Chickens in the Shed

Chickens in the Shed

pb260023 This is Raymond, staring at the shed door, because on the far side of that door are four baby chicks in a cardboard box tucked into a dog crate all kept warm by an infrared light.

There were six chicks, but I erred and thought they were too hot under the light, and so two of them caught a chill and gave up their tiny little ghosts. They’re resting peacefully in the compost pile.

pb250026 Here’s the little peepers. Saturday morning I called Murdochs, our local ranch store to see if the chicks had come in (they’ve had a shortage this year, one of their hatcheries cancelled on them). They’d just unpacked an order, so I jumped in the car at 7:30 to get there before the small children of Bozeman had mauled the poor little things to death.

They only had two varieties — Rhode Island Reds and Red Star Sex Link — so I got three of each. They cheeped all the way home in their tiny cardboard box. So loud for little tiny things — they’re none of them any bigger than a ping pong ball, with downy little proto-feathers.

pb250032I wound up putting them in an old cardboard box with nice high sides to keep the draft out, inside the dog crate to protect them from critters, and then covered it all with a tarp to keep them warm. I don’t have electricity out in the shed, so there’s a very long extension cord strung across the yard (Patrick left me several 100 foot outdoor extension cords — the benefit of relatives in the party tent industry).

Last night it snowed, and the temps dropped down into the high twenties, and I’m happy to report that the four survivors seem pretty perky out there. I took a couple of old towels to drape over the tarp to try to keep them a little warmer, poor things. But they’re in there, cheeping away — I’ll have to clean the cage when I get home from dog walking.

And so a new adventure begins. Chickens! I’ve wanted chickens forever, but kept telling myself that I couldn’t have chickens because I have dogs. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop telling myself  that things I want are impossible — to taks a shot at it. And so, chickens. Chickens!

5 thoughts on “Chickens in the Shed

  1. I think you’ll love the chickens, and of course the eggs too. I have a dog & a cat & a daily dog visitor and the chickens have been in no danger of harm from them since about an hour after the chickens first arrived. My critters pretty much ignore them, though they are completely enclosed in a coop at all times. The biggest danger in my urban Seattle neighborhood is the local wildlife. I had to chase a possum out of the coop one day — and then get the coop reinforced.

  2. Yeah, Owen doesn’t care at all, and once Ray gets properly introduced, I’m sure we can train him to know that he DOES NOT TOUCH the chickens — but the poor guy, he is a Brittany, so he’s hardwired for birds …
    They’re so cute, my little cheepers …

  3. So exciting! You’ll love having chooks. Our bird dogs (two labs) have learned to happily coexist with the hens. Even when the puppy forgets that he’s not allowed to chase them he’s never hurt one of them.

  4. Oooh, so much fun! They’re addictive, too! I have 13 now (12 hens and a rooster), one hen sitting on eggs, and a hatchery order for 25 more due to arrive in a couple of weeks! I’m on twelve acres in the boonies, though. 🙂

  5. Your gonna love the birdies. I now have 5 hens in a pen in the backyard. You may have to worry about dogs you may not. Depends on the dogs in question. A good enclosure for the birds should negate most dog problems.

    I raised my birds 2 at a time in a birdcage in my living room until the first batch got big and we got a pen built. Here in Texas, in the house we didn’t even need a heat lamp. As babies, they got very familiar with us and are now good and tame.

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