Free Ranging Chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LaynaDon95, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,072
    30
    183
    Jan 18, 2012
    Texas
    Ok, so I have a batch of chicks due in early Feb. This will be my first time raising chicks. O.O I pretty much have my plans all laid out. (Ha! Yeah right, like anything ever goes according to plan.) I do have a couple questions though. I'm not planning on using medicated feed. I want to use probiotics and preventative things. I've read a lot online about building up chicks' immunity to coccidia by slowly exposing them to it. I know chicks raised by mother hens almost never get coccidia and they are exposed to dirt immediatley. When should I start letting them go outside? We live in east Texas and it's looking to be an unnaturally hot year so I'm not really worried about it being too cold for them, and obviously they would be supervised.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  2. Chickgirl201040

    Chickgirl201040 Out Of The Brooder

    97
    1
    43
    Jan 16, 2012
    Kansas in the Country
    You shouldn't let the chicks out side until they are at least 1 week old and you can exspose them to dirt as soon as they are dry even at 2 days the chicks love to dust bathe. and when you do exspose them to dirt I would put it in a draining plate for a flower pot but make sure it's big enough for at least 3 of the chicks to ly down in. and If you want them to have even more fun put some seed of insects in the pot drainer they love[​IMG] it's so funny when they start digging you almost laugh your eyes out[​IMG]
     
  3. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,072
    30
    183
    Jan 18, 2012
    Texas
    Ok that's about what I've read online. Thank you. I'm excited! I hope the hatch goes well! [​IMG]
     
  4. Chickgirl201040

    Chickgirl201040 Out Of The Brooder

    97
    1
    43
    Jan 16, 2012
    Kansas in the Country
    I hope it does to[​IMG]
     
  5. Tressa27884

    Tressa27884 Chillin' With My Peeps

    453
    7
    111
    Mar 27, 2011
    East Bay, Ca.
    I started putting my chicks out for short periods of time as soon as they had a few feathers. I used one of those big plastic kid pools and threw in some dirt, weeds and worms. I put water in with them, placed it so half of it was in the shade, covered it with a window screen then sat back and watched the 'chicken games'. Until you see chicken football - you haven't lived.
    Tressa
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I took my last group of chicks out for "play time" when they were just a few days old - just for short periods of time. Of course I got them in August, so the weather was very cooperative.
     
  7. Me & Jack

    Me & Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

    395
    7
    123
    May 31, 2009
    NC
    Someone I know lets her broody hens take their chicks outside as soon as the hen decides they're ready usually a couple of days. Personally, I'd be terrified of hawks, but she hasn't lost one yet, as far as I know.
     
  8. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,072
    30
    183
    Jan 18, 2012
    Texas
    Thank you for all the ideas. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to let them out and then get them all back inside... :) The kid pool is a good idea.
    @ Me & Jack, that's what I ultimately plan on but I don't have a broody hen and probably won't for awhile. I will take full advantage of them when they decide to go broody! Maybe if I ask them real nice...
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,965
    3,131
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can train them to come when called by using a specific call, like "Here, chick, chick" when you feed them treats or maybe by rattling a treat bucket. But you have to train them before you let them out.

    Mine always want to return to the coop or wherever home is when it is bedtime. So to start with, you might want to just lett hem out a little before dark so you can stay with them until they get the system down and you have confidence it will work.

    Occasionally I have to help them the first night or two. It's not that they don't want to go back to the coop. They desperately want to. But they don't have a good handle on the concept of gate. Some will occasionally get stuck on the wrong side of the run fencing and not understand all they have to do is walk around the run to the gate. This in spite of them going in and out of the gate a few times during the day. They usually catch on within a couple of nights.

    A couple of years back, I had some like this. The first night I walked them around to the gate and they broke into a run for the coop. When I had to do the same thing the next night, one of the Buff Orps looked back over her shoulder at me as she ran for the coop, as if to say, "What took you so long?"
     
  10. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,072
    30
    183
    Jan 18, 2012
    Texas
    Hehe, My adult chickens still don't understand a gate. But the idea of training is interesting. I figured there was something like that I could do... Chickens aren't as dumb as people make them out to be. (Conniving creatures) :p I'll look into it. We have a hawk that stays around our property so I'll have to be extra careful... But he's never messed with our bantams so hopefully he won't get into the habit. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by