The first batch of chicks from our stock are now about five weeks old (we call them “teens”)and nearly fully feathered. They’re also creating a crazy amount of dust in their brooder, so we figured the weather – 70 degrees with a gentle breeze – would be perfect for a first day outside in the chicken tractor.
Catching the little guys is the first part of the adventure – after some chasing around in the brooder, we put them all into an animal “tote” (a large plastic lidded bin with holes cut into the lid) and took them out to the tractor. Their first moments in the tractor were interesting: since they hadn’t been on grass before, they seemed unsure of the surface beneath their feet. They also bunched up near where we were watching outside the tractor.
The ducks were the first to pay a visit. They did their head-bobbing and talking amongst themselves and generally seemed pretty excited about the newbies. The chickens, including big daddy LaRue, eventually came by, too, and stared at the teens. We explained that they were all the adult chickens’ progeny, but the chickens viewed them suspiciously. Glad there was hardware cloth between them.
Gradually, the teens seemed to relax and check out their environment. For a first day outside, it seems to have gone well, and with them outside, we were able to clean their side of the brooder. We’ll bring them back in this evening, and take them out daily (weather permitting) so they can scratch up bugs and stretch their wings.
All of the animals enjoy the warmer weather. The Buff Orpington, Barbie, decided to stretch out in the sun near the barn. If chickens smiled, she’d be doing it. We know it won’t last, but how often do you get an unseasonably (pleasantly) warm and sunny Saturday? Carpe diem!