May 22, 2014

Moving Day for Chickens

Ready for chickens

Once the new chicken coop was ready, it was time to move the chickens in. Because chickens (like other animals) do not like change, I put some thought into how I was going to approach this. I decided the best thing to do would be to move them at night. I'd give each chicken a wing clipping, put them in the new coop, and leave the flock in there for at least two nights and a day in between. First, however, we gave them a chance for a preview. I lured them in with scratch.

They took the tour and seemed to approve. I moved their feeder in so they had to come in if they wanted food.

When it came time to move them I waited until after dark and lighted the new coop with my Coleman camping lantern. One by one I plucked them off the roost in the old coop, clipped wings, and put them in the new. Even the Weather Chicken got the same treatment. Dan used a stick to jostle her perch so that she flew out of the tree and ran into the old coop. The trickiest one was moving my broody hen and her clutch. I moved her last and she was mighty upset about it. After a huge fuss, however, she finally settled back down on her eggs.

After two nights in the new coop I let the flock out and into their newly expanded chicken yard.

I confined them to the chicken yard for several days. I did this in hopes that they would continue to lay in the new nest boxes and not try to go back to their former random laying places. So far it seems to have worked.

There's a waiting line for the new nest boxes

I absolutely love the new coop. It's roomier, brighter, has easier access, and wonderful storage. It's shaded under oak and pecan trees. A fabulous breeze comes through the door and keeps it comfortable and cool. I can get that same breeze through our front door, but coming over a blacktopped road and treeless front yard means the breeze is hot! What a difference trees make.

And Mama Hen? Yesterday was day 21. In late afternoon I was able to get this shot.

Mama has five eggs but is being pretty secretive and pretty protective. As soon as she's willing to show and tell, I'll give you a full report.

Moving Day for Chickens © May 2014 


Carl Belken said...

Your chicken coop is awesome. We're in the process of trying to find plans for a chicken coop my hubby wants to build for our first ever chickens. Tomorrow am going to ask him to take a look at you folks coop. Thank you for sharing it with us all. :)

Mrs. Carl

Sandy Livesay said...


Your chickens look like they are impressed with their new digs!!!

I believe moving the chickens at night, and leaving them in the coop as planned worked out well.

The final coop looks really nice. This should work well for many years to come.

Dawn said...

Looks like the move went as planned and a new baby chick seems to be right at home. the move didnt seem to upset the arrival of the chicks, well done.
I definatly want a coop that I can stand up in.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Looks like you have used all the knowledge you have gained to make a beautiful, practical home for your hens. It really is five star accommodation. Looks like you keep Buff Orpingtons too, gentle, broody birds we have found.

Leigh said...

Mrs. Carl, I once borrowed a chicken coop book from the library and was amazed at how fun, fancy, and elaborate some coops can be, LOL. I'm happy ours and hope you all get some good ideas from it.

Sandy, agreed! And what a relief.

Dawn, living with our old coop and all it's problems really helped me figure out what we wanted in this one!

Gill, I'm a firm believer that experience is the best teacher. And yes, those are Buffs. Seems that every summer one Buff goes broody for me and makes a very good mama.

Farmer Barb said...

The chicken density looks perfect. The whitewash makes for some beautiful picture taking, too! Congratulations on job well done!

Quinn said...

Leigh, I was just thinking about your new coop yesterday, when I was arranging things in my new little goat barn and noticing it already has that "lived-in" look. I bet you took one long, last look at your immaculate new coop before you moved the hens in! ;)
Well done on your careful moving system, and especially for the success with the broody hen. I can imagine how huffy she was At The Very Idea!!!
It all looks gorgeous. The more we do, the more we learn how to do it better next time, eh?

DFW said...

Another item off your list! The new coop looks great & it seems the girls are happy.

Kris said...

Just beautiful - the setting, the planning, the results! I hope, that when I get old that at least HALF of that planning goes into selecting an old age home for me. LOL Lucky chickens! Great chicken mom. :-D

Renee Nefe said...

Were there any chicken move bloopers? Looks like it went well. Hope no one gets homesick.

You still have the goats in the old chicken house, right?

Cassandra said...

The new coop looks great! I'm glad everybody handled the move so well. Cant' wait to see the rest of the babies.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful job you and Dan did on the coop and run! I am sure those ladies are going to be super happy with the new digs. Good tips on moving them too.

Debby Riddle said...

Well done Leigh! inspiring!

Laylah said...

aaaw, good for mama! that first little chick is a cutie. :)

Susan said...

Sounds like you did everything right. It is so much easier to not have to go on an egg hunt every day. Lucky chickens!!

GrannyAnnie said...

Awww.... how cute! We have incubator eggs trying to hatch today and I can hardly wait!
What a wonderful and beautiful chicken coop! I am truly envious! I am sure they are loving it.
We do the same thing, too, move our chickens at night when they have to be moved. It works soooo much better!

Mark said...

Congrats, Leigh! The coop looks great, your well-thought-out move strategy appears to have worked wonderfully and the chickens seem to be settling in well.

I so very much appreciate the way you've shared the whole process in your blog. Your work has given me confidence in my beginning efforts and has been a big help in the success I've had to date.

tpals said...

A chicken post! I think you're very brave to move a broody that close to hatching. Congratulations on a successful move all around.

Sarah said...

It looks wonderful! So glad they are laying in the nesting boxes!

Leigh said...

Barb, the sad things about the whitewash is that it's already flaking off the walls! Next time I will definitely try adding glue to the mix.

Quinn, it's funny how quickly that brand new look disappears, LOL. And you are so right about the more we do the more we learn.

DFW, and what a relief!

Kris, now I'm hoping we can do as well with the goat barn. :)

Renee, the first night I had about 5 or 6 chickens lined up at the chicken door of the old coop. They were waiting for me to open it. :) I had to catch two and put them in the new coop and the others ran in themselves. The next night they all returned to the new home. :)

Yes, the goats are still in the old building. In fact we opened it up a bit for more room considering how many kids we have. Current discussions revolve around starting on a new goat barn!

Cassandra, sadly, I think that lone chick is it. It's been a couple days now but I haven't heard nor seen any more.

Stephanie, Debby, and Laylah, thanks!

Susan, you can say that again!

Anna, new chicks are so fun! Glad to hear the moving-at-night is a tried and true method.

Mark, thank you! I think you did a great job with your coop, and I've appreciated that you've blogged about yours too. I learn the best stuff from other bloggers.

tpals, that poor Mama Hen faithfully incubated a golf ball for about a week until I had pity and gave her some eggs. I agree it was chancy, and am glad it worked well.

Sarah, me too!

Frenchie said...

Your coop looks great! My hubby is building a new one for me. The other day I was looking at the progress he made and told him "You know what? This looks like a prison." :) We're using my daughters old horse stalls so the majority of my coop is metal and lots of hardware cloth. We have quite a few predators to try to keep out - neighbor dogs, coyotes, opossums, racoons, hawks.

Leigh said...

Frenchie, those predators are worrisome but it sounds like you've got good solutions for necessary precautions. I doubt the chickens will care what it looks like as long as there is food and comfort there!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

I don't like change either but moving into a new home is sometimes nice! I think they like their new house. How many chickens do you have? Do you sell the eggs? Nancy

Casa Mariposa said...

Sigh.... I really want chickens. Love your coop and beautiful girls!

small farm girl said...

I think they like it!