By week three everything is coated with a thick layer of dark, dirty dust. I can't do laundry without wiping down the outside of the machines with each and every load. I start cussing the chicks openly.
They can't go out into the cold cruel world until they are fully feathered and have a way to insulate themselves from the cold. Until then, they either need their mother, or in this case, the heat lamp.
But I was losing my already-tenuous hold on my sanity, so out they went, barely four weeks old. I am not completely heartless, however, and their heat lamp went with them. They will live in this box another 2 weeks or so, when they will move into the moveable hoop house.
The side walls open up on nice days, and there is plenty of room for all forty chicks. They can get under the lamp when needed, and get away from if the daytime temperatures soar while I'm at work.
This plywood box, 4x4x8 feet, was my very first coop and has since served as a brooder (place to grow chicks), a house for broody hens with their chicks, and a house for my goat buck when he was not in with the girls. The last buck, Dorian, started dismantling this box a chunk at a time, so now it is patched and on its last legs....but it will serve its purpose for at least this season.
The chicks are at that scruffy stage, loosing their baby fluff and replacing it with feathers. They are in their most awkward adolescent stage and looking pretty tattered from their move, just moments before these pictures were taken. Please excuse their uncombed (snicker) appearance.