The girls are here! I popped over to Tractor Supply early this morning to pick out my little brood and all their supplies. I was absolutely thrilled that a fresh batch of Buff Orpingtons had just arrived yesterday afternoon. Buff Orpingtons are some of my favorite hens because of their pleasant, easy-going personalities.
Since I wanted a little color mix, I grabbed two Buffs and two Black Australorps. They also had some Rhode Island Reds but I didn't want to break up the matching pairs. There is NO reason for this at all other than color balance AND I think it might feel lonely to be the only one of your breed in a group. If you are getting chickens, you can definitely mix it up. This is my own little lunacy.
Tractor Supply makes it very easy to load up your cart with a beginner poultry kit that has a starter watering can, feed containers, and a hanging heat lamp with bulb. I added a package of large flake shavings and a bag of organic starter feed and we were on our way.
Once we got home, everything went fairly smoothly. I pulled out the sliding drawer and filled it with shavings then placed the food and water inside. I rigged the heat lamp overhead with a hook I screwed into the upper beam. The lamp came with a handy clamp but I didn't feel there was anything solid enough to clamp onto that satisfied my fire hazard concerns. The heat lamps get very hot so I wanted to be sure it wasn't going to fall down or get knocked off. If you have some good 2x4 sized beams in your coop, the clamps work great and I've used them a lot in the past but this coop didn't have anything beefy enough so I hung it from a hook instead.
I did have to rig the extension cord from the garage out to the coop. I did this by running the cord out the garage window and then weaved it under the roof frame of the coop. This actually required me to unscrew the roof so I could pass the plug through but it wasn't hard to do at all. I used some twisty ties to run all the cords along the inside roof of the coop and voila! I can reach the plug from just inside the door so I can unplug and plug it in without any trouble which is a good thing since we are currently experiencing heatwave weather and it's too hot to run the lamp during the day.
Once the heat lamp was in place, I introduced the girls to their new digs. They settled right in, eating and drinking right away. I forgot how much they nap when they are babies and how they pile on top of each other and also zonk out so hard they look like they gave up the ghost. I couldn't tell how warm it was in the coop so I snagged my temperature reader from my 3D printing studio and placed it a bit under the heat lamp. It was at about 85 degrees or so and climbing so I cleaned up the area and grabbed a drink while I waited for it to get a true reading. When I returned, the chicks were cheeping away and were huddled at the other side of the coop. The temp read 111 degrees. Oops! They must have thought they part of a roast chicken dinner menu. I unplugged the lamp and it's warm enough today that they don't need it. Plus, I keep running out there every 20 minutes to make sure they are okay. I think they are getting sick of me peering through the window all the time. Tonight should be interesting and I wonder if I will get any sleep at all.
Lastly, there was the task of naming them all. After five children and all the zillions of farm animals and pets I've named in my life, I decided to turn the chicken naming task over to my grandsons who were more than happy to help and offered up names with exceptional speed. In the photo above, from left to right, I proudly present to you:
- Tiny T-Rex
- Thirsty X-Man
- Sonic Mario
So, there you have it folks! My little clutch of girls are now safely housed, fed, watered, and named. Now comes the task of keeping them alive. I'll have to keep an eye on Thirsty X-man to make sure she stays hydrated. It feels awesome to finally say, "I have chickens" rather than, "Someday I will have chickens."