Define Fully Feathered

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickens-246, May 16, 2010.

  1. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    I read over and over it takes six weeks for chicks to fully feather. I have some 3 week old heavy breeds that look fully feathered to me. Feathered backs, chests and heads. How much more do they need?

    Here is a five day old pic I have already in my picture gallery.
  2. karen71

    karen71 Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Bear, DE
    they look similar to my 5 week old chicks . I wonder the same thing myself [​IMG]

    Is the head in down or feathers ?
    Can't wait for the answer [​IMG]
  3. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    The BO have feathered heads, the others are a down/feather mix, mostly feathers.
  4. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    Where do you live? I put my chicks out in their new coop when they were 6 weeks old with their brooder light because we were still getting chilly nights here in PA last month. They have been out there since and have had no problems. Yours look like they could go out, but that also depends on where you live.
  5. The body is of most concern. Chicken lungs are close to their backs. Unfortunately, the back is usually the last part of the body to be covered with feathers. The importance of a feathered back is to protect the lungs because if the lungs get chilled, then pneumonia developes and the chick dies in a few days. Your chicks look fine and are ready for bigger things. The reason the term "fully feathered" is used is that some breeds and/or individuals will feather faster/slower than others. Hope this explains it for you..........Pop
    1 person likes this.
  6. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    I'm assuming that fully feathered means a chick can handle any temperature, correct?

    My lows are still in the 50's, highs 80-90's
  7. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Watch and observe their behavior, that's the best indication. If they're out in their run, going about their chicken business, they're fine. If they're huddled together peeping miserably, they're not.

    Night time is trickier, because you don't really want to be running out to the coop in the middle of the night to check on them. I had a brooder indoors with a heat lamp until I saw that mine roosted as far away from the lamp as possible. That was my cue to retire the lamp.
  8. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    With lows in the 50's they will be fine in a coop.
  9. fastpat

    fastpat Songster

    Quote:Chickens are NOT fully adult feathered until they're 18 months old. They molt at least three times before that age.

    They get their early "young child" feathers first, then they get their adolescent feathers, then they get their adult feathers. Some breeds have four molts to adult feathers. No chicken breed is fully feathered at less than five or six weeks, if they're caught out in the rain the results will be disaster.

    Chickens from 8 to 10 weeks old are feathered enough to put outside in the late spring and summer and will be able to tolerate their first winter provided you don't live in the cold belt in the US. I don't know much about raising chickens in the cold belt, so I'll leave that to those who do.

    All of my chickens will be old enough to withstand our winter here in their coop without auxiliary heat, as long as their coop is draft free all are expected to do well.
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  10. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    It sure looks like they're fully feathered. [​IMG]

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