Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hurricane Alley

Madeline and Lester

Since they are named in alphabetical order as they get to hurricane status, I'm not sure why the hurricanes came at us out of order, but there you go. We actually got hit with two hurricanes in three days though it wasn't bad where I am sitting. Though Madeline swung close to the island she missed us to the south, however the storm did unleash a lot of rain. 20 inches or so on Wednesday; enough for some localized flooding and sandbagging. At our house there was not much more than the usual rain with some gusty winds above 40 mph, but no tree damage at all. Coop wise, after the last big storm I made sure the nest boxes weren't leaking and sure enough- dry as a bone. We tarped it just in case.  

We ordered some Cornish cross chicks about three week ago to start our meat side of the coop, so of course they'd arrive just as the hurricanes did. We had them in a box in our kitchen (I swore this would NEVER happen). When Madeline passed with just a whimper on our side of the island, I started a brooder since none of the chick-less hens were even slightly broody. 
I did the math and it showed that we needed only 3 square feet for the 12 chicks, but I made it 24" x 24" just to have a few more inches for wing tip room.
Matching Brooder, the Mini Coop RI started it out as a cube, then looked at it and thought, this is an ugly box. Why do I want to build an anything ugly? So deconstructed it and I re-worked the parts to make it a bit prettier. I then decided if I was going to changes things, I would really change it. I know it's not to scale as I did have to make the doors bigger so the windows had to be moved up, but hey, it's a close Mini me of the Coop. Maybe a Mini-Coop R? No? It is mobile. Still no? Okay. 


Identical brooder for spoiled chickens
Here they are side by side. I have the lamp cord coming out the back but placed here in front just so you don't get confused as to which is the brooder.... Still no?  Tough crowd! Well the chicks love it, we have a full sized chick feeder and one a quart sized waterer inside (I'm really glad I made it bigger) and we added sand and t-shirts for the chicks to snuggle on under the lamp. 
Tonight will be the first night outside for them, and the first night for the lamp so we'll do some frequent checking, maybe every hour for a couple of hours to make sure the lamp isn't to low. Outside temps don't go below 76-80 here this time of year but I will feel better if I know its neither too hot or cool.

Acclimating to their new home
I put the lamp about 12 inches above the chicks, with a puny CFL that is supposed to be a 60w but is only 13w for draw. How does that even translate to heat units for a chick that is either too cold or too warm?
Good that we have the extra square foot so the peepers can move away if they get too warm. 
We turned it on at dark, boy it puts out a lot of light. I can see the coop from the house through the backyard jungle.

All in all I am happy with the remodel of the cube to mini-coop, JoAnn already has the photos on Facebook and the feed back is positive so far. Whats more amazing to me than the cuteness of the yellow chicks, is the speed that our three week old chicks are growing! Feathers are almost all in, most have lost about 85-90% of their downy fluff and they are getting big! 

Next post: Damage Control and Remodel

Photo Credit: Double Hurricane heads to Hawaii http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/science-behind-hawaiis-double-hurricane-180960310/?no-ist
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