34 inches

Actually I don't recycle

I brought my chicks home in a cat carrier.  For the first 4-6 weeks chicks need to be keep in  brooder which is basically any sort of set up that keeps them contained with heat source to keep them warm. The chicks need the heat since their feathers haven’t developed yet. Living in Florida, I wasn’t  overly concerned about them freezing. Hillsborough county recycling provided my  box. Equiped with an $8 metallic clamp on reflector lamp from Wal-mart (make sure the lamp can use a 100 watt bulb), a feeder, waterer, and a wire mesh shelf I found in the garage, my brooder was complete.

There’s a lot of information on brooders online. Suggestions on directing the light,  lowering the the temperature from week to week, and more.  Being ADD I did no such thing. The chicks were kept out on the warm patio and the light went on during our chilling 80 degree nights. Gauging the birds hot/cold ratio is simple; They’re panting= too hot. Snuggled up in a shivering ball-o-chickens=too cold.  The chicks didn’t die, so my under attentive methods worked.

Chicks in a brooder are pretty boring to watch, except for when they drink.  And since they have watched their friends get plucked out one by horrified one out of the brooder at the feed store, my chicks screamed and scrambled every time I put my hand inside the box. Not a real endearing feature of a “pet.” Urge to kill: 1 point.

Already bored, I decided to start work on building the chicken cube. I purchased six 6′ x 2″ x 1″ wooden boards at Lowes and had them cut in half creating twelve 36″ pieces. For the wire, I passed on the metallic variety and opted for a roll of plastic poultry fencing that was 3′ high and 25′ long. Armed with a nail and hammer, I put the cube together on my patio and wrapped it with the fencing.

Chicken Cube. Not as good as "Cube" and "Cube Zero"

A proud graduate of 8th grade wood shop class, I was impressed with dormant carpentry skills. Until I tried to get the cube off the patio.  The carpentry adage is “measure twice, cut once.” I cut first and measured nunce (new word.) For some reason it never occurred to me to measure the width of my patio door. After failing to squeeze the cube through, I finally measured. Thirty four inches exactly, on a 36″ x 36″ x 36″ design. Shit.

I kicked open the double doors leading inside the house and tried getting the cube through the garage door. Nope. Then I tried the front door. Denied. Apparently every f#$%ing door in America is a standard 34″ wide. I don’t think that will ever be a daily double Jeopardy question, but just in case, now you know.

Defeated, I resigned myself to the fact that my great plan for outdoor housing was stuck on the patio. Guess the chickens are living on the patio now.  I put the chicks in their new coop, plopped down on my patio couch, and as a chicken Caesar of sorts commanded “Entertain me!”

The next post: “How chickens ruined Jurassic Park