Advice on Transition to Outdoors?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ksrchicks, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. ksrchicks

    ksrchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2011
    Hello All,

    I am raising my first chicks (White Rock, BR, Bantam BR, and NH Red) and was hoping to get your advice on transitioning them to the great outdoors. They are entering their 6th week starting today. We live in NH and it has been quite warm lately and their coop is not insulated so when the sun hits in the afternoon it is too warm for them inside. The girls are really getting too big for their brooder and we finished the run this weekend (fully enclosed 20 x 8). They have been in the coop at night as soon as it cools down which they love. They do not know how to negotiate the ramp yet but will start working on that tonight. Would it be okay to leave them outside during the day at this age? The area under the coop is 8 x 4 and also enclosed so they always would have shade available. If not, what do others do during this "transition stage". I thought the transition would be the coop and then eventually the coop and run, but it is too warm right now in the coop all day.

    Thanks for any advice you have!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I live in a slightly warmer climate than you but even so, I usually start to transition around 3 weeks and it is complete by 4 weeks. Even the chicks I hatched in January were outside full time by the time they were four weeks old and at that time of year temps were in the 30's at night so.....yours should certainly be able to cope in July in NH!!!

    The way I do it, is around mid-morning to early afternoon depending on my schedule and the weather, I load them into a cat carrier, and carry them outside. I have a little run that used to serve as day time digs for a guinea pig. In the run I include a small feeder and waterer. Their first outing is usually only 2-3 hours (at 3 weeks of age - yours can probably do much longer periods). Repeat each day but make it longer each time. Since I am doing it at a time of year when the nights are much colder than they are now, I usually look at the weather and decide ahead of time when their first night outside will be. On that day, when late afternoon arrives, instead of loading them back in the cat carrier and bringing them inside, I load them in the carrier and put the carrier in the coop. For the next week or two, the cat carrier is a little mini coop that they sleep in. After that, I let them loose in the coop and they can decide for themselves where to sleep.

    This year for the first time I had the luxury of having a big girls coop and a separate smaller coop and run for the chicks, so they were able to stay in it by themselves without fear of being picked on by the big girls. My latest batch, who hatched in April and are now 12-13 weeks old, still hang out in the chick run even though I opened it up weeks ago to allow them to free-range with the bigger girls.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. ksrchicks

    ksrchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2011
    Thanks so much for your advice, that is super helpful. I love the cat carrier idea b/c they can hang out in there for extra shelter even though they are not navigating the ramp to the coop yet. They went out for 4 hours today and loved it. Catching bugs already and parading around the run with them. I was worried about them being too warm b/c of the heat wave here so I came home from work earlier to bring them in, but they actually seemed quite comfortable. Thanks again for all your help!
     

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