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At what age do chickens survive alone?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I will be having newborn chicks in about two weeks but I want to be prepared. At what age can they live without a lamp and simply live outdoors on their own? At what age do you take out the provided heat?

Thanks
post #2 of 7

Once they are fully feathered they will be good.  Some feather out quicker than others.  In general it is at about 6 weeks.

How can I think outside of the box when they won't let me out?

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How can I think outside of the box when they won't let me out?

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post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadedPhoenix View Post
 

Once they are fully feathered they will be good.  Some feather out quicker than others.  In general it is at about 6 weeks.



^^ Agreed.  I've put chicks out full-time as early as 3-4 weeks in the summer, when temps are 90+.    They can't retain body heat until they've feathered out.  I would wait until they're at least 80% feathered to put them out unless it's very warm out.  Usually 6-8 weeks, like Jaded said!

post #4 of 7
My chicks are 6 weeks old, fully feathered, and I just removed the heat emitter yesterday. They're still in the brooder 'cause I'm still building their coop though!
post #5 of 7

Of course if you have ample heat available, they can go out earlier.  I brooded my chicks one year outside in the snow!  How?  I had a heat lamp on one end of their run with a tarp over it to keep the heat in with the other end open ended.  They were able to warm up as they liked and I was surprised to see them enjoying the sun on the open ended section quite a lot.  The main thing is to make sure they can get warm as needed.    

How can I think outside of the box when they won't let me out?

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How can I think outside of the box when they won't let me out?

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post #6 of 7

Directing this to the OP, what do you mean by "live outdoors on their own"? Will they have a coop and run or simply be turned out to free-range and roost in the trees?

 

If you will be turning them loose to fend for themselves, they'll need to be much more developed than simply feathered out by four to six weeks. Chicks with no protection will be quickly picked off by predators, be it dogs or cats roaming your neighborhood or weasels or coyotes or, depending where you live, bears and wild cats and birds of prey.

 

Some people do turn their chickens loose to fend for themselves, but they do need to be full grown in order to be able to evade predators. They aren't of that size until age three or four months.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by azygous View Post
 

Directing this to the OP, what do you mean by "live outdoors on their own"? Will they have a coop and run or simply be turned out to free-range and roost in the trees?

 

If you will be turning them loose to fend for themselves, they'll need to be much more developed than simply feathered out by four to six weeks. Chicks with no protection will be quickly picked off by predators, be it dogs or cats roaming your neighborhood or weasels or coyotes or, depending where you live, bears and wild cats and birds of prey.

 

Some people do turn their chickens loose to fend for themselves, but they do need to be full grown in order to be able to evade predators. They aren't of that size until age three or four months.



^^ Good point, too.  My last batch of 6 week old chicks went into the broody pen last fall.  I felt like letting them have an adventure one day and let them out of the pen (which is covered overhead).  Within 30 seconds a kestrel snatched one up and had lunch.  ARGH!  It was a cockerel, but still.  They just have no self-preservation skills :P

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