brooder to coop in NC - is it too soon?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ausamerican33, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. ausamerican33

    ausamerican33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Wendell, NC
    First of all, I wanted say a big hello to everyone here - I spent HOURS yesterday reading the forums before I joined - everyone is just so gosh darn nice! [​IMG] I'm very excited to have found y'all.

    Secondly, I openly admit to being an info-nerd. When I start a project, I just want to gather as much knowledge as possible. I'm a first time chicken owner. I bought 25 chicks from McMurrays - 5 White Rock, 5 New Hampshire Reds, 5 Aracaunas, 5 Black Australorps, and 5 Red Star - all females. I've read Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, and Success With Baby Chicks by Robert Plamondon. I've got The Dollar Hen, but haven't read it yet.

    Right now, the chicks are in our homemade brooder. When my camera works again, I'll post pictures (grrrr). It is 2 wire dog crates pushed together, with a cardboard draft guard on one cage, and open on the other. They have beginner perches that they love to use - they just turned 2 weeks old today. The whole contraption is on our quite big screened in back porch - so lots of fresh air, but in the shade. During the day, it's quite warm here - in the 80's and 90's, so I don't turn their light on. It doesn't usually get below 60 at night, and they have their light on all night.
    My husband is currently building their coop - 8X8, 6 feet high on one end, and 8 ft high on the other, with 8 nesting boxes, 2 windows, outdoor run (8x8), and we hope to let them free range during the day. The whole coop will be in the pasture with the horses, and has electric fencing on 3 sides. We plan to move the coop via a skid every couple months. So that's the grand plan.

    Now here's my question - finally. [​IMG] When do I move them to the coop? And how exactly do I do it so it is a smooth transition? The dog crates/ brooder provides them with 18 sq. feet at the moment, so I'm worried they'll get cramped pretty soon. I was thinking that when they are 4 weeks old, we could put them in the coop (which is directly on grass). Then maybe we should leave them in just the coop part for a few days, then open up the outdoor run (which will be fully enclosed). Then I thought it would probably be a good idea not to let them free range out of their range until they are fully grown (20 weeks?). I could string up their heat light to the coop if we really had to - but it would be hard to have the cord across the pasture, b/c of the horses. I think the horses will offer the chicks protection, as my dogs don't want to go anywhere near the horse, b/c they'll get chased. My dogs also have their own fenced in back yard (we have 10 acres altogether).

    As you can see - I'm hung up on the details of it all. But after reading the post about the man whose baby chicks were killed by his dog or a fox in his garage..... I just don't want to take any unnecessary risks, but I also want to provide them with the appropriate home for their age. Can anyone help me out?

    If everyone thinks I should keep them inside the screened in porch for another 4 weeks, until they are 6 weeks old, then I could possibly rig up another dog crate to give them more room.
     
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Since you don't have any integration issues with older chickens, etc, I'd move them on out around 4 weeks of age, assuming the weather stays like it is....HOT.

    If the temps at night are dropping below 70, then I'd consider running a heat lamp out to the coop for just at night, otherwise they should do just fine.
     
  3. ILoveJoe

    ILoveJoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2008
    Northern Kentucky
    Welcome.

    I was afraid to move my girls outside. I had 21 chicks in a melon box from the grocery store in my laundry room. Dust and desparation from the odor made my decision for me.

    I just moved them outside 3 days ago and they are 6 weeks old today. I have not been putting any light or brooder lamp out because it has been warm. Getting them to go to bed at night is a challenge though.
     
  4. goatkeepers

    goatkeepers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Mooresville, NC
    Hi from a fellow North Carolinian [​IMG]

    I think 4 weeks should be fine. Ours are about 10 days old and we take them outside in the evenings to play in the grass for a few minutes- they love it! [​IMG]
     
  5. ausamerican33

    ausamerican33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Wendell, NC
    Thank you! I'm thinking 4 weeks sounds like a good, safe age. I may expand my improvised brooder to one more dog crate. It reminds of when I was little, playing with dolls and making dollhouses. My husband asked - don't you want the big kids (8 and 12) to help you? I told him - no, I'm having lots of fun just playing by myself! [​IMG]

    If anyone else has more input, I'd love to hear it!
     
  6. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Hi, another NC native! Not too far from me.

    Just started chickens too here, and ours are 6 weeks. Haven't put them out yet, but mostly because I'm still too attached to let them out. We just added a 7 month old silkie today and we're letting them roam in the yard together until I'm sure I can put them in the coop together.

    I think 4 weeks in this weather is just fine though. Mine actually act like its too hot, and they run under a bush when I take them outside.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  7. ausamerican33

    ausamerican33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Wendell, NC
    So, if you just bring a few out and put them loose in the yard... are they not too hard to catch? I tried posting a video clip of our brooder to youtube - this is my first time trying. [​IMG]
     
  8. A Carolina Chick

    A Carolina Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2008
    NC
    [​IMG] Up until this year I have been the School Nurse at Carver Elementary. I love Wendell! I am glad you are here!
     
  9. ausamerican33

    ausamerican33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Wendell, NC
    I know you!! I'm Eva Walton's mom - peanut allergy girl - she was in Mrs. Shearin's third grade class last year. Small world, eh!!
     
  10. A Carolina Chick

    A Carolina Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2008
    NC
    I remember her quite well. I love that school! I hate that I wasn't allowed to continue working there. I now work in 3 schools in Wake Forest. Carver will always be my favorite school! The best staff ever!
     

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