We had our first big chicken milestone this week! The Phoenix summer temp has finally started dropping below triple digits and our chicken babies are finally big enough to get kicked out of their office-nest, and into their outdoor coop! (If only starting a few hours at a time, but hey, watching them, it’s the most fun they’ve ever had!)
As animals go, the chickens were surprisingly very easy. They made a bit of a mess outside their brooder box in the office (especially once they got old enough to sneak out and get up on top of their makeshift bars). And then my kids got chicken feed all over the place wanting to feed them handfuls directly out of the big food bag (why oh why???). But as baby chicks go, they weren’t too stinky - we changed their box every few days (indeed they were quite rosy compared to the quail...whoo!!). Overall they took almost zero work - far less than a parrot or a dog (my two past pet reference points).
Nevertheless, we were excited for them when it was finally time to go outside. Our little girls are growing up! The first day we moved them, I just let the buffs out because they’re about a week older and could tolerate the heat better, but the two little black Astralorps made such a peeping ruckus (having been left behind - oh they were not having any of it!), I only lasted about 10 minutes before I sent them outside too. And they were the happiest little scruffy teenage-feathered chicks I’ve ever seen, scratching and digging around the dirt in their new coop.
Pretty soon they were going out regularly in the mornings until it got too hot, then back out in the afternoon until bedtime. My older son enjoyed ferrying them back and forth, until eventually they started jumping out of the box and trying to follow him as the first chick was being carried out, they were so ready to go!
We were worried at first there could be potential predators or other dangers, but (aside from this mini T-rex who stopped by one morning - thankfully when the chickens were in the house, haha!) this being north central Phoenix, so far we have had no issues with the coop. No...I take that back. The biggest danger is just the children (both ours and the other 3 or 4 running around in the close neighborhood vicinity)!! Especially when they leave the coop doors open and then later we have chickens running around too! But thankfully the chicks, by nature, stick close by and haven’t tried to journey past the safety of the courtyard walls.
They’re curious and sweet and fun to hold - I never knew what great little pets chickens could be! I know they won’t stay in the front yard forever, but for this time it was a great place to keep a close eye on them as chicks, right by the front door, with windows so we could see them all throughout the day. When they got old enough, they started spending full days in their coop, and even (after learning the routine), started putting themselves to bed in their nest box at night (they’re all lined up and ready for bed in the photo above) - what easy animals! This has been a fun stage, and I look forward to their next move to the backyard and letting them start to free range - and especially to getting eggs! (I mean REALLY - what other pet is super soft (just avoid the feet) and gives you cuddling, likes being held, follows you around curiously, turns your soil, eats all your annoying bugs AND on top of that, gives you breakfast every morning? Yeah that’s right...I couldn’t think of any either!) #IthinkImacrazychickenlady...