Moving day for the chicks!

The chicks are growing like little weeds, are nearly all feathered out, and are getting alarmingly athletic and increasingly impossible to keep in Ian’s shower. I could imagine how much fun I’d have chasing them around the cluttered interior of the cave, and so it was clearly time to move them to their interim quarters in the Big Chickenhouse.

I started raising chickens with a baseline of exactly zero knowledge on the subject. In the intervening almost six years I’ve tried various solutions to various recurring problems and some were comically inappropriate: I’m looking at you, fishing net*. Some work a little bit. Some work pretty consistently. For example: I finally learned that if I need to catch a chicken, the very best time to do it is after dark when they shut down. Chickens are strictly day-walkers; they are absolutely helpless after dark. Rounding up 14 very active chicks would have been disastrously impossible at 4 PM, but after 7 PM it’s like picking up fuzzy little rocks.

So I gave them time to go to sleep, then snuck in with a carrying cage and gathered up their sleepily complaining little carcasses and moved them to the big cage…

I had to get out there early this morning because last night I gave them water but not food, so they were going to be very interested in eating. I also wanted to see if the hens were up to anything untoward…

…but they barely seem to have noticed there’s a fat dozen of their replacements present.

The plan, which has worked before, is to leave the chicks in the cage until they’re big enough not to fit through any possible holes in the chicken yard fencing, which will also give the hens time to get used to their presence. One time I just released pullets in with the laying hens willy-nilly, and chaos and death ensued. I learned the hard way that laying hens can and often will go medieval on newcomers.

While at Landlady’s I checked the rat traps in her barn…

…and note to self: Bring mouse traps. This is the second morning in a row I’ve found an untripped rat trap with its peanut butter neatly removed. Checked the trap for function and it works fine, so best guess is I’m just feeding mice at this point.

*Sweartagod, there has to be some antediluvian net-related atrocity or calamity buried deep in the traumatized psyche of every chicken. Chickens universally go absolutely apeshit at the sight of a net. My hypothesis is that the dinosaurs were actually wiped out by net-bearing aliens.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to Moving day for the chicks!

  1. Mark Matis says:

    The basic philosophy of chickens is that they will eat anything that won’t eat them.

    Or die trying.

    You don’t need a mouse trap:

    Let the chickens take care of the problem for you!

  2. brew says:

    The snatch ’em in the dark trick is handy to know… what I also do is train them very early to associate me saying ‘chick chick chick’ with treats, so I can pretty much call them to me whenever I like. I also free range mine (in the back yard at least) but when I want to pen them up I can just walk to the coop, say chick chick and they come running… toss in a few grains and close the door behind them…

    Ya, the net thing… I learned that one the hard way… or a big piece of cardboard has the same effect…

    You can’t herd chickens… sure would be dang handy if you could…

  3. Mark Matis says:

    Oh come on now. He’s now got a herding dog. Sounds like a good chance to get some exercise for Booger Brain. Of course, I expect a significant amount of chicken poop will be sprayed all over the area in the process, but…

  4. M.Silvius says:

    Forget about the mouse traps they only catch one at a time. If you really are serious about eliminating mice, get a five gallon bucket and a beer can. it will catch a pile of them without resetting.

  5. Ben says:

    Really Joel, one of those tricky beer can/bucket traps, plus your game camera, could make for some really entertaining posts, even if (perhaps especially if) the experiment were a failure.

  6. Ben says:

    Now that I think of it, your game camera could also be used to see how the mice are stealing your bait.

  7. Kentucky says:

    Bought a very similar, if not identical, trap to use on chipmunks and had exactly the same results: bait gone, trap untripped. Glad it only cost five bucks.

    I even drilled holes in the bottom to secure the bait and they STILL stole it!

To the stake with the heretic!