Fresh air in their lungs, blue skies over their heads and green grass under their feet. It was a time of firsts for the older chicks!
All of the babies, especially the first four Ameraucanas, are rapidly outgrowing the new 6′ stock tank we found on the farm and put them in. Truthfully, their days as chicks are numbered, and they are well on their way to becoming pullets. They are constantly trying to get out of the tank, and I don’t blame them. What a boring life, stuck in the same small area day in and day out. So Jasper and I built them a temporary fenced-in run in the backyard.
We attached the old rabbit hutch/chicken coop to it, so that after they get used to be outside during the day we can transition them to being out there at night, too. If all goes to plan, by summer we’ll be able to dismantle the pen and the chicks will be free-ranging hens!
First though, they had to learn that the grass was not dangerous but cool to their feet and home to delicious bugs. They had to learn that the sky was not scary (except when a crow flew overhead, and then it was terrifying). They had to learn that the dirt was not intimidating but fun to scratch and peck.
They were out in their pen for just a couple of hours the first day, and then after noticing them huddled together in the corner we brought them in and put them back in their warm tank. Yesterday they were out for about four hours and bitterly resented being brought back in. Today it’s snowing and sleeting outside, so I’m not sure if they’ll go out or not. They’d probably be much happier outside, snow be damned, and truthfully I’d rather have them out there, too. Inside, they are constantly knocking over their water, getting their bedding everywhere and making a mess in the stock tank. They stink. They are constantly testing their boundaries.
You know, typical teenager stuff.
But, I have to remind myself, they are still babies at heart. Just five weeks old. Little poofs of down still sift away from their necks now and then. So no matter how stinky they get, I’ll guess I’ll be keeping them inside a little while longer. Except when it’s nice outside. Then I can put them outside and out of my hair.