Can they go outside???? And what exactly is scratch?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cjeanean, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    I have 13 chicks that are fully feathered (from what I can tell) they only have like maybe one or two little strands of their fluff sticking out between their feathers on their heads only. The weather during the day is in the mid to upper 50's (at least for this week, it's warming up later) and I'm wondering if I can put them in the coop. I don't have any heat lights out there, only two 60 watt bulbs in the ceiling. Do you think it'd be okay??? I also ended up with 7 more than are a little younger, they don't have head feathers yet but they've got all the rest, and I'm wondering if they can go out too since they'd have the combined heat of 20 birds total. I've noticed that some of the younger birds and almost all the older birds are staying as far away from the heat light as possible, so I think that might be a good sign, but being terribly new at this I don't want to make a fatal mistake.

    I'm also wondering what scratch is. I've heard a lot of different things, but where better to find the answer than a chicken forum?? LOL! Is it the stuff called "Fancy Scratch Grains" from the feed store? (Forgive me if that's a really stupid question, which I get the feeling it is....) and if so I just throw some of it in their yard and inside the coop to get them to stir the litter up, right??? Hmmmm....I'm pondering my mental store of dumb questions....oh yeah, grit. For grit I was told that sand would suffice, even for chicks, and I'm not sure how to use it. Some people say throw it in the yard, others say mix it in the food....which way is the best??? Or does it not matter??? Okay, I'm done asking questions (at least for now)....Thanks!
     
  2. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    BC, Washington Border
    With 50 day time temperatures I would assume you are getting into the 40's at night. So you really would be best to wait until you are in the 60's for daytime temperatures. Your younger ones sound like they need a few more weeks in a brooder type environment just to be safe.

    Scratch and scratch grains. Same thing. No such thing as a dumb question. Many times contains a fair amount of corn.

    If your chicks are on starter they don't need grit. Offer grit to birds in its own bowl and they will grab it as needed. Same thing for oyster shell when they start laying. If your birds free range you really don't need to give them grit.
     
  3. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    What about just during the day??? I've got 20 chicks in the only container I have (a 55gal rubbermaid thing) and they're getting bigger by the minute!!! I'm just concerned with giving them some breathing room....even if it's just for a few hours....Do you think it'd be okay for a few hours at a time, maybe once a day until it warms up???
     
  4. Clucky

    Clucky Out Of The Brooder

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    to tell you the truth i think (personally) it will be safer to keep them out of the coop till it heats up and you can feel its hotter and the thermomtr reads it! also that scratch thing NEVER HEARD OF IT all i know of it in nz is grit that comes from ground up egg shell into little flakey bits thats wat i do!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. Clucky

    Clucky Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2007
    New Zealand (the best)
    ok their always growing so maybe let them out for 1-2 hrs for a start then slowly increase the time! ** always keep an eye on them**
     
  6. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

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    Just a thought . . . if your birds are trying to get as far away from the heat light as possible, that's probably a sign to lift the light a couple inches higher,
     
  7. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    A bit of supervised outdoor time will not hurt them and foultemptress was quite correct about lifting the light more. Lift it a few inches a couple times a week to get them acclimatized to less heat.

    Just make sure when you let them out, it is in an area you can catch them again!
     
  8. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *Clucky, chicken 'scratch' in the US is a chicken treat-- usually a mix of cracked corn, milo (sorghum), wheat kernals, and maybe one or two other grains. It may go by another name in NZ. . .[​IMG] Basically, any mix of grains that you toss out and let them 'scratch' around for-- as opposed to a complete feed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  9. Jolly_Rancher

    Jolly_Rancher Out Of The Brooder

    I for one loved these questions.

    To add a few more:

    When allowing young chicks out in their outside coop for a bit each sunny day, could you add a protected, brooded (my word) area, so if they do get a chill they have a place to run to? If you saw them all huddled up there you would know it is just too cold for them.
    And for that matter, if they were outside with nothing and they were cold, wouldn't they huddle, giving you a sign they are cold, or am I giving chicks too much credit?
    Scratch... how much is too much? Same question with snacks.. ie noodles, fruit?
    Feed.. I am assuming you fill feed dishes daily, is there a formula that lets say I have 5 chicks.. should I be going through 5 lbs of feed a week? (just an example question) .
     
  10. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    From what I've figured out (in just a month, so I don't have much credit) they just eat as much as they want to whenever. However, what I've heard as far as laying goes is that you should get one egg per few pounds of feed. That's what I've heard, don't know if someone else here can confirm it. When they're still growing I don't think there's any real way to figure it....I've gone through two little 5 lb bags and almost half a 50 lb bag in about 4-6 wks, and you gotta take into consideration how much wastage there is. Chicks are messy!!! I don't fill their trough up more than half full, cause whatever they don't eat is gonna end up either covered with crap or on the floor. I usually check/fill mine twice a day, and they haven't died yet LOL!

    I read up a little on scratch before I posted the question, and although none of the places I found told me what exactly it is or where to put it (hence this thread) one thing was clear that it should be nothing but a snack. I wish I could find the link, I'd post it. But you gotta make sure that you don't give them too much, that way they actually keep eating their real food and only have enough scratch to be a snack.

    As for the cold thing I have no clue. Mine are trying to stay away from the light, and everything I've read says that they go closer or further from the heat source as needed. They aren't the most intelligent creatures on the planet, but I'm sure they can at least figure that out LOL! So I think that's credit they deserve (I hope) I've got the light out of there now, since there are 20 of them in such a small place, and they haven't even noticed.
     

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