Thursday, May 3, 2012

Moving Day

Sunday we moved the Marans chicks from the brooder, in the garage, to the dog crate in the chicken run.  Over the years, we have worked out a system for integrating new chickens with the existing flock that works well.

The baby chicks start out in the brooder, in the house (mud room) with a warmer light.  Gradually, we reduce the amount of time the light is on as their chick fuzz is replaced with feathers.  When they no longer need the light, we move the brooder into the garage near a window.  There is a wider variance in temperature in the garage but they are still sheltered.

When they have all their feathers, we move them to a dog crate set in the middle of the chicken run.  This allows the existing herd to meet the new chicks without drama.  After a week, when the chickens are bored with the newcomers we let them out together.  We combine this with a play day for the chickens -- opening the door to their run so they can tear around the orchard, digging holes, chasing flies and searching for worms.  They are having such a great time that they don't even notice the newbies are out and about. 

Sunday, the chicks were ready to move into the dog crate in the chicken pen.  Camille, Kelly, Brett and I loaded the chicks into carrying cages and headed down to the chicken pen.

Camille carried Edith.

Since these are French chickens, I am giving them all names after French singers.  I started with Edith (Piaf) because this chick sang her heart out in the mud room.  The others are Zaz, Carla, Celine (I know she's Canadian but she made a beautiful French album and I love her).  I'm banking on at least two being roosters so only three names so far.

Camille put the chicks in the crate. 

The other chickens weren't too sure about the newcomers.  They fled into the hen house and stayed there until we were done.  Then they cautiously climbed back out to investigate.  While the others stayed at a safe distance, Speckles came over for a closer look.

The chicks were in heaven, chirping and sprawling in the straw.

Fuzzy Cheeks, one of our oldest chickens, was the next to come over to the crate.
The big chickens are already bored and blasé about the youngsters.  I think full integration is going to go off without a hitch. 


  1. it's got to be so exciting for them to see new additions. :)

  2. I love to look at all different kinds of chickens. What a great flock you have. Hope the transition continues to go well.

  3. I'm with Carol, I love seeing all the various kinds of chickens and sounds like they will be out and about with the adults in no time!


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