As we recapped in Chick Recap: Take 2, chicks that were big enough to leave the fibreglass brooder had the steel brooder to sleep in at night and a grassed area to eat and run around in during the day. However one day when I counted them as usual, two were missing. I had a look around the yard and much to my horror, i found two piles of feathers and some intestines. I ran in to tell Kel and he came out to investigate. He thinks it was a Kookaburra as there was a feather from one lying next to the remains. We think it may have happened early in the morning as the chicks can just exit the brooder into the yard when they wake up and that morning Solomon (our Blue Heeler) happened to have slept the whole night inside so consequently wasn’t in his kennel, which is right next to the chick’s yard to protect them.
It was a sad day for us and even though we already had lost a few chicks due to various different things, it was a cruel reminder of how defenceless they are out in the open. Having them completely free range wasn’t an option anymore until they were big enough not be picked off by birds of prey. We didn’t want to keep them locked up either and netting the entire area would be expensive and annoying when checking water and feed etc.
After abandoning the wired tunnel, it had promptly sat in the garden not being used. At this point it was crying, ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ so we decided to put all the chicks in there. However instead of letting them out each day like we had done before when we were using the wired tunnel, instead we would just move it around onto fresh grass each day. The chicks were still able to run around, feel the sun and eat fresh grass at the same time as being protected from flying predators. Also by this time it was Summer so only the very young chicks were in need of a heat source so it was okay that the older chicks were now without one.
This also meant that the steel brooder was now out of action. So we decided that instead of having the younger chicks in the fibreglass brooder, which was in the shed on the other side of our backyard, we would move all of the chicks into the steel brooder. The newborn box still remained in the shed.
At our house almost nothing goes to waste so even though the fibreglass showers were no longer being used as brooders, Kel re-purposed them. I’ll let him post about that 😉