I just realized that the camera we have takes videos! I wish I had figured that out sooner...
These are our 6 day old broiler chicks. They are just McNuggets now but will be 3-5 lbs in 8 weeks and delicious. We have 200 of them brooding in the dining room, they'll be moved out to pasture when they are about 2 weeks old.
In early June it started getting really hot and we had a few birds die so it became apparent that we needed to move our Rhode Island Reds into the orchard where it is much cooler. I wish I had pictures of what we had to do to get 4 coops in there but we were too busy going Mad Dad to do so. They are VERY heavy, probably 1500 LBS and sit on top of runners, we have to pull them with a truck and they have the added bonus of being poorly designed and falling apart.
In order to get them into the orchard we had to lever them up with a 2x4 and a cinderblock and push rollers in, then replacing the rollers as we went, pull them about 100 yards, turn a corner, pull up an incline into the orchard, turn another corner and then go another 50 yards. The first 2 went relatively easily except for one unfortunate squashed hen. The third one took us getting behind it and pushing it before the pulling wire failed. We came back the next day, attached a new rope and got it in. When we started pulling the 4th one we broke the first runner, then the second, so that it for pulling it. Our neighbor with a trailer came over to help us with and it got a bit interesting. The plan was to use a winch to pull the coop onto its side on top of the trailer and then drive it over. Sounded good. Well we wound up with the coop lifted 7 feet of the ground, propped up on cinderblocks with 100 chickens underneath it enjoying the shade as the side of the coop started collapsing. We managed to drop it back down without injuring ourselves or any chickens but I learned from that, this lesson:
If something seems like a bad idea, it probably is.
We ended up converting the busted coop into a feed storage shack, and taking the coop we had been using as a feed shack and turning that back into a coop (having to move 2 tons of feed to do so).
Anyhow, the chickens are much happier in the orchard and can stay outside all day in the shade instead of sitting around panting in the sun so it all worked out.
These are the Black Astralorps at 3 weeks of age in late June, at this point they were getting a bit big for the space and were regularly flying out of the brooder and immediately looking around wondering if flying out had been such a good idea after all.
That's me on the left showing off my Farmer Heroin Chic look. This is a lightweight (relatively, it still weighs ~150lbs) moveable pen based on a design by Joel Salatin, a farmer in Virginia. It is really for broilers (meat chickens) but we figured it would work well enough for hens as well and since we are raising broilers now it would be a good investment. Anyhow, it is made of pressure treated lumber that is cut into thin sections to cut down on weight. The outside is covered in chicken wire.
The left half has 2 removeable top pieces so you can access the inside. We used leftover wall covering for a roof which works reasonably well except it is pretty floppy.
A friendly disagreement.
Welcome to the world of grass!
At first they were a little hesitant about their new living arrangements but they promptly realized how great it is being outside and started eating grass, catching bugs, and generally having an excellent time.