A bunch of questions about leaving the brooder and going into the coop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lbartsch, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2011
    My chickies are about 6 weeks old now and I think they are ready to go outside full time and into the coop. Is that about the right timing?

    Also, is there anything else I should do besides just put them out there?

    Finally, last night for the first time I tried to put all the lights out in garage where their brooder is. Before they had had a red heat lamp on even if it was really far away form the coop and not really heating things up much. THey seemed to like the red light. Well the red bulb broke yesterday so I just turned out the lights at the end of the day. They went into a total panic in the dark. Shrieking their heads off until I came back in and put on a light. Is there any way to get them used to the dark because it'll sure be dark outside when they go outside?

    Anything else I need to know about moving them full-time outside?

    Thanks! I'd never get through this without you guys.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The shrieking the first night without a light is normal. I promise it won't last long; it may already be over. Then they will sleep silently and soundly, IMO grateful for the peaceful dark. And yes, 6 weeks is plenty old enough to be in the coop without heat or light, unless it is well below zero where you are!

    I don't think it is that they like the red light so much as they are used to it. Chickens hate change and protest loudly -- then they adjust and all is well. They may freak out because you move something in the coop. Mine give me dirty looks if I move the garbage can that holds their feed, at least for a while. Just wait til you offer a treat that they think will eat them!
  3. pixiechick44

    pixiechick44 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2011
    Hi there,I had my chicks brooder in my spare room...So I just let it go dark gradually,and they had time to sort them selves out before it got really dark....So when you just turn the light out it a shock for them,but im sure when they get out side they will be fine...
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I agree, they're old enough.
    They don't like abrupt dark because they haven't gotten to where they want to hunker down for the night.
    Gradual darkening like sunset lets them get ready.
    If it's not too hot you want them locked in the new coop a couple days so they know where home is. They often try to get back to their old sleeping quarters as night aproaches. Then keep them penned next to the coop during the day till they learn what it looks like and can find their way back home if you let them free range.
  5. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2011
    Thank you for the nice replies. That all makes sense. I'm going to put them out there tonight if I can and that way the shrieking won't bother us because we won't hear it. Glad to know they'll get used to it.

    One last question. The coop door has sliding deadbolts - kind you have to turn and slide to open or close. Can raccoons open those? I was thinking of putting one eye hook on either side of the door and then slipping a carabiner through them both to super-secure it. Is that necessary you think?

    Thanks again!
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Yup, raccoons can open just about anything a young child can open. I use the carabiner clips with the screw type closure, not the clip type.
  7. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2011
    Thanks! Just what I thought. So, I'll use the carabiner before I put the ladies out there at night.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by