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Moving chicks from brooder to coop

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have 14 two week old chicks in a brooder that is about 8 square feet in size.  They are growing fast and seem comfortable for now, but I am beginning to think that they will be too big for the space very soon.  I am building an 80 square foot coop and it should be finished this week.  It is well insulated but I am worried about moving the chicks from the warmth of the brooder into the coop because the nights here in North Carolina can be very cool.   What is the best way to make the transition into a larger space.  I don't want to shock them with temperature differences.  If I hang the two 150 watt red lights in a corner with lots of bedding material will they regulate their own temperatures by moving closer or further away from the lights.

These are my first chicks so this is a big move for them and me.  I am enjoying them but for the life of me I don't see how anyone can name baby chicks and know who is who. 

Thanks.

post #2 of 11

I got 30 chicks on March 7th.  They out grew my brooder space rather quickly.  I was afraid to move them to the coop because of the cold weather. I live in Wilkes County North Carolina, so I know your concern with the cold.  What I done was split my coop space in half, put a heater in there with 3 heat lamps.  They were about 3 weeks old.  They have done very well.  I waited too long to move my chicks. I had some problems with some of my chicks pecking each other and had to separate them.  If I had moved them sooner, I would not have had this problem.  I took out the divider in my coop today and the chicks now have the entire coop to play in.  I know that my chicks have done fine, but I made sure that there was plenty of heat for them.  Good luck!

post #3 of 11

I remember the first day we put our chicks out in the coop. They were so small and I was nervous about them being warm and safe.. Our coop is 12'x12', we did the set up as if they were in their  nursery (brooder) box. I live over in Currituck County. Our first set of chicky girls will be 2 years in May and our second and third will be turning a year old.

If you are interested in a great book, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. Murray McMurray Hatchery recommended it when I ordered my first batch. I learned a lot...

They will be fine, just put the heat lamp a good distance from the chicks..

Enjoy...

Blessed with 2 awesome young men, 1 awesome young lady! 4 Rat Terriers, 1 Eski, 1 Grand-caine Dachshund, 1 Grand-feline. And our Chickie girls- 33+ of them....  And my wonderful awesome husband...

Still working on figuring out how to do my page... Someday...   lol.
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Blessed with 2 awesome young men, 1 awesome young lady! 4 Rat Terriers, 1 Eski, 1 Grand-caine Dachshund, 1 Grand-feline. And our Chickie girls- 33+ of them....  And my wonderful awesome husband...

Still working on figuring out how to do my page... Someday...   lol.
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post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature Boy 1 

I have 14 two week old chicks in a brooder that is about 8 square feet in size.  They are growing fast and seem comfortable for now, but I am beginning to think that they will be too big for the space very soon.  I am building an 80 square foot coop and it should be finished this week.  It is well insulated but I am worried about moving the chicks from the warmth of the brooder into the coop because the nights here in North Carolina can be very cool.   What is the best way to make the transition into a larger space.  I don't want to shock them with temperature differences.  If I hang the two 150 watt red lights in a corner with lots of bedding material will they regulate their own temperatures by moving closer or further away from the lights.

These are my first chicks so this is a big move for them and me.  I am enjoying them but for the life of me I don't see how anyone can name baby chicks and know who is who. 

Thanks.


Sounds like you have a pretty good set up. By three weeks old they'll have a fair amount of feathers. And yes, as long as the coop isn't drafty, they'll be fine. They will move out of/under the heat lamps as needed. Best of luck!

Proud owner of 1 barred rock, 2 ameraucanas, 2 barnvelders, and 1 welsummer! Desperately wanted chicks so I incubated and hatched 13 on my own; a week later a hen went broody. Isn't that always the way?!
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Proud owner of 1 barred rock, 2 ameraucanas, 2 barnvelders, and 1 welsummer! Desperately wanted chicks so I incubated and hatched 13 on my own; a week later a hen went broody. Isn't that always the way?!
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the encouragement to make the move.  I think I have some extra plywood laying around that I could use to make the coop a little smaller until they are fully feathered.  Will definitely use the lights and bedding so they will have someplace to go to keep warm.  I have a couple of loners in the flock, that march to their own drummer.  Not sure they will "see the light" and come in from the cold.

