Graduation Day for the Chicks

Yesterday was our Dominicker chicks’ first day out of the barn.  Cherie and I set up the new coops and net fencing on Thursday evening, then moved the chicks into the coops.  Yesterday morning I opened the doors for them, expecting them to plunge enthusiastically into nature.  But having spent all their life inside, they were very reluctant to leave the coops.

We put 10 chicks in the smaller coop.   They refused to come out and spent all day just looking out the door.

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We put 16 in the larger coop.  They too refused to leave the coop for most of the day. 

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But late in the afternoon they all spilled out.  Then the question was whether they’d go back in for the night. 

Some figured it out quickly and went up the ladder to the roost.  A few tried, in vain, to roost on the roof of the coop.  Finally the last of them filed up the ladder to bed and I could close the door and return to my own roost. 

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Hopefully tomorrow the more cowardly bunch (there’s a good reason we call cowards “chickens”) will leave their coop.  I expect they’ll all have it figured out in a few days.

We’re very happy to be a part of keeping this great old breed alive.  As I’ve mentioned before, they were once the most common breed on American farms but were driven to near extinction as the industrial model took over American agriculture.  They’re the most docile breed we’ve ever had and they have very soft feathers and are a delight to handle. 

The rest of our chickens are true free range, but these ladies are destined to do garden clean-up duty so we’re training them to solar powered electrified net fencing.  The idea is to move them into spent gardens to have them wipe out pest larvae while tilling and fertilizing the soil.  We’re excited to see how it works.

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6 comments on “Graduation Day for the Chicks

  1. Ann Wood says:

    YOU HAVE A THEME GOING, BILL & CHERIE…CHICKS FLYING THE COOP…SOME MORE WILLING THAN OTHERS…PEYTON FOR ONE! GO, DOMINCKERS! LOVE THAT ‘OLE’ BIRD – FROM MY YOUTH & AROUND BEFORE THAT TIME TOO – REALLY!

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    • Bill says:

      You’re right Ann. I thought about the sayings “won’t leave the coop” and “flew the coop” as I was dealing with this. We raised one who doesn’t like to leave the coop and one who doesn’t like to stay in it. 🙂
      So far I like this breed better than any we’ve raised, although as you can see from today’s post we had a tough situation with them yesterday.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    What beautiful birds they’ve turned into! And how funny that they didn’t want to leave their coops. It makes sense – it’s just another of those things I’ve never thought about. Of course, I’d never thought about chickens tilling a garden, either, so there you are.

    What I want to know is, who gave their commencement address? And what did you say?

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    • Bill says:

      As it turns out the “cowards” were being prudent. Those occupying the reluctant coop are all safe and sound today. All those who ventured out sooner are not. 😦

      There was no ceremony, but that might have been fun. My daughter and a friend once conducted a wedding ceremony for a couple of our goats.

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