Yesterday I bought a chicken coop from Agway and my son brought it home in his truck. (OK, I did think about making one, and this one though costly, is not exactly well made - it's flimsy, just sometimes its best just to buy rather than spend the time making... )
I think it is cute. More important though it needs to function here at RedTeddy and help move the pups along toward being great pets and independent confident and agile creatures. It has an upstairs and a downstairs, a ramp and the roof opens to the top chamber as well as the window, the upper chamber can be open or closed (closed at night for extra safety) so it is perfect! A nest for puppies!
These pups have graduated from the house's indoor/outdoor area and now are in the play yard full time. This should help a lot for future house breaking. They also have a lot more things to do in the play yard, so it is good for them intellectually. (Yes, I used that word for puppies. I cant think of a synonym that would exclude humans and still relate to brain development...)
Moving right along, I bought the house hoping that they would like it, but I wasn't sure if it would be a success or not. I'm happy that it is! They love it!
Last night I tucked them into the top chamber with plenty of pillows and blankets should it get cold. I was worried and yes, they did cry at first. Mommy Blaze has a big cozy dog pillow in the bottom area. The pups quickly learned to climb up and down the ramp (They are SOOO smart). I popped the pups into the upper chamber and closed all the doors after giving Blaze her bed time treat. The only downside was that Blaze growled at the other dogs outside, even though they couldn't get to her treat (it was a REALLY SPECIAL TREAT, so I had to put a tarp over it so she would not feel her treat was compromised, then she calmed down. Sparky the Doodle can go in/out of the main house all night, she is our guard dog. I know Sparky would not let a predator near the house (or evenin the yard) without sounding the alarm.
In the morning the Puppy chick family was eager to leave the coop, there weren't even any messes on the ground level!
As you can see the pups and their mom like the coop a lot! It is better than a crate because air can circulate and there are the built in zones to make it interesting, for privacy and playtime.
Next project: use the new technology to make a heated outdoor cement or ceramic floor tile pad for the coop to sit on for radiant heat, and use solar panels to power it... Any one out there who has done this - I want to do it on this small scale first before I attempt the same thing in our big dog run which I now have to repair the concrete block foundation of, well any ideas or referrals for what to use and what is good, are appreciated.
Blaze's pups just turned five weeks old. They are living in our 'little kitchen,' a 5' by 8' very small room, that truly was the kitchen for this farm house back in the day. For the last several days I have been opening the access in the doggy gate across the front and, one by one, they have taken to the road to explored the kitchen at large.
As long as the biggies, Sara the lab (read 'bull in china shop, times ten') and Sparky, or maybe just Sara, is not present (Sparky has perfect manners when it comes to tiny puppies, or maybe she isnt quite as interested as Sara. This is a very fun for the little fur balls. Today being Mother's Day, in honor of the extremely nice sunny weather we decided to give Blaze a break (not that she needs one, she can come and go with her pups as she likes) we took all seven outside to the doggy play yard.
It was immediately apparent that just being let lose in the yard was too much for their little brains to grasp, so I quickly went about establishing a new den for them to be safe in, return to and to leave from. We have three standing beds and one still has a blue tarp over a bean arch, with the base of an old dog crate in under the arch. The tarp keeps the wind out and keeps it shady, it was my thought that this would be a pleasant place for any of our canines to enjoy, though they all pretty much ignore it. So, in went the seven pups. Much better. They went about climbing in and out of the tray, with sides about 4 inches this required a ramp made from an old sign, and a pillow inside to land on loll around on.
They had a good time, and were joined by our twelve week pup Big Red (Big Red is leaving for Florida next week. Luckily her mother to be enjoys NY in the hottest parts of the year so Big Red will not suffer in the heat of Florida summers. Her name, thankfully, won't be Big Red for much longer, either.) All the pups played, got lost around the back and under the tray, got found, climbed in and out, and a few of them took off into the wild, maybe a dozen feet from the new den. Eventually they went to sleep and were carried back into their regular kitchen home.