My brother came to pick up
Sussex chickens between one flood and another last week.
We learned the hard way
last year that catching
chickens in daylight is no fun. So we headed to the
coop the night before and plucked the four youngsters off their perch,
then settled them into the isolation coop for the night.
An isolation coop is an
awfully handy thing to have around, and it doesn’t have to be
much. Ours is simply a blocked off third of a chicken tractor
with a perch and a spot to insert a chicken waterer. Sure, the chickens
are cramped while waiting for their move the next day, but they seem
pretty content to just settle in and nap.
It’s actually a good idea to
make your isolation coop pretty small since cramped spaces make it that
much easier to grab chickens when you’re ready for them the next day.
We had no problem scooping up three hens and our young rooster to
stash them away in wire carrying cages. As you can see in the
picture below, Joey had brought a live trap to use as one carrying case.
Our homestead lies half a
mile away from where we park the cars, so my brother and I each had to
carry a crate of chickens. All was going well until we rounded
the barn and I noticed that one of my hens had laid an egg! (By
the way, this is a great way to make someone think they’re getting a
good deal when they come to take laying hens home.)
I set the crate down and
took out the egg, then lifted the cage back up…and a hen popped out!
Our wire cage was free when we bought our first set of chickens
five years ago, and the cage was pretty ramshackle then. It turns
out the wire floor had popped loose, letting a hen sneak into the wild.
Luckily, our Light Sussex are
the world’s tamest chickens. Even after being grabbed off her
roost at midnight, stuffed into an isolation coop until after lunch,
then crammed into a cage and bounced around on my shoulder, she didn’t
run off. Instead, she pecked happily at snails and greenery
around our feet, and once Mark threw down some chicken feed, sat still
long enough that Joey was able to grab her with ease.
We wired the cage back
together and continued on our way. Joey nearly dropped his
chickens in the creek while crossing, but just barely managed to make
it out unscathed, and both crates somehow fit in the trunk of his car.
I’m looking forward to
hearing how the Sussex like their new high
rise apartment, and
the rest of our flock is thrilled to be out foraging in the floodplain
again. Thanks for taking the garden marauders off our hands, Joey!