Baby chicks, How long until I need that coop built?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Merrymouse, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Again, another question from me. I have a feeling you're all going to be sick of me by the time I actually get my chickens. Anyway, its winter here and the ground is frozen solid so no chance of starting my coop yet. How long do the chicks generally stay in your garage or whatever before they have to go in the coop? Trying to plan when I can get my chicks and still have time to get my coop built. Ive never built anything and my husband hasnt built all that much either but we're gonna give it a go but it may take a while. Planning, planning and more planning :)
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    My Coop
    It depends on how quick you get sick of them!

    Joking aside, they are actually really dusty and stinky as they get larger so a lot of people end up wanting them out ASAP. Also your brooder size will affect this because depending on how big it is, they'll run out of room in there at some point.

    As a ballpark figure I'd say plan on wanting them out between four to eight weeks.
     
  3. urbanchickening

    urbanchickening Out Of The Brooder

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    I got my chicks two weeks ago, I started them in my spare bedroom in a 50 gallon storage bin as a brooder and I just moved them into my garage the other day, they will stay there for the next 6 weeks when they are feathered and ready to move outside. I am in the process of building our outside coop and will start working on it this weekend and will hopefully have it finished up within the next 5-6 weeks. I live in an area that has mild winters where we have an average of high 30s/40s at night and high 60s during the day. I bought my chicks 2 weeks ago because I wanted to have eggs by summer and because I knew I could move them to the garage and start the coop and have it up by mid February (We average 70 during the day by then lol).I say pick a time you have an extended weekend or extra days off that you know you'll have time to start building a coop...and plan for chicks maybe a week or so before your coop start date that way you have a month or so to get the coop up to your liking.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If people quit asking questions or only ask questions that have never been asked before this forum would dry up. Questions that have been asked before are often the easiest to answer, we’ve already read about them or thought about them. Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question or start a thread.

    Some of us brood chicks outside straight from the incubator or post office, never in the house. Some only do that in better weather, some will do that any time of the year. As long as you can provide an area for them that has food, water, predator protection, and weather protection, and you can keep one area warm enough in the coldest weather and another are cool enough in the warmest weather they can go outside anytime.

    Many people love brooding chicks in their house for their own reasons. I don’t. The chicks can create a lot of dust. They shed down and bits of skin (dander). They scratch their bedding and break it down into dust. If their poop dries, it gets scratched into dust. Some people are allergic to some of that. Chicks can be pretty loud, that bothers some people. Maybe some of that depends on where the brooder is: in your bedroom, your TV room, the dining room, or some back room or spare bathroom with the door closed. If the brooder isn’t kept really dry it can stink. Some people can work around that, but there will be a lot of posts this spring asking how soon can I get these things out of my house. Not everyone can put up with it.

    You haven’t modified your profile to show where you are so I don’t have a clue as to your climate. How cold your nights get can have an effect when they can go out. But there are other considerations. Most chicks fully feather at 4 to 5 weeks. Once they feather out they can handle cold really well. If you feed them a Chick Starter, usually around 20% protein, they feather out faster than if you feed them say a 16% Grower. Some people go higher than 20% protein, I don’t. If chicks are exposed to cold weather, even a little, they feather out faster but they also acclimate. They get used to cold weather and can handle it better. The more chicks you have the better they can huddle together and help keep each other warm.

    The facility they are going to is also important. They can handle cold a lot better if they are kept out of a direct breeze. You do not want the wind hitting them. But they need good ventilation. That sounds conflicting but it isn’t. My grow-out coop has tremendous wind protection but the top, maybe two feet over their head, is pretty much open. I repurposed something to make it so the top is hardware cloth but I put a sloped elevated roof on it to keep rain out. Any wind is well over their heads.

    My 3’ x 6’ brooder is built into my coop. I have eggs in the incubator right now. When they hatch the chicks will go straight to this brooder. The ambient temperature could be anywhere from single digits (or lower) to in the 60’s when they go in the brooder or within a few weeks of then going in. I keep one end pretty toasty even in really cold weather but on some mornings I see ice on the far end. The chicks spend time in the colder end of the brooder, going back to the heat so they warm up when they need to.

    So, to summarize. Mine eat a 20% Chick Starter so they feather out fairly rapidly, my brooder and grow-out coop have great breeze protection and good ventilation, they stay dry, and my chicks are acclimated.

    My chicks have gone through weather in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit in my unheated grow-out coop before they were six weeks old with no problems. Others on here say their chicks go through colder temperatures at an even younger age with no supplemental heat but I haven’t tried that.

    So how soon can yours go out? That’s going to depend on a lot of things, including how much you trust me, a stranger over the internet.
     
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  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi again. [​IMG] It's OK, the more questions you ask, the better off you and your flock will be.

    Yesterday was a good time to start your coop! Seriously, you will come across many challenges that will slow your building progress. Brooding in the coop is by far best. If your brood is small, it takes longer to get gross, but the dust left on the walls from them is thick and gross. But work within your means and make it work for you.

    The sooner you get chicks the sooner you get eggs. I won't get chicks later than April in the future. My June chicks are barely starting to lay and they will molt come fall. So instead of getting eggs for summer, fall, winter, spring. summer, fall, molt.... From those, I will only get spring, summer, fall, molt. Do you see the difference? All chickens will molt their second winter. My February born girls started laying around 4th of July.

    Frozen ground creates special conditions I haven't had work with. But many coops are not anchored to the ground but built on stilts to allow for chickens to have extra rain cover. I guess it depends on how big you are going...

    ETA: Don't forget windows for light and plenty of ventilation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  6. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Thank you . That is the time frame I was thinking too. Ok, now I just need the ground to defrost so I can start building!
     
  7. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Great info, Thanks. So I wasnt planning on indoors as in "INSIDE" my house. I was planning on in my garage or in my shed to start them since I dont have my coop ready. I figured they would be noisy, messy and smelly too so outside somewhere protected was the plan. Good info on the chicken starter. Also I updated my location so you can see Im in Massachusetts and the last couple of days have been extremely cold. Yesterday morning was 0 F and today was 8 F when I left for work, Yes we are talking single digits and that is without the windchill. Maybe when I get more knowledgable with this I will trust myself to brood in the coop but for now I need to simplify with big bucket/heat lamp method. So I should plan at least 4 to 5 weeks at the very soonest to go out. That should give me pretty good time to build my coop as long as we dont have a April blizzard or something. Thanks again, love this forum.
     
  8. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Hmm that makes alot of sense. Im hoping for sooner rather than later but I have to have time to build my coop. I live in MA and its freezing cold here, like single digit cold right now. Also I do plan on building my coop off the ground but it need to be leveled and my run requires footings and the ground is literally a block of ice right now. So Im hoping for no late storms or a weekend of thaw and Ill get the footings in.
     
  9. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Thank you. Your climate is much kinder than mine :) you sound like you have a solid plan.
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Ah, that makes sense. [​IMG]

    Once your chicks are of age and outside... even in those conditions, most do not provide supplemental heat. Adequate ventilation is the key to avoiding frost bite. There are some good articles floating around here about it.

    Late storms seem to show up often for us. Usually about Easter time. [​IMG]
     

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