You’ve heard me go on and on about the value of having a wire dog cage to use in chicken care.
Dog crates come in handy as a way to isolate sick or injured birds and as a way to protect young chicks until they are ready to be introduced to the rest of the flock.
I’ve also discovered the value of a rabbit hutch (for one, there’s a roof, and for another, there’s much less bending at the knees.)
We, like many others, raise our chicks in the house and then we transition them outside once they are fully feathered. A problem arises when the chicks are technically old enough to be outside, but they are not big enough to defend themselves from the older and wiser birds’ inevitable pecking.
What’s a chicken owner to do (especially when the chicks are being raised in the dining room this year and despite our best intentions – even though we clean it, the crate becomes immediately ripe – yuk.)
Enter our rabbit hutch. We had a rabbit a few summers back and although she’s gone, her hutch is still here. It’s a sturdy little thing that I had occasionally used as a chicken ICU.
It’s now being used as a pre-school for our babies. The chicks (and the smell stay outside) and I don’t have to worry about their safety day or night.
Starting this weekend, we are going to begin the integration of the babies into the flock. This means the chicks will have supervised time with the older birds but will spend the nights back in the hutch. Based on our experiences, I want them all to be a little larger before I let them live in the coop full time. Using the rabbit hutch is a good compromise that will keep them safe.
Now I’m not expecting every backyard chicken owner to go out and get a rabbit hutch, but what I am saying is this – if you have a rabbit hutch, don’t be so quick to get rid of it and if you know of someone who wants to get rid of their hutch, raise your hand high and let them know you’ll gladly take it for use with your chickens.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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