How do you know?
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By their behavior. They will stop using their heat source both during the day and during the night. Go check on them before you turn in for the night and see where they are sleeping. If they are under on or near their heat source, they probably aren't completely feathered yet.
If they are sleeping a good distance away from the heat source, perhaps even roosting on a perch, they are feathered out and no longer need heat.
Now this is dependent on having a large enough space where they can find cool temperatures to match the natural ambient temps they would find in the coop. At three weeks, their heat source should be putting out no more than 75F. If it's not 20 degrees cooler than that in the rest of their space, they won't feather out as quickly and won't be able to acclimate to cooler temps.
Articles by azygous:
Articles by azygous:
At 3wks old I moved my chicks and MHP out to a partitioned off space in the coop. At 5wks I noticed that they are not even sleeping under the heating pad at night, they were perching instead. So that told me it was time to clear out the MHP and let them fend for themselves. At the same time I took away the MHP, I slightly moved the partition fencing so they could leave the nursery area and mingle in the adult area but the adults could not get into the nursery area.
That first day of the opened nursery the chicks all came out to the run with the adults, these were just over 5wks old at the time. I kept an eye on them all and as long as the chicks stayed away from the adults they were fine. If they did wander too close to an adult they got pecked but they learned real quick to stay away. they found the nipple waterer and the food and spent the rest of the day outside in the run with the adults. I had to put them back in the coop in the evening but they did survive their day with the adults.
Most would probably say that 5wks is too soon to mix with the adults but I'm seriously pressed for space so had to give it a try and so far it's working out well. I was really surprised at the Roo, he completely ignores the chicks. No pecking, no chasing, it's like he don't even see them.
I am kind of crunched for space too, so it's really hard that they are still in there coop, in the garage. so i totally understand the crunched space. we actually can't have roosters in town where i live, so i'm not worried about that, and i also don't have any other adults that i would he adding too, so i'm okay there. but thank you so much for your advice!! mine are 3wks, so i think i'll probablly wait another 2wks before they actually get moved outside. like i said before they love their heat light right now bur are slowly moving away from it. they just are too tiny still and i know they are like right in the middle of feathering. they have little bald patches ha! thank you so much again!!! @yyz0yyz0
Edited by MamaHen8 - 5/2/16 at 4:23pm