Finished the coop and put out the chicks (ages 5 weeks and 3 weeks)

sfchixn

Songster
11 Years
May 30, 2009
106
117
211
Central Coast, California
Well, today I finished building the chicken coop and run (YAY!) I know you think this post belongs in that coop building topic -- there's more. So I put the chicks out today and they had a fabulous time running about, chasing bugs, eating blades of grass (and their starter mash.) I went to dinner and it was dark when I got back.

I expected to find the chicks all huddled together in the coop. Where were they? They were out in the open, in the run, laying in a pile! Good thing it was only about 60 degrees out. So, I scooped them up and put them all back in the brooder in our garage.

Do you think its too early to put them out? There's not really a way to get electricity out to the coop. I suppose I could just keep bringing them in at night and putting them out in the day -- but when will they figure out where the coop is?

Btw, we're in Northern CA and its been 70-80 degrees during the day this week with temps projected to be in the 70's this coming week. Evenings may get down to the mid-50s to 60s.
 

underground chickenman

Songster
10 Years
May 30, 2009
562
10
131
Orlando, Florida
You didn't say how old they are, but it sounds like it might be too soon based on your description. Even if they are old enough, you still need to keep them in the coop for awhile without access to the run so they learn where home is and where to roost. Sounds like they were lost.

UGCM
 

sfchixn

Songster
11 Years
May 30, 2009
106
117
211
Central Coast, California
Quote:
They are 5 weeks and 3 weeks old. Thanks for that knowledge about keeping them in the coop! I was not aware of that.

It would be very easy to put a door on the coop to prevent access to the run. I had already lined it with newspaper figuring that they would associate the flooring with that of the brooder.
 

NonnasBabies

Muddy Acre Farms
10 Years
Sep 20, 2009
12,375
6,569
526
Pride, La.
No. I believe they just didn't know what to do or where to go.

Example: Christmas day I'm about to leave and go to work and realized my 15 babies (16 weeks old) all got out of their brooder (Cause hubby forgot to latch their door) so hubby and I decided to just go ahead and put them in the big coop with my other 4!! Bad decision on my part to do something like that when I wasn't going to be home! Got home at 5:30 in the morning and found ALL 15 babies out in the run in the cold weather like yours huddled all up together!! I picked all them up and put them back in their brooder!!

What I did was the next time I mixed them a couple of days later I did it at night and we placed each one on the roost. We constantly went outside and kept checking on them. if we found them off the roost we just picked them up and put them back on!! After that we didn't have any problems!!

HTH
Missi
 

Kiwibird

Crowing
Jan 24, 2008
724
1,915
407
NZ
I have some chicks a bit older that started sleeping outside after I moved the coop, turning it 180 degrees. In the daytime they were still going in and out of their house. At night they persistently went to the south end of their coop, whether that was where their house was or not! They do have teeny, weeny brains, and I keep having to remember that! Mine seem none the worse for wear when they sleep under the stars, but we had an early frost last week, so I hope they get a bit more enthused about sleeping indoors.
 

gabbyscritters

Songster
10 Years
Mar 28, 2009
228
3
131
fredonia, wi
Yes, the youngsters are not always the brightest, but even when they are older to a new coop they are not always so smart. I was very glad this spring when my daughter had a few pullets in with some of her mature birds as the pullets just followed the older girls around and are figuring out the whole inside outside thing. We still did have to go out and call everyone in yesterday as it the sun was setting and I did not want to do chicken roundup in the dark. The girls might have come in on their own, it was the first time out loose in the yard for the year but it was easier to just call them for treats than wait and see if they came in. The big thing was that the pullets have been sticking with the girls as their leaders.
big_smile.png
 

sfchixn

Songster
11 Years
May 30, 2009
106
117
211
Central Coast, California
This morning, I put them out IN the coop and let them wander into the run on their own.

Tonight I physically picked them all up and put the in the coop and "sealed" the door. They were making happy peeping sounds when I closed it up -- I guess the liked the dark.

I'm sure they'll be find outside in the coop (without heat.) Last night they were in the garage without heat and there is no temperature difference.
 

sfchixn

Songster
11 Years
May 30, 2009
106
117
211
Central Coast, California
They have survived just fine outside (my 3 week and 5 week olds!)

Tonight is their 2nd night outside in the coop and I still had to pick them all up and place them in the coop at sundown. Once there, they all huddle together in a pile, very cute.
In the morning, I open up the door and they come running out for food/water. This morning it was about 50 degrees out when I let them out -- but warms up quickly, within a few hours.
 

sfchixn

Songster
11 Years
May 30, 2009
106
117
211
Central Coast, California
I'm updating this thread just so, perhaps, it will be useful to someone else.

Tonight will be the chicks' 5th night outside without supplemental heat. I still have to put them in the coop at night (they don't go on their own.) Once in the coop, they all huddle together. The younger (3 week old) chicks stuff themselves underneath the (now) 6-week-olds. They're still babies so I expect I may be putting them in the coop nightly. I will certainly update as things change.
 
Valley Hatchery

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