What’s the best way to
move six-week-old chicks? By this age, they’ll jump right out of a
box if you try to put multiple birds in, and they’re not big enough
that’s its time-efficient to carry one under each arm the way I do with
Some years, when the time comes to move chicks from brooder to coop, we lift the whole brooder up onto a garden wagon and pull it into a pasture, then open the brooder door and let them walk out. However, the starplate coop
is significantly uphill from the area where the brooder is currently
located, and pulling the wagon there felt like too much of a schlep over
rough ground. I had images of the brooder toppling over and
scared chicks spilling out, running off in every direction.
Instead, I rigged a
two-part top for a rubbermaid bin out of two pieces of cardboard.
One piece of cardboard completely covered 80% of the open top of the
bin, and the other piece of cardboard became a hinged lid. The
move still required me and Mark to work together — I grabbed a chick,
he lifted the hinged lid, I stuffed the bird inside, and then he slapped
the lid closed. In short order, our little pullets and cockerels
were exploring their new home.
It would be even simpler
to just start the chicks where I want them to end up, but keeping the
brooder close to home has a lot of advantages. Outside our back
door, even the wiliest predator is too scared to snag a chick, and I can
keep a close eye on the youngsters during those critical first few
weeks. Plus, brooders need electricity, and it would take quite a
few extension cords to reach the starplate coop. With our new
chick-moving box, it’s now no big deal to transport quarter-sized
chickens over hill and dale, so we can enjoy the best of both worlds.