Hello from New Mexico! I've been lurking on BYC for a few weeks now, and figured it's time to come out of hiding. I'm brand new at raising chickens but so far, seem to be doing okay as my four of my babies are now 4 weeks old and pretty well feathered out (I couldn't resist getting a RIR -- that baby is just three days old!) My flock consists of a Buff Orpington, a Dominique, 2 Ameraucanas (or maybe easter eggers, I'm not too sure.), and the brand new baby Rhode Island Red, five birds in total. I'm fairly certain all are pullets.
I've kept their brooders indoors in a bathroom but it's getting time for the "older" ones to be moved outside. I've had to keep the brand new baby separate from the others because the moment I put the RIR in with them, the Dom chased and pecked at the RIR. :( I admit, I went about it a bit backwards. I had NO idea that chicks grow so dang fast! I figured I could keep them indoors for a couple months while I figured out a coop/run setup. NOPE! So now I have a 6' high x 6' wide x 10' long dog run/kennel built in the backyard, and the coop will be arriving (ordered online, photo to follow) this Tuesday.
Having set the stage, I'm hoping there are other New Mexican BYC members to provide input on this thread. My concern is that here in NM, we're in the desert (I'm about 10 miles from Albuquerque), and the temperature will vary widely within a day. It can get up into the high 90s or more at mid-day and then drop down into the 50s at night. I'm not so concerned about the day temps as I'll have a heavily shaded area in the run for my chickens, but being as young as they are I am worried about the colder overnight temps. Can anyone comment about that? Do I need to provide a heat lamp outdoors for them? As I said, the coop will be delivered on Tuesday, so I"ll be moving them outside (hopefully) by then.
Snap Lock Chicken Coop - Standard <=== (click link to see the coop)
Next question, at what age can I/should I start supplementing protein to them? Kitchen scraps? Ground egg shells and/or ground oyster shells? I know it isn't an exact science but a guideline to introducing these extras would be nice to have.
I'm anxious to get input from the more seasoned BYC members, and thank you in advance for your help!
Edited by DaraKing - 6/5/16 at 12:40am