Are my barred rocks ready to go outside???

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

  1. sinistershelly

    sinistershelly Out Of The Brooder

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    I am a new chicky mom and my 9 baby's have hit the 4 week mark. They have been living in my bathtub since i got them. I have read that Plymouth rocks tend to grow faster then any other breed. Well, from pictures Ive seen of other peoples chicks, I feel this is true. Mine are beginning to not look like babies anymore and they certainly arn't acting like it either. Their stripes are in on their wing feathers and their getting lots of their adult feathers all along their backs. And boy they sure are trying hard to fly out of my tub. Their bodies are about the size of my fist, of course not counting their heads and legs, just the body.

    I let them out to play today in their new to be coop and run area in my back yard, which is still being worked on. They had so much fun, and 2 of em even spent a good half hour taking their first dirt bath, which is hilarious to watch by the way, lol. I let them hang out and explore while hubby and I finished with some last minute fix'em'ups in the run, like lining the top of the fence with chicken wire so falcons and hawks dont fly in. By the time it started getting dark I rounded them up and had to chase a few down and put em back in their box to go back in the bathroom. They cried and i felt so bad.

    So what Im wanting to know is, is it safe to go ahead and let them be outside now full time?
    And is there anything I need to make sure I have out there for them I might be missing? Like is there a check list I can go off of to make sure they are comfy?
    I put a solar led light on the outside of one of the coops, I have 2 out there. I hear a lot of people have lights INSIDE the coops too? What kind are safe so Im not having a panick attack and checking every 5 minutes for fires?

    Thanks for all the help too by the way [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Many people on here brood their chicks in the coop entirely, including me. At 4 weeks in the temps we have here, they would be past ready to be outdoors without heat. You didn't say where you are or what your temps are. At 3 weeks with nights in the 60's I had to turn the heat off because they were avoiding it.

    Coops do not need a light, although having one you can turn on at night when needed to work with them is convenient. If there is a window so there is some natural light in the coop, they should be fine. Typically they will chirp the first night or two outdoors, especially if they had light all night in their brooder, then quiet down and sleep well. If you still have heat on them in the bathtub, it would be good to turn it off a night or two before you move them permanently.
     
  3. sinistershelly

    sinistershelly Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2011
    Sorry, Im in Colorado and during the day its about 95 out there and right now at midnight its about 74 degrees. I havnt had a heat lamp on them in the bathroom since its about 85 in there, they dont even really cuddle much when they sleep so I havnt worried about them being cold. I didnt realize so many people raised them in their coops. I always kept reading to have them indoors with you as babies. Thanks for the info.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    With days above 90 and nights above 70, 4 week old BR chicks would not need any thing special, by way of brooders and lights anymore.

    I brood outside, in the garage or right in the barn itself. The purpose of the heat lamp is to keep them warm when it is cold. We're way "up north" and it hasn't been cold here since early June, I think. [​IMG] Time for the chicks to live outside. Time also for them to get accustomed to 8 hours of darkness and just sleep at night.
     
  5. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are 5 weeks old today. My coop is not ready yet, but for the past 2 weeks now I have been bringing them outside and they stay in a large rabbit hutch. I have been bringing them out to in the morning and then I bring them back inside at around 6:30, so they have about 45 minutes to get settled in before the daylight starts to fade out of the laundry room. If you don't want to have them sleep out all night yet, you could bring them out during the day, then bring them back in. I also have been letting the girls run around for a few hours in an enclosed pen. I can not wait till the coop and run is ready. I know I will be a nervous wreck for the first few nights, but they are really getting to big to be living inside in the large dog crate.
     
  6. Stoney22

    Stoney22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally don't raise chicks in my coop bc I haven't had a broody yet this yr and I ordered my chicks and they will get beat up. I also don't in the coop bci can't keep the rest of the flock sepperate from the chicks, I feel alot who do raise them from day one in the coop either one have a broody hen to protect them slash take them away from danger or two have and area cordoned off to allow the flock to see them but not hurt them until they are accepted in. If you have a separate area or this babies are your only chickens you may do fine but I personally like them in the house bc I like the more hands on approach. The purpose of this was if you were knew to chickens I didn't want u too put them in the coop not knowing and have...if u have other hens... have them get beat up.
     
  7. jmjmcelwee

    jmjmcelwee Out Of The Brooder

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    I, too, was confused by thinking I needed to keep them inside for longer but read so many threads of people that brood outside...as long as the temperatures support it and you're ready for it, go for it [​IMG] I moved my 8 girls outside to their coop last week at 2 weeks old...at that point they were past the "tender" stage and I felt comfortable moving them out. The temperatures here have been in the 90s during the day and 70s at night - I did turn on the heat lamp just for overnight for the first week. I kept them inside their coop for a week and then just this Sunday, let them outside into their run which they have been loving!
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I am very much with Dawn and Fred on this one, but maybe I can help you feel a bit better. It can be a nerve-wracking time the first time. I raise mine in a brooder in the coop straight out of the incubator. I think that helps with integration, plus I don't like the dust in the house.

    With nine, you have enough that they can crowd together to keep each other warm if they need to. They will not need to, but they could if they wanted to. They will very likely sleep in a bunch, especially the first few nights, not because they are cold but because they like each others company in that strange place.

    There is a rule of thumb to start the temperatures in the range of 90 to 95 degrees the first week and drop it 5 degrees a week. If yours are 4 weeks old, they are over 28 days old and can be down in your nighttime temperature range anyway. I feel comfortable that Dawn and Fred will agree that this rule of thumb is very conservative. Chicks can and do thrive in temperatures cooler than these recommendations, but some people have to have numbers to work with and these are extremely safe temperatures.

    1st week (0 to 7 days old) - 90 to 95 degrees
    2nd week ( 8 to 14 days old) - 85 to 90 degrees
    3rd week (15 to 21 days old) - 80 to 85 degrees
    4th week (22 to 28 days old) - 75 to 80 degrees
    5th week (29 to 35 days old) - 70 to 75 degrees

    Practically all chicks fully feather out somewhere around 4 to 5 weeks old. They do not need supplemental heat after they feather out.

    A broody hen will sometimes wean her chicks at 4 weeks of age, sometimes even a tad earlier. This is after she has taught them to roost. So 4 week old chicks are often sleeping on the roost, without Mama keeping them warm. My current broody started hers roosting at just under 2 weeks and not all could fit under her on the roost. They were fine. My temperatures at that time were probably pretty close to yours.

    Since I mentioned roosting, I have had brooder raised chicks start roosting at 5 weeks. A more normal time for me is 10 to 12 weeks. Some groups of chicks wait until they are quite a bit older. Don't get bent out of shape if yours do or do not roost at any specific age. It really does not matter.

    Some people like raising them in the house so they can socialize the chicks better. The more you handle them, the more likely they are to impring on you and be friendlier as adults. You can still do that if you raise them in a brooder in the coop, but it is less convenient to take the time to go out there a lot.

    Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!
     
  9. sinistershelly

    sinistershelly Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2011
    Thank you all so much for the help and responses. Ill do my last little touch ups to the run and coop today and by this evening they should be all set to go outside then. By the way Ridgerunner, these girls have ALL been roosting since 3 weeks, lol. They are so cute.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had a broody take her chicks to the roosts at night at two weeks, but the earliest my brooder raised chicks have started sleeping on the roosts is 5 weeks. Yours are well ahead of mine there. There is very little that is consistent with chickens. That is why there is seldom one right answer for all of us.
     

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