Last night we were in a panic. We lost 2 of the chicks and this morning another one was missing. The weird thing was, I personally saw them all go into the coop. But they didn't come back out. No evidence of them in the coop, no feathers or odd chicken body parts around, and no unsealed exits.....So, this afternoon I made it my mission to find them.
Find them I did. I walked just about every inch of 40 acres and when I got back up to the coop, I heard them. I went into the coop and they were not there. I went outside again, and heard them inside....You would never believe where I found the 3 missing half grown chickens. They were in between the inner and outer wall of the coop. There was a small hole between 2 studs, that was maybe the size of a juice can behind the nesting boxes. There I saw a pair of moving legs.
We had to move the nesting boxes and open the hole bigger and out came 3 chickens, acting every bit as if that were a normal place for a chicken to be.
Since we had to move the nesting boxes, I decided this was a good time to clean out the coop, so we spent the next several hours doing that. And, yes, we did seal the hole back up.
I also called dig rite this morning to have the electric and water located around the coop. If the weather holds, this weekend we plan on moving my new coop onto the concrete pad, scooting the old coop over a little and setting the fence post to give the chickens a fenced in yard. This will help keep them out of the garden during harvest time. Last year they ate more squash and watermelon than we did. Their fenced in area will be around 25 ft by 50 ft. It does have a low spot in it, so either this evening or tomorrow I will bring in some dirt and fill that in.
Once all the coops are moved to their proper place on the concrete, I have siding to recover the old coop with, then I will paint it to match the barn. The new coop is already painted to match. My old coop was a freebie off of craigslist.org. The new one was a last years demo model from Lowe's in St Jo that I got for 75% off the original price. We already have the posts for their fence, but I will need to get some more fencing. I also think that we may also end up with room inside the fenced area to move the girls rabbit hutches to as well. That will get them out of barn during the summer, and during the winter we can maybe put them in the new rabbit hutch. I also need to keep my eye open for some more nesting boxes, or else make another 12.