The chicks are three weeks old now and have more than doubled in size. They were really tired of living in their tiny brooder and would stop and stare at me anytime I walked past. Let me tell you it sent chills down my spine to have 10 tiny chicks freeze and give me the stink eye at once!
As you may know I have a chick hutch that has a squatter living in it at night. Foghorn is not allowed in the coop at night, so says Houdini, therefore he sleeps in the hutch.
I didn’t want to buy another so I had asked a few people I know who have chickens if they had one I could borrow. No luck! So, I got creative or as my husband says, you went hillbilly. Whatever!
This was my master plan. I asked a friend if I could borrow her dog crate that she is not using. This would be the new living quarters. I lined the bottom with cardboard from some boxes I had left over from Costco, and topped that with shavings. I used a couple of dowel rods for perches. Now the little girls had a much bigger home, with better air circulation and it was FREE! Plus, no more stink eye.
That part of the new home was easy!
The hard part was building a small outdoor run for the chicks to be able to go into during the day. Plus this would serve as a safe way to allow a greet and meet when its time to add the new girls to the current flock. Allowing the Senior girls to check out the Freshman girls without blood shed. We have all been there!!
I knew that we had saved the poles from the grape arbor that we had torn out earlier this spring and I thought we could re-use that lumber to build the run. I counted out the 2 x 4 and we had enough with just a few cuts with a hand saw to build the frame for the run.
I asked my son Jacob if he would help me build it on Sunday. Being the wonderfully brilliant child that he is he agreed and immediately came up with a better plan than I had. He informed me that the 2 x 4 that I had would be fine for the “bottom and top” of the run but that using 2 x 4 for the support or the “walls” would not offer enough support. He explained that because of the weight and length we would need something more substantial so that the structure wouldn’t wobble and fall apart. Especially when moving it from one location to another.
Is he smart, or what!!
No problem we just had to pull out the 4 x 4 that had been the support polls for the grape arbor.
Now we had all our supplies,
- 6 – 2 x 4
- 2 – 4 x 4
- Deck Screws
- Chicken Wire
- Hand Saw
- Table Saw
- Deck Screws
- Staple Gun
- Tape Measure
With our supplies laid out and our plan in place I happily handed Jacob the reigns to the project and acted as assistant and photographer.
Because of the thickness of the 4 x 4 Jacob had to use our table saw. He measured out 3′ and cut each pole twice ending with a total of 4 – 3′ sections.
The rest of the cutting Jacob could do with a hand saw.
We kept 4 of the 2 x 4 the length they already were for the length of the run and Jacob cut 2 of 2 x 4 in half for the sides.
On a final note, about two hours after we put the girlie’s outside Jim was watching the chicks from the doorway when a hawk did a fly by. A_ _ _ole! But no worries this run is built to keep out predators, hawks, fox and dogs!
Jim said the girls immediately went on alert and they all ran directly into the dog crate! Its amazing at 3 weeks they already know what to do when a predator comes around. Of course it’s probably because my chicks are are so much smarter than average! 🙂
P.S- the door never got built, which is just as well, because it makes it easier for me to put the crate up against the run. Maybe next Sunday.