hens. I give them the seeds every year. And, of course, the rest of the pumpkin to play with and eat. I'm very big on keeping them engaged in things, and food's always a good route! But, the seeds are for health. I break them open in my Vita-Mix, which I actually have up here! I can't find towels, but have the Vita-Mix. Go figure! (I found a close-out on 4 towels, so am not really toweless anymore. But still, I should have bunches of my favorite towels. Sheesh. These are a sort of light pumpkin, kind of. If I wanted 4 towels for the price of 1, I had to take what colors they had. Actually, they aren't bad.)
So, the chickens have a place. It may change next spring or summer, but for now they are okay.
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