We decided to do the move in a two night process. Our biggest concern was how hard it was going to be for our very conditioned chickens to figure out how to roost somewhere other than the coop they had spent their entire lives roosting in. Watching them through this process Robert decided it was slightly akin to a smoker quitting cold turkey. They struggled. But only for a few nights.
Because this coop was not designed with enough space to keep the chickens penned up in it during the day we decided to move only twenty hens into it the first night. We picked the birds that seemed to be the escape artists from the chicken yard. While I have never seen a big yellow Buff Orpington bird outside of the chicken fence, we have a group of colored Aracaunas that have routinely made their way up into the barn to lay their eggs and drive me a little insane on a daily basis. These are the birds we figured we'd have the most trouble keeping in the new chicken yard so we moved them first.
Waiting until dark meant it was relatively easy to pick these birds off of their roosting ladders, clip their wings and load them into bird boxes to be hauled to the new coop. Having stayed in there one evening, Milan got his first chance to pick up eggs out of the new laying boxes which he was pretty pumped about.
Moving on night two took a little longer when one our horses decided to have a bellyache in the middle of the process requiring a late night trip to the vet to pick up some medicine leaving Robert to catch birds and clip wings without any help. Despite being past our bedtime it got done.
Milan and I spent the next morning cleaning out the big chicken coop and preparing feeders, waterers and lights for the incoming peeps. No phone call came from the post office that day, but our phone rang bright and early the next morning to "come get these peeping chicks!" So I did.
75 new peeps. 25 Plymouth Barred Rocks (a new breed for us) and 50 Aracauna chicks made their way from Cackle Hatchery in Missouri. Well, 73 anyway, two just didn't make it through the mail.