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Brooding in coop

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am getting two or three new chicks this week to add to my flock of three (about seven months old).  I have decided to brood the chicks in the coop with the big girls.  I am hoping this gets them more used to the new chick and will make it easier when it comes time to integrate.  I use the mamma heating pad method in the brooder which helps with this plan.  Today I put the cage that I use as the brooder in the coop so the big girls can start to get used to it before I put the chicks in on Tuesday.  Boy, they do not like it.  They were so suspicious.  It took them a long time, one by one, to finally go into the coop.  They went straight to their roost and are huddled up close to the wall as far from the new brooder as possible.  It is sort of funny.  I want to see how much this intrusion will stress them out.  The last bird in the coop was not happy about being the closest to the brooder.  She kept trying to work her way into the middle but would get pecked and yelled at.  Hopefully everyone still has their feathers in the morning.


Fingers crossed.

post #2 of 5

You do know, of course, that chickens Do Not Do Change! It's in their contract!


You are very wise to do the furniture re-arranging prior to the babies being installed. In a couple days, your fussy flock will be used to the cage, and will ignore it.


I also commend you on your decision to brood in the coop under the heating pad system. You may have read the article I wrote touting all the many advantages to the chicks over brooding indoors. If you haven't read it, it's the second link below under "Articles".

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks. That was a great article. Exactly along the lines I was thinking. I will have a few things to figure out as I go. My coop has an attached covered run. Not a huge run, about 14 feet by 5 feet. The coop has an automatic door that lets them into the run first thing in the morning. Once I have had breakfast I open the door to the run and the girls free range all day. They can go in and out of their run and coop as they please to grab a snack or a drink. Right now I have the brooding cage in the coop. It has its own feeder and waterer. The chicks will not be able to get out. I thought about a small chick sized door for them but since the coop is essentially open to the world I don't think it is wise. This is my best idea...

The run has a full sized door on it. There is a 10 inch stoop that the chickens go over to get out when the door is open. I could temporarily raise that to 15 or 20 inches. The big birds would still be able to get in and out. By the time the chicks are able to get out they should be old enough to be out any way. Does this seem right? Or will chicks be able to fly over that before they should be outside un-supervised?
post #4 of 5

Chicks are capable of "fly-over" after age two weeks. However, baby chicks need time to gather their courage and self confidence before they feel up to exploring beyond the boundaries of what is safe and familiar.


My chicks were close to two months old before they mustered the courage to proceed beyond the doors of the enclosed run, and then they would spend another week or more just hanging out very close to the building. They were close to three months before they were confident enough to range as far as the compost pile one-hundred feet from the coops.


The only real danger for chicks free-ranging, even close by, is they are still small enough to be easy prey for hawks and ground predators. Other than that, don't spend too much time worrying about it. Your chicks won't be going very far.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  That is good information.  I will probably keep them in their cage in the coop for at least a week.  Then I will let them out supervised a few times to make sure the big chickens behave.  By week two I am hoping to let them come and go as they please.

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