Cornish cuties update: out of the basement and into the garage

My Cornish cuties have been in the basement nearly 2 weeks now (I wrote about when I brought them home, in this blog post) and I can’t stand another day, frankly.  I started them out in one large box, lined with newspaper and a thick layer of woodchips. Even though I try to look on the bright side (the bright side being, these chicks are certainly producing lots of manure for my new compost pile!) the truth is that it is a lot of work to keep them clean enough to prevent their unique . . . um. . . stinkiness from overpowering the house.  Even if I clean out the box every single day, there is an odor to these chicks that does not belong in a civilized home . . . . nay, not even in mine.

I get my large cardboard boxes (in which I brood my chicks every spring) from the local appliance store, but sales of large appliances must be slow this spring.  I have called and the sweet man there, Ellis, has assured me that I am on his Large Box Waiting List, and I’ve called again and he has assured me so patiently that yes, I am at the top of his list–still–and that he will call me, he promises–but he hasn’t come through this time with a large box for me.

Not possessing a very, very large box was a problem, but I did this, instead:  I started them out in a medium-sized box that I already had, not a big appliance box, as usual.  Within a couple of days, they were crowded, so I cut out one side of that box and added another one to the end, kind of like a spare room. I congratulated myself on this cunning “addition” idea.  They spread out a bit and grew some more.  Within a few days, the chicks are crowded again, so I cut out a side wall of the addition, and added another box, another spare room.  Within a few days they are crowded again.  I fret and worry.  I’m out of boxes.  You can practically see these chicks grow if you sit and watch them for a few minutes.  Then one night (with no boxes left to add) I sit up in bed with an idea.

In the morning, I call my dad.  “Don’t you still have some stock tanks that Mom used to use when she raised water lilies?” I ask.

“Yes,” says my Dad, and (sometimes I think he can read my mind) “Which one do you want to borrow?”

So the very next day, my generous and understanding Dad brings over the stock tank I’ve chosen, in the bed of my mom’s pick-up truck, and little Mack and I get to work making it the next home for my rapidly-growing chicks.  It needs a spraying out, and then a drying-out, and then it takes me not long at all to line it with newspapers and wood chips, so I can get those stinkin’ chicks out of the house!  Mom stuck around to help me, too–to my embarrassment–and I hauled the remaining newspapers and manure promptly out to my compost pile.  Phew!  What a relief!

The house smelled so much better, instantly.

"Time for supper yet . . . Mama?"

Mama?  When’s second breakfast?

Here are my Cornish cuties just two weeks ago, when we brought them home from the store.

Hey Ma, this is nice but all we really care about is the FOOD . . .

Hey Ma, these are nice new digs but you didn’t really have to go to the trouble–all we really care about is the FOOD . . .

Here they are today.  Check out how they’ve grown! Their baby fuzz is gone, and they are nearly covered with white feathers now.  In the background of this picture you’ll see one of my little Americauna pullets.  The pullets still are very small, unlike their fast-growing Cornish cousins.

Oh!  Look! Breakfast!

Oh! Look! Breakfast!

Cornish cuties update

Room to breathe, room to move, room to grow . . .

Room to breathe, room to move, room to grow . . .

Ollie is interested in the chicks, but not TOO interested.

Room for Ollie to watch . . . don’t get too interested, Fella, we all know that you are a bird dog.

The chicks will stay in the stock tank in the garage for another week or so, when I’ll move them outside in the PVC and chicken-wire enclosure that Bryan and Timothy made years ago for me.  But I have a bit of work in front of me, to excavate it from the brome grass and weed trees where it’s been sitting for the past couple of years . . .


YIKES! Get out the loppers!

YIKES! Get out the loppers!

I’d better get out there now and start pulling and clipping . . . and I just know, now that we’ve gone to all this trouble, that Ellis from the appliance store will call today!

21 thoughts on “Cornish cuties update: out of the basement and into the garage

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I am so thankful for my folks, Carrie, and I’ve been out today in the wind cleaning up that chick enclosure. We’ve actually had rain during the past two weeks, and so the brome grass is really getting tall!

  1. Aletha McManama

    Hey, Amy! I know you haven’t heard from me in ages, but I caught a glimpse of your blog post title on Facebook and I had to read what you wrote about today. I only have four Rhode Island Red hens that we’re preparing to place in a chicken coop here in about a week or so and they are the messiest girls EVER! All they do is eat and poop, eat and poop and EAT, EAT, EAT. They are just over five weeks old and they have grown accustomed to me taking care of their basic needs. And, yes, that includes cleaning their cage that they are housed in. I never thought of joining boxes together to make them a “hallway” to run around in. That’s so cool!

    Just over the past couple of nights, however, they are letting out a loud cry and it’s usually about the time they are all trying to roost. It is annoying because they won’t stop right away. I’ve learned that putting a towel over the cage takes care of the noise factor! LOL

    Your cornish hen chicks are so pretty! Mine were pretty, but they are going thru the ugly head stage until all their feathers come in. They are all beautiful to me though. 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      It’s nice to hear from you! I didn’t know you raised chickens! Aren’t chickens fun? But you are right, they’re messy! I enjoy hearing about your experiences.

      1. Aletha McManama

        Actually, Amy, this is our first time with having chickens since I was a kid. We had them everywhere when I was growing up on a farm. They’ve actually calmed down considerably over the past 48 hours. They’re enjoying their time outside today…in their temporary home, of course!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Our dog Ollie is a bird dog, but he’s slavishly attached to me, so he wouldn’t dare make a jump at those chicks. Now our other dog wouldn’t even wait until my back was turned . . . but you can see that she’s not in the picture! 😉

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Samantha, I always remind myself of how great that manure is for my compost pile and, ultimately, my garden, and it doesn’t bother me so much after that . . .

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you Sheri. I’m sure everybody could probably do without the vivid smell . . . I sure could!

    1. dramamamafive Post author


      I won’t move the babies ouside until they are fully feathered and the nights are a bit warmer, don’t worry! They have quite a bit of space in the stock tank, and they’re happy for now in the garage!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.