Do I really have to keep chicks in brooder for 6 weeks?



Mar 27, 2018
I got 13 chicks this year and most of them are going on 2 weeks this weekend. They are getting crowded in the bin I've been keeping them in in the mud room so I'm thinking of a good next step... garage w newspaper and maybe baby pool? I've seen lots of posts on baby chicks in small brooders but hardly anything on how to manage them when they are 2-6 weeks.

Do I really have I keep them in the garage for 6 weeks if it's warm outside? I feel like they are going to get so bored and it will be a huge mess.

Anyone have a better solution?

Thank you!
I'm no expert, but my 4 wk olds stayed outside in their mini coop last night with no heat and did great. Low was 65. I plan on putting them in the large coop with other hens by 6 weeks. I took them off heat at night 2 days ago and have been spending the days outside during the day for about 5 days. I took them outside at a week old for an hour or so at a time.
This is our first time to ever have chicks and we had them outside since we bought them with a heat lamp. I didn't realize most people kept them inside until joining this forum. I thought maybe we were doing it wrong but they have been just fine and successfully growing and feathering. They are about 3 weeks old. We had them in a Brooder in a run but they moved into their coop last week. We have to put them into the house at night but they come flying out when I open that door every morning. It's so funny to watch.
Most people definitely do not keep chicks inside, at least not in my experience. But I am from the deep south where it's warm most of the year (usually). There are essentially 5 stages for my birds:

1. from incubator to rest bin, which is a Rubbermaid bin with paper towels inside of a dog cage wrapped in poultry wire. It's outside but on our front porch, with a very close heat lamp. If you buy chicks from a store or shipped to you, skip this step. It's just for delicate little hatchlings to adjust.

2. From rest bin to brooder. I have a small coop we use for chicks that came from like a TSC. The top which is the "roost" is used as our brooder, and we wire it off so they can't go down the ramp to the bottom. They stay up here for 3-4 weeks when the weather is warm, with the light gradually moving away from them and panels open on the side to let light and breeze though.

3. From brooder top to chick condo bottom floor: this means they move from it the warmer top floor to the bottom, where it's half wrapped in Visquine and otherwise open air. This allows us to make sure they're adjusting to the outside temps and conditions okay, or if they need to stay up in the brooder for awhile. They are here until 5 weeks.

4. From condo to large coop, in a dog kennel. They're here for a week to reset their home status to the grownup coop.

5. Free range! At 6 weeks the dog kennel is removed and the chicks begin to free range with the adults. They'll go back with them at night to the grownup coop, which is good because by now their old condo is occupied with the next round of chicks.

If you live in cold temps or its winter months, I might delay each stage, especially the final two, a little longer until they were feathered out and okay to be more exposed. But where we live is so warm, that's often not needed unless it's December or January. And the numerous steps help us prevent rapid transitions, shock, illness, pecking, etc. Took us awhile to iron it out but it works great for us now!
Mine are usually off heat and outside by about 3 to 4 weeks of age. I like to get them outside and learning from the adults as early as possible.
Most people definitely do not keep chicks inside, at least not in my experience. But I am from the deep south where it's warm most of the year (usually).
Ah see I've been getting most my of chick raising knowledge from the 2018 newbie board. We are from Texas & we've been getting highs up in the 90s already! My best friend was telling me they brood their chicks indoors as well (also here in our area). So I really thought it was the norm regardless of your area. That's why I really enjoy this forum, we get all different experiences and information from knowledgeable owners.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom