Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Wait is Over

As the week passed and the days ticked by, my optimism of Trixiebelle actually having kits was waning.

I kept counting and re-counting the days since she was put in with our buck, Shortstop.  I had calculated that Friday or Saturday was basically the deadline.  If we didn't see baby bunnies by Saturday evening -- the likelihood that she was actually bred, was rather low.

Everyone was a little sad.

The little girls checked on her first thing Friday morning - nothing.  No new fur, no babies.

The big kids checked mid-morning - again.... nothing.

The littles checked again Friday afternoon - several times, actually - still..... nothing.

I decided to do a check after dinner while the boys were walking the dogs and the girls were happily playing in their room.

Much to my surprise -- the box was filled with fur; Trixiebelle was lounged off to the side; the fur was MOVING!

Hard to believe that earlier in the day this box only
had straw in it.  I guess mama got busy.

Trixiebelle lounging next to the nesting box.


I pet mama bunny and got her scent on my hands so I could check to see if all the kits were alive and try to count how many there were.

Boy were they squiggly.

I didn't find any dead ones.  Phew.

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe there are 9 little babies nestled nicely in the box covered with their mama's fur.

All toasty warm.

Hard to see, but those black smudges are baby bunnies.

The next morning we rechecked on them.

All 9 still warm; still wiggly; still alive.

I'll check again later tonight to be sure mama is feeding them.  Investigating the plumpness of their tummies to show they were fed.

Excitement filled the air.

Now.....  we wait and see to determine if Trixiebell is going to be a good mama rabbit and feed her babies and keep them warm long enough for them to mature to the point of eating and drinking on their own.

Day by day we'll watch.  We'll wait.  We'll pray this time is successful.

Just one of the newborn kits.  So, so tiny and silky.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Awaiting Baby Bunnies

As of my last post, we had palpated Trixibelle's abdomen and THOUGHT we might have felt some 'lumps' in there.   Indicating the likelihood she had been bred.  That our efforts were successful.

Since then, it's just been 'wait and see'.

The girls made 2 nesting boxes at a 'workday' with our rabbit project leader.  We made 2 because we plan to breed Scarlet in the future once she's old enough.  Plus, as we move forward in this rabbit breeding adventure, we hope to breed both rabbits at the same time.

Not to mention, the girls can submit their workmanship as an indoor project for fair.  Bonus!!

The girls measured the boards, cut them using fancy smancy power tools, sanded the boards, drilled holes, and assembled the boards with electric screwdrivers.  They even learned to use a drill press for the lid of the nest box.

Check out the wonderful pictures of their hard work.

Lining up her board to make her first cut.
They both did a FABULOUS job!
Measure twice, cut once.

The circular saw was a lot to handle.
Since we are hoping Trixiebelle is in fact pregnant, we went ahead and put a nesting box in her cage this past weekend.

It.  Didn't.  Fit!


With some minor modifications to her cage door, however, we squeezed it in.  BARELY!!!

Moving her measured board to the saw.
It took all her mite to cut through.

A slant measure for the front.

Precise measuring was crucial.

Sanding down the rough edges.
Don't want rough edges to cause splinters.
Seems we made that move just in time as she's begun to pull fur for what we hope will be her kindling (or giving birth) soon.  
I think she likes power tools.

According to our calculations, we could have kits (or baby bunnies) as early as mid to end of this week.  Her pulling fur is a great indicator that babies are in fact on the way.

The drill was a bit more manageable than
the big saw.

Admittedly, I was feeling a bit pessimistic about her pregnancy as she hadn't started pulling fur when we initially put the box in her cage.  My calendar said to put the box in on Sat but she wasn't giving any indications of being close at that point.  It wasn't until Tue that she got busy with the typical mama bunny tasks.


We're optimistic - somewhat - that things will go smoothly with this litter.

It's our first attempt at breeding rabbits - well at least PLANNED breeding of rabbits.

She's had a litter before so hopefully all the natural mother's intuition of what to do will be quick to kick in.  She's already started that process. She's made a little 'nest' in the box with the straw and has started mingling her own  fur to keep those kits warm and toasty.

Trinity's nesting box for Scarlet.
Charity's finished product -
Trixiebell's nesting box.
Here's praying she continues with such instincts.

Once again we're at the point of waiting to see what comes next.

An exciting time for sure.  The girls are so hopeful that THIS time we'll really have BABY bunnies.

Bunnies they can hold; name; pet; play with.

Of course, they also know that we will be selling some as meat pens for fair and probably putting some in our freezer (depending on the size of our litter). But... that doesn't mean we won't keep one or two for Selah to have her very own bunny for 4H next year when she'd old enough to join the ranks.

Not to mention, if the babies have better conformation and positive traits, they may be worth retaining to improve our stock.

Gee, I almost sound like a REAL rabbit breeder.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Breeding Rabbits 101

We took the plunge and bought our Silver Fox Breeding trio. We thought we'd have to wait till after fair this year to try to breed either of our does.  However, a little research and some conversations with other 'rabbit experts', resulted in the determination we could still breed the older doe this month to try to get kits for fair in late July.

We calculated the timing.  

We had to 'hold off' a bit longer than some normally would simply because we wanted to give Trixiebelle a little time between breedings.  Her first and only litter so far, was just a couple weeks before we bought her.  That litter had unfortunately not survived as her mothering instincts kicked in a couple days too late.  Ultimately, I think this means our kits may be on the smaller side compared to other kits of similar sized meat rabbits.  Makes sense, they will be 7-8 weeks old rather than close to 10 weeks old.  But... at least we'll have babies.

Looking at the calendar. Determining the latest we could breed and still allowing the kits to be over 6 weeks old, we concluded breeding needed to be done sometime the last full week of May.  The earlier that week the better.  

Since the kids had rabbit project on Monday the 25th, meaning the rabbits went for a car ride, we decided to put Trixiebelle into Short Stops cage upon arriving back home.  We'd been told that car rides help to put a doe in heat - making her amicable to the whole breeding idea.

According to the big kids - Short Stop took no time at all getting the job done.  We left Trixiebelle in with him for 2 days, removing her the morning of the 27th.  

(For future breedings we will probably take her out and place her 
back in a couple times over a 24 hour period.  
The breeder we bought the trio from, 
said she just put the does in with the bucks and leaves them,
 but seems that's not the 'best practice'.  
Live and learn.)

All seemed well.

10-13 days after their encounter, Bethany palpated Trixiebelle's abdomen to attempt to see if the breeding 'took'.  Testing to see if we could feel any kits developing inside her.  Not sure she knew or if any of us would know what we were actually feeling, but she gave it a shot.  She THOUGHT she felt some 'little ball like things' in her belly.

Positive signs anyway.

In 28 days, we'll place the nesting box inside her cage in preparation for her to deliver her babies.  This should give her time to pull fur and prepare a nice warm bed for those little baby bunnies.  (Something we didn't do for our other rabbits when we had no idea they were bred.)

Then, we'll wait.  

Wait to see IF she delivers on or around day 30-31 post breeding.  How many she delivers.  How well she cares for her young.  How many survive.

My prayer is her mama instincts will be more forthcoming since she's done this once before.  

Hopefully she'll have a good sized litter so the girls have plenty to choose from to take as their meat pens or fryer pens for 4H fair.  

Decisions will need to be made as to whether or not to cull any of the babies to try to foster better growth and survival rate of the larger, stronger kits.  Whoa, that's gonna be a hard one.

Selah is hoping we'll get to keep a kit or two for her to have her very own rabbit as well.  So far, all the rabbits have sort of been 'claimed' by her older sisters for 4H projects.  She's itching to have her very own bunny.

At this rate, we will have an infinite number of rabbits as we move forward.  LOL!

Oh the adventures we are having on our Mini-Mountain-Menagerie.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Meal Worm Farm

The box arrived.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a pretty site.

This is what greeted me at the post office.

The top was smashed in with big gaps at the edges - despite the words 'live insects' being written all around it with arrows to the 'air holes'.

As I signed out my package, I noticed a beetle trying to make his escape from the splintered corners of the cardboard box.

See those big gaps?
That's where the beetle was crawling out.

My heart sank.

I feared all the beetles had escaped, resulting in the money we spent to get a 'good sampling' of all stages of development being for naught.  The terms of purchase clearly stated 'as is' upon arrival.

We plopped the box inside a bag to try to prevent more from escaping.

Upon arriving home, I carefully opened the box.......

......finding a small, slightly misshapen, glad plastic container filled with beetles....... a smaller container filled w/100 pupae...... and a cloth bag chock full of mealworms of varying sizes.


Crisis averted.

Techno and Elijah were off to shooting sports where Techno would then head to the grocery to buy some old fashioned oatmeal.

Despite the fact I ALWAYS have at least 2 big containers of said breakfast food on hand, the house was......


NO oatmeal.  Well, that's not entirely true. I did have some gluten free oatmeal, but that stuff is pricey and I wasn't about to feed it to the beetles and mealworms.  Ha.

While awaiting the arrival of the critters nourishment, I began preparing the 3 drawer bin unit that would be our meal worm's home.  Initially I simply took the drawers out and washed them.  Trying to be sure no other buggies' eggs were nesting inside that could result in our whole farm becoming extinct.  Cutting out the bottom of the top drawer and hot glueing screen in it's place was the next priority. Securing it along the sides with -- you guessed it -- duct tape.  Have you gotten the sense I like duct tape?  Plus now it comes in all those pretty colors and designs. What's not to love about it? After completing this I grabbed Techno's drill and made 'air holes' along the sides and back of all three drawers.  High up on the sides to prevent any last minute escape plans.  One advantage of using these bins with tall walls, was the beetles can not climb up the slippery sides.  Hence less chance of them abandoning ship.  The worms will burrow down into and writhe amongst the top of the oatmeal, so the probability of them wriggling out is also quite low.   The bottom drawer will house the pupae as they await transformation into more beetles.

Once the boys arrived back with the oatmeal, we began 'assembling' the layers of the mealworm farm.

Top layer - oatmeal to cover the screen; some cardboard egg carton pieces; some shredded paper towels that were with the beetles during transport; and a few veggie scraps for moisture.  Then we put the beetles into their new home.

Lots and lots of darkling beetles to lay eggs to hatch into meal worms.
Voila!  The start of our colony.

The middle drawer was also filled with oatmeal and some veggie scraps for snacks and moisture.  This is where the little wormies themselves will live.  We plopped them from the cloth bag directly into the mess of oats.

The meal worms took no time burrowing down into the depths of the oatmeal.
The middle and bottom drawer will be 'rotated' as the mealies pupate.  Once a large group of the worms are turning into pupae we can swap the drawers -- allowing for more worms to be hatched in the middle drawer with less worry that the beetles will emerge and begin eating their young.  For now, the bottom drawer houses all the already pupated larvae.

100 plus pupae as many of the mealworms had pupated in transit, apparently.
Come to find out, darkling beetles are cannibals and will in fact eat their young - the little meal worms.

Who knew, right?

Some of the bigger meal worms.
These would be perfect for the hens.

As the pupae turn to beetles we simply scoop them out and place them back in the top bin to start the process of laying eggs all. over. again.

Celery and carrots add moisture

As the beetles on top die, we simply remove them.  Every once in a while their 'poo' needs to be cleaned out as well.  The best way to do that is simply taking the bin outside and 'blowing off' the dead stuff and excrement.  Same thing for the molted exoskeleton remains of the mealworms as they shed their skin during growth spurts.

Fun huh?  I think I'll leave THAT solely up to the kiddos.  Builds character.

Wonder how many beetles we'll get out of these?

Here's hoping growing our meal worm farm is as easy as setting it up has been.

I'm not usually a huge fan of bugs and maggot like worms, but for some strange reason, these little guys are actually.... dare I say it?   Kinda cute.
The meal worm farm in all it's glory.

Stay tuned for future updates on their progess and various stages of development.

 A couple 4H projects in the making.

Friday, May 6, 2016


As Mother's Day approaches, I couldn't help but think of my mom.

At the store last week, I noticed all the mother's day 'stuff'. Cards, balloons, flowers -- all with the sentiment -- 'Don't forget mom this year'.

I immediately started to think of what to send my mom.

Then I remembered.

She's no longer here.  I won't be sending anything.

It made me sad.  Made me miss her.  Especially as May 16 - not quite a week AFTER Mother's Day - will mark a year since her passing.

I don't think I realized just how close the two events were.  Mother's Day and my mom's passing.  Just a week.

I remember flying to Ohio just a year ago when she was hospitalized. When she herself proclaimed 'I'm not gonna make it out of this one."  When she told everyone she wanted me to come.  When I was so distraught with our own life changes with the girls' diagnoses that I almost didn't go.  The hospital staff had said she wasn't 'critical' - she'd probably be released the next week.

Yet, she persisted. She wanted me there.  I prayed.  I felt I should go.

I went.

Arriving at the hospital, she appeared to be on the mend.  Her voice was gone, but otherwise all was looking good.  The pneumonia was back, but being treated.

Then, it all turned around so quickly.  So unexpectedly.

I have so many regrets.  So many 'I should haves'.

I know, mentally, that I can't go there. I can't live with could've, should've..... but.... it's hard not to.

I could have stayed with her that first Saturday I arrived.  I should have sat and talked with her all night long.  Little did I know it was really my last chance.  But, she seemed to be doing so well.  Things were going to be ok.

Little did I know.

It was hard watching her deteriorate those next few days.

It was even harder leaving to come back to Wyoming to get my family.

Hardest to get back to Ohio only to say goodbye one last time.

I struggle with wondering why mom gave up.  Why she wanted to leave us.

In reality, in my heart I know.  She was ready. God was calling her home.

She was tired.

In pain.


When I think of the peace she had those last days - the day I left to come back home she was so lucid. So aware.  She was waiting.  When we returned, she woke up.  Lucid.   Aware.   Ready.

She had waited for us all to be there.  To say goodbye.  It was one of the hardest things EVER, but also the most beautiful.

I know she's at peace now.  No agony.  No breathlessness.  No fear.

Sometimes I feel so guilty for wanting her here. Wishing she had never died.  She had so much discomfort here.  So much panic when her breath was hard to find. So weak.

NOW?  Now she's whole!  She's free!



Full of BREATH!

Full of LIFE.

That's what I'm choosing to remember as Mother's Day comes and goes.  As the anniversary of her death approaches and passes.

She's WHOLE!

I miss her dearly, but she is so much better off now then when she was on this earth.  Her body was waning before our very eyes.  Her days were filled with torment and distress.

No more.

Now she's loosed from all of that.

And I know we'll meet again - one day.  I'm blessed to have such hope.  Such reassurance.  Such promise.

Until then, Mom, I love you!  I miss you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Seeing Positives in T1D

Since the girls' diagnoses with type 1 diabetes, I have not been able to see much in terms of positive outcomes from such a disease.

I knew in my heart the girls could do whatever they wanted -- granted they'd have to take a lot of precautions to do it, but... the sky was still the limit.  Yet, my fear, my anxiety, my grief was so deep that I continued to dwell on the negative.

What was lost.  What was hard.

Recently, something in me clicked and the fog of grief finally started to lift. I could see glimmers of bright, blue sky.  The haze wasn't quite so thick.

I can't say it's fully gone - that fog.  Some days it creeps back down and hides the blue.  But, more days are bright and sunny now than they've been in a long, long time.

I've been thinking about the positives that I can see, feel from the girls diagnosis. The positives in our family; their little lives; even in me.

This post is just a glimpse of some of those things that now have a positive twist.  A spin I thought might never come.

