We've had the chicks about a month and a half now, and all this time they've been staying in a giant rubbermaid 'bin' in our family room. The kids did love waking up every morning and checking on 'the baby chicks,' but last week, one of the chicks got out of the bin and was wandering around my family room at 8am. Luckily, I have wood laminate flooring in there, but nonetheless, it was time for these little birds to head out to their own home.
We had gone shopping for the materials to build the hen house ourselves. We even saw a great set up at a local feed store, which luckily, helped to change my husband's position on buying the most expensive stuff around, but yesterday, as I was looking for supplies on Craigslist, we found a private 'seller' of homemade hen houses not too far from home. They only wanted $100, which is the cheapest I've ever seen anyone advertise a hen house, and so, off we went.
But when we got there… it was too big to fit in our Jeep. These people had a really nice set up though, and they had A LOT of chickens. There were at least 7 separate pens, all housing a different breed of chicken. They had Leghorns, Wyendottes, Silkies (these are pretty) and some "Golden" something breed, and a few other breeds I can't remember the names of. They had adult chickens, teenagers, babies, an incubator… these people really had 'the works,' and they were very, very nice people. So nice in fact, that they took the time to talk to us, teach us a lot about chickens and chicken care, and even offered us an 'unfinished' hen house for only $40.00. We had to put on a roof, and a door.
They also gave us a milk crate to use for a nesting box, and a whole bag of pine shavings that they couldn't use because it was too small for one of their breeds.
- A sheet of metal for the roof, $10
- Screws- $3.00
- Latches for the door- $1.50
And the house itself for $40. So for just under $60.00 we have our first hen house.
I went out to the family room, and heard one of the chicks clucking like crazy. So I went out back to find my husband and tell him that the chicks were obviously bitching about something and probably because they wanted to get out of that bin. As I got to the back yard, I saw the brown chick on the grass.
No wonder the other one was pissed off. He took it's friend away. So he went inside and got the white one and brought her out too. We let them walk around the yard for a little bit, while we moved the chicken house to a spot under a nice shade tree, and then we put them in their new home.
We're planning to 'fence off' a 5 x 8 area of the yard with chicken wire, to give them a 'pen,' and then just put them in the house at night. But for today, the people who sold us the house advised we leave the chickens in the house. This, they said, will teach them that the house is their 'home,'