first night out!


Apr 26, 2015
Northern California
So lastnight was the first night i left my 5 week chicks out in the coop. I usually bring them inside to thier brooder. I was a little concerned as yesterdays evening drew near the winds got stronger and temperatures dropped. I left a Seedling mat in one of the nesting boxes i also left a medium sized box with pine shavings to ensure they had several warm places to snuggle up! I went out this morning and they were as happy as could be outside in the sunshine after a long windy night!! They are such tough little cuties!! Anyone else putting chicks outside for first time?
I got mine at 2weeks they were so little and barely had feathers but within the last week the feathers have come in so nice! I had them in my guest bathroom so when they reached four weeks i cracked the window and opened it alittle more every other night. I was worried about the winds lastnight so i put a seedling mat for gardening in a nesting box (the mat only makes whatever is on it 10-15 degrees warmer then the air temp) they didnt use it they just nestled up in the pine shavings in a different nesting box! When i went out at 7am this morning they were sun bathing and in heaven!
I've got seven 5 weeks olds that I can't wait to get outside!!!

Planned to get them out a week or so ago....but need to reduce the population by harvesting some old hens and cockerels from another hatch, that plan has been pushed forward several times.

Hoping by end of week that they are out there, their poops are getting too big for brooder life.
As my friend aart knows, mine start out in the run. One group is now 10 weeks, one 9 weeks, and one 5 weeks. Doing just fine!

@MakelaNJoe I know you want your babies to be warm, but not sure if I'd want to get them in the habit of sleeping in the nest boxes. Can be a real bear to break them of, and leads to eggs being laid everywhere but the nest boxes and/or eggs getting poopy if they do lay in the nests. If you go out and check them at after dark, I'll bet you'll find them huddled together in a pile of beaks,feets, and feathers, staying perfectly comfortable.
My girls are 5 weeks old. They have been spending the days outside and the nights inside. I really want to put them out permanently but we are going through a bit of a cold spell with the night time temps in the 40's. When it gets warmer at night they are outta here!
@Blooie I was wondering about that as ive never read about hens sleeping in nestig boxes unless broody! Im new to raising chicks/chickens thanks for info. They typically are on perch at night for extra protection is the box a better idea?
@Clucksandgiggle im in northern ca temps at night are about 50 here as long as your coop is safe from drafts i think your pretty close to getting them out at night! Goodluck!
@Blooie I was wondering about that as ive never read about hens sleeping in nestig boxes unless broody! Im new to raising chicks/chickens thanks for info. They typically are on perch at night for extra protection is the box a better idea?
They'll use nest boxes for sleeping if they get into the habit of it. That's why most of us block them off until we find that first magic egg in the coop or run, then open them up. A roost is always your best bet for nighttime. 2x4s with the wide side up is pretty commonly used, since with round ones they have to sit all night and try to balance with their toes curled. A flat piece of wood lets them literally sit on their feet, much more comfortable for them and with the added bonus of keeping their feet warm when the weather is cold.

I had a lot of trouble with my chicks using the nest boxes for sitting and watching the world go by. At night they slept in a big puddle, all cuddled together near the entrance to their old broody pen, but during the day they'd take over the nests. They weren't sleeping in them - just using them in the daytime. I was constantly rousting them out, and getting poopy eggs. <sigh> Finally they got the message! I think the big girls had more to do with breaking that habit than I did - a few well placed pecks on their noggins and they decided the nests weren't worth the trouble they got into.

I live up in Nothern Wyoming, not too far from Yellowstone Park. I don't use a heat lamp out in the run where my brooder pen is. And yes, it's in the run, not the coop. Unless your temps are way down there, yours shouldn't need anything but each other and a roost at night. Mine, 5 weeks, 9 weeks and 10 weeks, have been outside since the very beginning and our temps were in the teens and 20s. All I use is a straw cave with a heating pad on it, and they have absolutely thrived. The older chicks (9 & 10 weekers) were removed from any heat source and then evicted from their brooder pen at 4 and 5 weeks to make way for the new chicks, and we had no issues at all. That was despite one night where the temps plummeted, we had 60 mph winds, and the snow was blowing sideways, with a power outage of a few hours just to keep things interesting. That was just a couple of days after the new chicks went out there at less than a week old. No problems.

These little critters do need care, absolutely, but they aren't quite the dainty, delicate creatures we sometimes treat them like. If they were out with Mama Hen, they'd be scurrying all over the place, exploring, eating whatever she shows them, and just running under her for a quick warmup and at bedtime, even in sub-zero temps. I had a chick raised outside after an injury using the cave and the heating pad, no flockmates to snuggle with, and it was 4 below zero.

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