I started this post a couple days ago and it will not be current for very long! The problem is that the chicks keep growing and feathering out despite the fact that my DH is not able to work on our mobile coop all week. That means that the chicks are getting big QUICKLY and the brooder is seeming to get smaller every day.
What to do? For now I am enjoying watching them get their feathers. The Black Jersey Giants look like crows now. They are 4.5 weeks old and are almost all feathered out. Apparently, farm animals don't wait for a convenient time to grow. They need more space NOW!
The immediate answer was to put screens on top before they flew out. I have no desire to be chasing chicks all over the basement. They are really doing well and get airborne enough that they crash into the screens. I guess we got them on just in time. We also put in some stands with rungs on them so they can roost. They like to sit on top of the stands. They are roosters!
I am really tired of having 60 plus chicks in the basement. There is dust everywhere, any clean laundry left sitting out for a couple days develops a fine coating of cream colored dust. For the most part it has not circulated through the house, for which I am grateful. The smell is only mild and I don't find it unpleasant. BUT I am ready for them to move into their non-existent mobile chicken coop.
I thought long and hard on this and finally came up with an answer! I cleaned out one of the stalls in the barn this afternoon and I am going to move the chicks in there in the next 24 hours. The weather is pleasant and the stall is secure. I am really pleased. I will take pictures once they are moved.
The other bright spot in my day, other than the sunshine and warm (54 degrees F) weather, was the fact that I noticed that my seeds are starting to sprout. The leeks and onions have been up for awhile. Today I noticed that the basil, tomatoes and carrots (growing in toilet paper rolls) are starting to sprout also. YES! I am such a newbie at this, that I always doubt that I am doing things right and if it will really grow. We have accomplished stage one! Yeah!!!