The girls strength.
They are SO strong.  Each day.  Each hour.  Each minute.  I see it in them.
Do they have fears?  Sure, but are they overcoming them?  Without a doubt.
They steel themselves against the pain of injections; against the sting of  ignorant words;
against the day to day trauma of high and low blood sugars.
The girls bravery.
Such bravery.  
I think of how we as adults don't like to get 'shots' when flu season comes.
I think of how we as parents fret when our children need vaccinations b/c the shot hurts.
I watch my girls, day in -- day out, take their insulin shots.
Get their pump inserts; their Dexcom sensors.
Sure, they flinch, they may even panic a bit... yet.... at the days end.... they handle it like champs.
I see how they push through when their blood glucose levels are low, high.
When they are shaky and unfocused from hypoglycemia they still persevere.
When hyperglycemia hits and the fear of DKA sets in, yet, they go about their day as usual.
The girls independence.
I've watched the girls go from relying solely on Techno and I for their care,
to now doing most of their care completely on their own.
They can figure out carbs; determine insulin doses; change pumps; check blood sugars;
know when they are low or high and need a snack or correction and figure how how much of either.
Day to day confidence.
Since the girls' diagnoses, I can see a definitive increase in their confidence.
They are more self-assured.  More outgoing.
Yes, they are still shy - it's who they are, but not painfully so.
They also aren't ashamed of their disease.  They have embraced it.
I'm so thrilled about that.  There's nothing to be ashamed of, but many with this disease feel shame.
I know their confidence and willingness to embrace T1D will aide them as they grow.  
Will protect them from depression and rebellious behaviors 
as they become teenagers and young adults.
My growth.
When the girls were first diagnosed I was devastated, scared, confused.
Techno knew all about carb counting, insulin rations, treating hypoglycemia, giving shots.  
All things diabetes.
Me?  I knew very little.  
I knew it could cause long term complications if blood glucose levels 
remained too high over a long duration of time.
I knew Techno had what he referred to as 'insulin reactions' 
where he'd need to drink juice or eat candy.
Initially I didn't want the sole responsibility of caring for the girls.
I leaned on Techno.  Panicking when decisions were left to me.
What if I calculated wrong?  
Dialed up the wrong amount of insulin?  
Gave too many carbs for a low?
Eventually, however, I grew.  I learned the ratios.  How to calculate the carbs.
I made the hard decisions without first asking Techno.
I poured over the information given by the doctors.  I read on-line.
I learned to 'be' the girls' pancreas along side Techno instead of on the sidelines watching him.
Family bonding.
We've always been a close family, but this disease has brought us even closer.
Everyone watches out for the girls and their blood sugar levels.
We all pitch in when the hard times hit.
We pray for a cure.
We protect the girls - collectively.
We share our fears and triumphs.
We monitor other family members for signs of this wretched disease creeping up.
Compassion for others.
I believe the girls being diagnosed has helped us all have a little more compassion.
Compassion for struggles others may be facing we can't see.
I've felt first hand how difficult it can be when someone doesn't understand your situation.
When others don't seem to care to TRY to understand.
The difficulties we all face.
Now, I hope we have a bit more empathy for those walking hard paths we know nothing of.
Their very life.
Sometimes I let the fear of how this disease can ravage it's victims paralyze me
to the point I forgot to embrace the fact our girls are.....
We have insulin we can give them that keeps their bodies functioning.
Yes, days can be hard.  Nights harder, but when it's all said and done,
we have the ability to strive toward keeping them healthy.
The many tools at our fingertips.
We are blessed with decent insurance that affords us many options
in managing  a predictably, unpredictable disease.
Insulin pumps which result in far fewer painful shots.
Allows for more freedom in eating and better overall control in blood glucose levels.
Continuous Glucos Monitors - a device that gives us blood sugar reading in 'real time'.
Instead of relying on finger pokes every 3 hours, we can see readings every 5 minutes.
Catching lows, treating highs are so much easier, quicker.  
Again, allowing for overall better control.  Hopefully better numbers long term.
This particular tool also gives a little peace of mind -- especially at  night.
Alarms go off to alert of highs, lows.
This also translates to more ---- sleep.
No more need for multiple blood glucose checks in the middle of the night.
Yes, alarms may wake us, but it's not EVERY night, several times a night.
The likelihood of a severe low overnight is lessened b/c we can 'see it coming' most of the time.
What peace of mind and peaceful rest that brings.
Life saving tools.

I know there are more.  

I also know when days are tough, when diabetes isn't playing nice, that these positives can get lost in the shuffle; overshadowed by the 'fog'.  But.... on average days, when the girls are flourishing,  I can now see these magnificent things.  These positives.  These streams of sunshine breaking through the clouds and murk.

I thank God daily for our girls.  That they are still here with us.  Some don't have that same fate.  Some have lost their loved ones to this reprehensible affliction.  I also thank God for his goodness.  I know in my heart that this, even this horrible disease, will be used for HIS good in our girls lives.  In our family's lives.  In other's lives.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Chick Duplex

At the last chick update, the chicks were outgrowing their current brooder space.

Remember how I've been using the thermometer to gauge the chicks growth?
That green tape you see behind these four?  That's the thermometer.
They are now as tall - if not taller than - the thermometer on that back wall.
I'd say it's high time they have more space to spread their wings.

Originally our plan was simply to make a second brooder and separate the chicks into two equal groups.  Making a duplicate once they were bigger.  That changed the more we thought about it.  The chicks have been together since the beginning and have probably started to develop a bit of 'pecking order'.  We didn't want to separate them out and cause any distress.

So, our new plan was to build a chicken apartment.  A duplex if you will.

