Exposing chicks to coop/run dirt

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DawnB, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. DawnB

    DawnB Chillin' With My Peeps

    HI all, question about exposing chicks to coop/run dirt. My run is still buried under FEET of snow. But, I use the deep litter method in the coop. Can I use some of the bottom-most litter (that's just a step or 2 away from composted) to put in the brooder? Also, what age should I start exposure? My fuzzballs are only a week old today.

  2. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Glad I saw this thread as I'm curious about the same thing. I've read where some will bring in a bit of dirt from the run and put it in the brooder when they're a few days old to introduce them right in the beginning. And I've also read not to introduce them until they've feathered out enough to take a brief visit outside.

    Very curious as to what others with experience have done. I got pullets when I began this journey so have no experience with chicks and am expecting to get some in a few weeks.
  3. Sportsterjeep

    Sportsterjeep Creekside Acres Farm

    Jun 1, 2010
    Mill Hall PA
    You can do this if you want to, but it's really not necessary. My babies spend the first couple weeks in a brooder in my shop and then get transferred to an outside pen that is closed with fresh bedding. Once they are big enough to not slip out of the fencing they get let into the attached run. I've had broodies hatch out into already established pens and haven't seen any difference between the two methods. The one thing I will add is that I feed medicated starter. The anti coccidiosis med in it helps with any trace amounts that they would pic up from your flock, other animals, and wild birds.
  4. Bone143

    Bone143 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 22, 2013
    The way I do it, Is once they start getting their feathers good I start putting them in cages and setting them outside for a couple hours at a time with water only then sprinkle some crumbles under the cage so they have to pick at it if their hungry. I do that for about a week then the next week I cage them at night from the brooder and put them in the main coop with all the layers and my rooster to become accustom to them. Again for a week at night. Once they become accustom to them the following week I pen them all up in a run together for a week or 2 putting them back in the main coop at night then by the end of the first or second week based on how they are doing I just let them start free ranging. By then they have learned the coop is their new home and come and go with no issues.

    Unless they are meat birds then once they get feathers I put them in cages outside for a week with crumbles under them then straight to the run and temporary coop. the important thing with the meat birds is to ween them off the heat light so they don't get cold at night. once i have them weened from that I put them straight in the run. I don't let them free range since they are such fat lazy birds more come up missing than the free ranging would feed personally. I generally raise 30 to 50 at a time though so smaller numbers would be easier to keep up with free ranging also. Most the time they only have 3 or 4 weeks in the run before their heads fall off anyway.
  5. DawnB

    DawnB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I am the same boat MtlLaurl, this is our first batch of chicks, and I can't seem to find a definite "maybe" that sat well with me on the forum search. I haven't been able to find what (if any) is the 'safe' age to do it or to think like a broody hen and do it whenever (not like a hen can google anything in particular! C'mon, they don't have thumbs![​IMG])

    @SportsterJeep, I am feeding medicated crumbles. But I've read that it's pointless to feed medicated if they aren't being "exposed" to dirt or other chickens to have the coccidosis get in and start building their immunity. So I thought I'd ask. My biggest issue is that even in another 2-3 weeks, I can't plan on not having snow, so putting them outside (even in a tractor) may not happen for a while. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't screwing something up!

    @Bone143, thanks for the step-by-step, that's exactly what I was looking for to do the intro too...

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