News from the Coop, Part 3

Two weeks ago the five buff orpington chicks moved into the coop.

They lived in a large wire dog crate for awhile so they and the older chicks could get to know each other. Less bullying goes on that way. They had plenty of room to move around and their very first roost, a PVC pipe stuck through the wire, close enough to the ground that they could get up there easily.

The older residents of the coop are four black sex link pullets, two dominique pullets, and two speckled sussex, gender unknown.

The two speckled sussex chicks came from a straight-run bin at the feed store. I fully expected them both to be roosters. I still can't tell for sure by the combs or the neck feathers.

I've spent a lot of time observing the two of them, trying to figure it out. At this point, I think that one is a roo and the other a pullet. One holds his tail differently; the feathers flow downward. The other holds her tail upright, like the rest of the pullets in the coop. I don't yet see much difference in their combs. Having a pair would be wonderful, but only time will tell for sure.

As you can see, my coop is kind of rough but it serves its purpose. The "flooring" is a mix of gravel, dirt and dirt clods. There are rocks to stand on and to look for bugs underneath. It's great fun when I turn a rock over, everyone rushes over to see what they can find.

The roost is an old sawhorse we weren't using. I replaced the rotted-out top board with a new 2x4" and nailed an extra slat halfway up the side. It's not pretty, but it works - and they use it. I'm planning a new set of roost poles but this was something I could do on my own right away.

The dominique girls are demonstrating the roost.

When I feed them in the morning there are usually several chicks on the top and side roosts. It makes me smile to see them using it.

This week the two buff brahma chicks will move to the coop. They'll spend their first week in the wire dog crate now that the orpingtons have been integrated into the flock. Soon it will be one big happy family.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. Good looking flock of chicks, Kathi. Have you started counting all of the eggs you will get? (-:


  2. I hadn't even thought of how many eggs I could potentially get, Fern! I'd only gone so far as to hope I will have eggs this spring. When I've had spring chicks in the past, I usually don't get many (or any) eggs until the following spring. Fall chicks should give me eggs in spring.

    I'm happy to share extra eggs though. :-)

  3. I think both are pullets. Look at your neck and saddle feathers. if they are fatter and have rounded ends they are pullets. If they are thinner, longer and have pointed ends they are cockerel's. I can never tell by the comb. Just the feathers.

  4. That would be hilarious if I had two pullets from a straight run bin.

    I can't ever tell by the feathers, but I will look again. I can't tell by the combs. I double-checked online today and this breed does have regular combs, and I would think I could tell by now. I've thought for quite some time that they are both the same sex, whatever it may be, then yesterday thought the tail feathers were different.

    The comb has always been how I knew... and I don't see a difference.

  5. They certainly are a striking bunch! It must be a good feeling to know you are providing something they enjoy.
    Thanks for joining us on The Maple Hill Hop!

  6. I love your creative use of the sawhorse for a roost!

  7. Thank you, Jamie. It works perfectly for a few birds. Of course, when all 15 of my birds are in there it won't be big enough!

  8. When is it safe to add the babies in with the older birds?

  9. Hi Conchopearl. Weather-wise, it's safe to move chicks from the brooder to the coop at about four weeks, when they are well-feathered.

    When I have older birds, like now, I put the younger chicks in a wire cage with food and water so they can all see each other and get to know each other. There will still be some bullying though when you let them all out together. I've been providing places for the littler ones to get away from the older birds. It's probably harder on us than it is on them, but it is painful to watch.

  10. Those guys are adorable!! :-)
    Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop. I hope we see you again today. Pinning!!

  11. I am so glad I ran across you post on The Chicken Chick blog hop. I have a friend that gave me 65 baby chicks this summer and I had no idea what some of them were. I had this adorable hen that is under my feet every time I walk out the door or on my shoulder. I had no idea what type of hen she was until I saw the picture of you speckled sussex.

  12. I'm happy to help, Shelia - another kind reader identified my speckled Sussex chicks for me; I didn't have any idea what they were either. I love having a community that helps each other out. Thank you for your comment!

  13. Your chickens make me smile too! Thank you for sharing over at the December Country Fair Blog Party! Always nice to see and read your posts Kathi.
    Laurie - Country Link

  14. Thank you, Laurie.


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