Chickens pecking in the woods

Marlena Chestnut ShifflettThis spring the bird population of Shifflett Farms grew exponentially! First with the addition of eight peeps, followed by 15 Road Island Red pullets, and now two Royal Palm Turkey poults! With each new set of birds, valuable lessons were learned.



First, with the peeps we learned that those cute and fuzzy little balls turn into “real” chickens fast. From the time I brought them home to the point of getting feathers was less than three weeks. At first the peeps were at home in a large plastic tub in my kitchen. With their heat lamp on and plenty of starter feed, chick grit and clean water, these little birds were very content. However, this arrangement was only temporary. After about two weeks, the peeps were no longer so small and fragile and began to require more space. Still needing the heat lamp, we moved them to a much larger crate in the basement. Within a couple of days, we figured out that this crate needed some form of a lid to keep the small chickens from free ranging in our basement. Gradually, they no longer needed the heat lamp and could be moved to the big chicken coop.

For several weeks, we kept them in their crate inside the coop. This allowed for the older chickens to get used to them without being able to peck at them. We maintained this arrangement for two weeks before turning them out with the other chickens. The other chickens did very well with their new coop mates and did not bully them at all. The new chickens were a little skittish, and I jokingly still refer to them as my “vampire chickens” because they refused to leave the inside of the coop and go into the run or out into the yard for several days; but now they are doing great and are just another “old hen” in the coop.

6/2/2014 7:20:11 AM

What an adventure you've had! I couldn't imagine turkeys loose in my house…Brave woman Marlena!

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