Storey's, Guide to Backyard Chickens, is my go to book.  I have been reading it and planning for these girls for about three years.  I couldn't convince my wife that a chicken coop in the back yard could be pretty, until I took her on a tour of backyard flocks last May here in Raleigh.  I have built a palace for the girls.  They will live like princesses.  My grandmother, long dead, who introduced me to chickens when I was just a kid, is probably laughing at all the comforts these girls will have. 

Again thanks for the suggestions and the help.  I like this forum.  It is nice to know that you are not alone.

post #6 of 11

I moved my 30 chicks to their coop at 7 days old. They went through some cold nights & did well. Here's a pic of their set up. Its a cage in the coop that I covered with a blanket. The door was left open & I attached the heat lamp above the door. They were completely feathered out at 4 weeks. I then removed the cage & light. They are now about 7 weeks & all roosting .http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/63768_biddies_new_brooder_001.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/63768_pics_for_potrait_005.jpg

I'm out of eggs. But I know where some brown ones are. I now raise big Ol' Honkin' Bob Whites & Layed back Coturnix. Pray For Rain In Texas!

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I'm out of eggs. But I know where some brown ones are. I now raise big Ol' Honkin' Bob Whites & Layed back Coturnix. Pray For Rain In Texas!

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post #7 of 11

I hatch year round here in Iowa. I've learned to step down bulb wattage while getting them ready for the move to the big pen. From a big brooder bulb, to a 75 watt, then a 40 watt. Once they are out to the big coop, there is not any type of extra heat source.

post #8 of 11

Sounds like you have things well in hand.  I'll add two notes.  Please attach your lamp(s) to two separate safety points w/wire or small chain, whatever you're using (NOT the clamp most lamps come with).  Also, many places sell the cheap remote thermometers ($15-25) w/100 ft range so that you can monitor temps from the comfort of your home.  It's made me feel better being able to glance and know how warm/cold it is out there in their coop.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

We are raising our first batch of 14 chicks, and they are almost 3 weeks old.  DH is out in the yard working on the coop to get it ready so we can move chicks out there within 2-3 days.  They are in a brooding box 29X48 inches, inside the house and starting to smell. 

We have 2 that are meek and not feeding as much and the rest are very robust and active.  If they get too crowded, the weakest ones may suffer, so we are anxious to move them outside and expand their space.  We plan to move the whole brooding box out one day, and the next day, go back and expand it.  We will probably remove one side of the box, and move it into the corner of the coop, blocking them off on one side with a temporary wall.  We will be careful to secure the lights so that they do not fall and hurt the chicks.  We plan to hang the feed and water in the newly expanded area.  Any comment on that?  The meekest chicks may not go to that area right away, but at least it looks like they are all eating and drinking.  Hanging the food and water there will make it easier to service and to keep it clean.  Hopefully, it will also attract the braver birds to go into the new area quickly. 

We do have one bird who is particularly confident and she usually makes the first move.  We call her Deedee because she has 2 dots on her head (double dot).  The other chicks follow her.  None of the other chicks have names. 

It is surprising how much difference there is between these chicks, which were all hatched within 24 hours.  Deedee is huge compared to the 2 smallest, who huddle in the corner most of the time and dont often come to the feeder or water with the other chicks.  Will these 2 chicks catch up with the others in size?  Will they always be meek?  Is it better for us to do something to encourage them or just let them fend for themselves and hope for the best? 

I am beginning to think of the 2 meek ones as 'Willow' and 'Shadow'.  It is okay to give them names that are not like human names, right?  But I can not figure out how to distinguish between the 2 yet, so I might have to wait until they distinguish themselves to assign a name to each chick.

post #10 of 11

Sounds like a good plan! smile  You can even block off an area for them with just cardboard tacked across half, or a quarter of the coop.  And I wasn't so much worried about the lamp hitting the chicks, but as those chicks start jumping and flying (which they'll do a lot more of when they have running room...lol), I'd hate to think of a lamp getting knocked off a hook, falling into the bedding, and starting a fire.
Chickens are very much like people in that they have very different personalities.  Your two little wallflowers may come "out of their shell" a bit more with increased space...or they may remain very mild mannered.  But most chicks of the same breed will eventually be similar in size.  If you're in doubt at all that the two smaller ones are getting run away from the feed, you can always add another feeder set apart from the other.  I like the names you're considering smile  Seems fitting for wallflowers.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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