Making their current quarters more expansive to allow increased space for ALL the chicks without any separation.

Planning began.

We had an idea to connect the two bins with a 'tube' of some sort to make a tunnel from one container to the other.  Resulting in the duplex - in essence.  The problem was, it needed to be a good sized tube that the chicks could walk through. They weren't little bitty anymore.

Off to the store we went.

We searched for conduit of some kind that we thought would work.  It had to be big enough.  Sturdy enough.  We found..... NOTHING!  Well, I found one heavy, metal pipe like thing, but it was too big -- too heavy.

We started to leave the hardware store, a bit discouraged by our lack of purchase options.  As we were walking down the main aisle, an end cap caught my eye.  It was filled with bottles of some sort of solution.  (What was in them didn't matter, it was the vessel that got my brain whirling.)
The jugs resembled big gallon containers of vinegar that we had at home.

The lightbulb went off.  We could cut the top and bottom off of a vinegar bottle and make the tunnel.


Cheap - well, free - since we had vinegar bottles at home; light weight; easy to cut; big enough for adolescent chicks to trundle through to get to the other side of the chick brooder duplex.


Once we figured that out, we felt we were ready to begin construction.

Here's where everything went amuck.

After cutting the vinegar bottle to make the tunnel - which was the easiest part of this whole escapade - we traced the circle for the opening on the second bin.  This would become the hole where the tunnel would be -- connecting one section to the next.

Then....... I began cutting.

If you recall our original brooder post, you'll remember that the plastic was a royal pickle to cut through.  Once you got the Exacto knife to penetrate the plastic, you had to be very careful or the plastic just 'shattered and splintered' instead of 'cutting' along the nice line you had envisioned.

I had made provisions for this and bought 'special tools' to accomplish this endeavor.

You guessed it.......    they didn't work so well.

Barely at all, in fact.

After a good half hour of attempting to cut out this one circle; I had cut through......  oh maybe......... an inch to an inch and a half curve.

You have got to be kidding me.

That's it?

Scanning the remaining portion of the circle that needed to be cut; then glancing over at the second brooder bin that would ALSO need a circle cut out of it; I instantly changed plans mid course.

That little one inch 'slice' wouldn't compromise the integrity of a second brooder.

We were back to plan A.

Pecking order or no pecking order, the chicks were gonna be separated.

I consoled myself with the knowledge they would at least have enough space this way.  {Funny how we play mind tricks on ourselves, isn't it?}

Justification at it's best.

So, we simply cut a hole out of the top of the second lid to the second bin and cut wire mesh to attach to the top.  Once again, duct tape proved to be the best medium to attach said wire.  Next we taped the thermometer to the wall; affixed paper towels to the bottom of the bin to keep the chicks from slipping around; covered the bottom w/pine shavings; placed a waterer inside; and repurposed an ice cube tray to be a feeder; and.........
The new ice cube tray chicken feeder.  They already emptied one cube.


Chicken brooder number 2 was ready for occupancy.
The new brooder with it's four tenants making themselves at home.
You can see my attempt at cutting out the 'hole' there on the front.
Yep, that's all a 1/2 hour of work produced.
I think they are happy in their new digs.
The Dark Brahma - my chick as the kids say - looks like she's thinking,
"At least it's roomier than the last place.  Sharing w/3 others instead of 7."

We decided to put these 4 in the new brooder.
The Dark Brahma; 2 Golden Wyandotte; and the Columbian Wyandotte.
Figured they were the 'odd balls out' so they should stick together.

Here's Elijah's chick.
Unnamed currently, but we love her colors.

Ideal?  No.

As cool as a chicken brooder duplex?  Not by a long shot.

Would I rather keep the chicks all together allowing THEM to determine who goes to the other side, who doesn't, and when?  You bet.

 But... necessity took precedence and we.........
We kept the four Speckled Sussex
together.  Just seemed logical.


All four seem to be adapting,
even if they do look a bit skeptical
about the whole shebang.


Later, we may add roosting branches, but in reality I'm hoping they can move out to the 'big girl coop' sooner than later.

{They'd already be there if we lived in a warmer climate that didn't have 6 inches of snow in May, but... I digress.  
We don't, so they aren't.}

At the very least, the chicks are no longer over crowded.  They have room to move about without smooshing (a very technical term) one another.

I'll call it a win for improvisation and meeting the specified need we had.  :-)