How can I transition my girls to the coop?
Welcome to BYC!
Part of parenthood is being capable of a little tough love. They chirp until you fetch them back in because that is the routine you have established -- you can just as easily establish a new routine, that of them going to bed in their outdoor coop. You are going to be more stressed by this than they are.
Hello! My friend told me this website is amazing for advice on rearing chicks/chickens, so I was hoping for some help on some key issues when bringing my girls home. Although there is plenty of guidance out there, some of it is a bit conflicting so I was hoping for some wisdom of experience :-)
I'm bringing home 2 chicks from my schools recent hatchlings (9 hatched yesterday, and 1 today!). We have had to separate the 10th arrival, as the others were pecking her and she was bleeding a little. We think she is going to make it, and I am quite keen to take this little girl home as one of my two as I fear she will be attacked with the rest of the brood who are quite a bit bigger than her,and substantially stronger. Is this misguided?
If not, I thought maybe it best to introduce one of the smaller girl chicks back into her separate brooder once she is healed up, and observe to see if they get along? Then perhaps this would be the pair to bring home? (any advice welcome!)
They will be two weeks old when I bring them home, so I need to buy/make a brooder. I read 2 square feet each is a nice amount of space for the following 3ish weeks until they are old enough to start going in their coop & pen. Is this enough space, and how much heat should I be supplying for them in this period? (Is a 250w bulb suffice or should I get something that is a heat lamp?)
When the hens are home in these three weeks, I'd like to take them outside (I have boarded up all corners/gaps around the perimeter and wiill be supervising throughout!) if it is sunny, will they be ready?
I have a garden with bordering beds, one of which is in the shade under a tree (the ground is quite bare). I have read that shavings can get very dusty and this is unpleasant for the hens - and that coarse sand can be very pleasant for them as they can sort of dust bath in it (is that right?!) and also rake the poop out with a kitty scooper and hopefully dry it out for compost for the vegetable patches. Is sand actually OK for 5-6 weeks+ chicks? Or should I start with shavings and change when they are fully grown or something like that?!
Thanks in advance for ALL and any advice that can be offered!
Your instincts are good. Trust them. You really do not need a "brooder". It's one of those conventions that have become so entrenched people think it's been passed down from on high and it's the LAW. There are alternatives.
I went through many iterations of brooders, finally deciding to toss them all in favor of simply brooding in my run in a safe chick pen under the heating pad system rather than electric light. It's proven superior to indoor brooder under heat lamps in every way.
I raise my chicks on sand in the run. When my chicks graduate to the coop at five weeks, they have pine shavings in there. They do get dusty, but chicken dander renders everything dusty in time, and needs to be cleaned out and shavings replaced. The sand gets scooped as you would a cat box.
I wrote an article on outdoor brooding, complete with photos. You can find it by clicking on the second link below under "Articles".
Articles by azygous:
Articles by azygous: