Graduating the Chicks from Kindergarten

Our baby chicks are getting big, and it is time to ease them into the flock. I have begun locking the adults into their main area to leave a smaller room open to the babies where they won’t be molested by aggressive beaks. We have a little hinged door that we can open and they can hop in and out once they get the hang of it, and it has a fence in it to prevent the adults from coming into their box.

I left their box open overnight, and the next morning I found all eight chicks roaming the run, so they figured out the exit process, at least. I let the adults in to see how it would go and sure enough, the babies cowered in a corner behind a piece of lumber while the big girls stood guard and pecked at anyone who tried to break free.

I had to grab each chick individually and feed them back through their door into the box, hoping they grasped the concept for later. They were all terrified to be manhandled. Besides that, they figured out they could hide from me behind the concrete blocks supporting their box, and one wedged herself in so tightly that I had to get help to move the whole box out of the way to reach her.

We decided to drop the box down to only one concrete block height and close up all the holes so they couldn’t hide underneath anymore. I tried it again the next evening and in the morning they were out again. This time, I didn’t grab for them but instead I filled their food and water in the box and stepped out of sight. Sure enough, one by one they hopped up into their box and were safe and sound in their private space.

I feel like this is going well. The adults and children can see each other through the fencing, and in a few days I will open the door between them and see what happens. The babies should be able to escape into their box when necessary.

About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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