We have now mostly completed the “Peeper Coop.”
It still does need some paint and some shingles, but it’s functioning, people!
It’s very fancy, as you can tell. And it’s designed to house a chicken from hatch day to butcher day (or until it joins the other layers and pays me rent! HA!)
See the little cage on top, under the roof? That’s where the baby peepers go (note the heat lamp for demonstration).
When they are bigger and need less heat, they’ll move downstairs to their very own Peeper Coop, where they can grow to be nice meaty-size chickens in peace from the layers (the gals next door…who, in this picture are all standing in the Peeper Coop).
My very smart husband also installed a little chicken sized door.
That way, when integration day comes, and it’s time for the future-layers to meet the current-layers, we can just open up the little door. Since they’ve been living next door to each other for a few months now, it’s less of a shock for everybody when the neighbors wander over.
There is still the usual pecking order establishment: Batman the Black Australorp goes to each new peeper one-by-one and gives the nice little talk about how she is in charge and the one that they should report to in an emergency. (Yes we have a hen named Batman.)
Doesn’t she look intimidating? Sargent General Batman reporting for duty!
Actually, it’s not that nice. She really goes to each one and gives them a good peck at the back of the neck unit they squawk and let’s them know who’s boss. But it is good for chickens to know who to report to in an emergency, and it certainly shouldn’t be Petunia. (We love you Petunia, but you need a backbone).
This method of introducing chickens to one another is much nicer that what we tried last time. Chicken newbies that we were. We just stuck the new chickens with the old chickens overnight, thinking they would all wake up together and not really notice. “Hey, you’re a chicken, I’m a chicken, let’s be chickens together, shall we?” Yeah, no.
The fighting was horrific and we didn’t get eggs for weeks. Anything that they did lay got egg-eaten in all of the stress.
Hence, the Peeper Coop…
In all of it’s glory.