Last week I made the first attempt at moving my little chicks outside to their newly built hen house. When I checked on them a couple hours later, it was clear they were too cold to spend the night outside. So, back into the bathtub until it warmed up. The weather in Ohio has been very cold for this time of year the past week. I was hoping to leave them inside until yesterday, but Thursday it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. I had 2-3 birds standing on the feeder, jumping and trying to fly out of the tub. I sat and watched for a moment and they were within about 2 inches of being free of their box.
It was surprising as well as entertaiing to watch these barely week old chicks try to escape. And I quickly realized they were going outside, that night. If I left them in there all night there was a good chance I would open the door the next morning and find chicks loose in the bathroom, if they staryed warm enough.
So I set to work. My hen house sits off the ground about 2 feet, for ventilation, but it was allowing too much heat to escape, I couldn’t keep it warm enough for the chicks. I went on a hay run and stacked square bales around the bottom to insulate it and block the cold air, and I added a second heat lamp to heat the whole house instead of just one end of it. I let it warm up for about two hours before I tok the chicks outside.
They absolutely LOVED it! I checked on them several timest through the evening and they were definately warm enough. Running around and playing as they thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of the extra room. It has been several days and they are warm and dry and happy lil guys! It has been so much easier to care for them outside as well. Their waterer stays cleaner as they are not playing in it all day and night, and their feed stays in the feeder where again they are playing in the open space with each other.
They are growing like weeds and I am throughly enjoying having them and watching them seemingly grow overnight!
We are still talking about getting a few Guinea hens to join the flock, and I can’t wait!