Getting Chicks to Sleep Outside

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hensnchix, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. hensnchix

    hensnchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2007
    Well, I think I've created a problem. My chicks are now 10 weeks old and have been playing in an open-air atrium during the day. At night, we've still been bringing them inside to sleep in their brooder box.

    The last few nights we've tried to leave them outside in the atrium, to get them used to sleeping outside, which they will do when our coop is finished. But they crowd by the atrium door and peep their little heads off wanting to come in. It's pathetic. It's heart rending. They jump and down and stare beseechingly at us until either I or the kids crack and bring them inside to sleep in their box. There they coo and trill and settle down very peacefully.

    How can I get them used to sleeping outside? (They have to be able to spend the night outside by next week, when we're headed out on vacation.) I was thinking I could put their brooder box outside in the atrium for the next few nights, so at least they'd be in their special box. Do I just have to do that and grit my teeth through the peeping? One of the girls now can make the saddest little sobbing noise when she's outside--this is almost as bad as trying to help a human infant sleep through the night! (I wasn't so great at that either.)

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Sign me,
    Susan
    (wimpy first-time chicken mom)
     
  2. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    Uuhhhhh...heh heh...getting them to sleep "outside" is kinda a new one on me!

    At ten weeks old they're still in a brooder box? If that's the case, bring the box to the 'outside' and leave them out there with it at night. Just don't give in to them. After a night or two, take the box away and leave the chicks outside. They'll probably still whine and complain, but they'll just have to get used to it.
     
  3. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2007
    Maine
    Yup. You just have to purchase some earplugs and leave them be. That's all there is to it. Will they cry the first few nights, yes, but the longer you put it off the harder of a time you're going to have. Tough love! If it makes you feel better then put their box out there with them but sooner or later you'll want them to learn to roost.
     
  4. hensnchix

    hensnchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2007
    Thanks--I know it's insane. But right about the time they were big enough to stay outside all night, they started that pathetic cheeping sound as soon as it got dark, so we kept bringing them back inside.

    I swear though, both of my kids (aged 6 and 9) do sleep in their own beds now...and they're not breastfeeding anymore either![​IMG]

    Susan
     
  5. CutestChickenFarmer

    CutestChickenFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2007
    Delaware
    I know how you feel - mine are only 3 weeks old but I'm bracing myself for the 'empty-nest syndrome.' When they're in their brooder, I can just walk past and be sure that all is well. When they're outside, well, I just think I'll be on pins and needles, wondering all the time what's going on out there. And if I hear them crying to come in, I'm worried that I'll scoop them all up and bring them back inside, too.

    So what's the best way, just do it cold turkey and let the chips fall where they may? I realize that they won't die of loneliness or anything (I'll be running out there first thing in the morning anyhow), but is that the best way to do it?

    Susan
     
  6. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    It's the only way, except for letting a hen raise them, heh.
     
  7. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    They are scared. Is there any way to put a night light in the pen until they get used to staying outside ? It would be just enough light to reassure them.

    Also, how is your open air atrium built ? If they huddle against the door or sides, is it predator proof so that nothing can reach in and grab them ?
     
  8. hensnchix

    hensnchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2007
    It's 10:00 pm here in CA and I'm happy to report all is well with the chicks. The open air atrium is not predator proof, so I put the chicks in a predator proof rabbit cage (very large), filled with straw, when the sun went done. They hardly peeped at all. So I think the issue was that they were indeed scared and needed to be in what felt like a secure "hen house."

    Thanks, all, for encouraging me to take the "tough love" approach. Turns out it wasn't so tough after all...except now I miss those cute little peeps and coos they make when they're falling asleep...

    Susan
     
  9. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Yea !!!
     
  10. chad

    chad Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2007
    Pittston, Maine
    Hmmm. Two days ago I put my month-old chicks outside in their brooder. My brooder is just an enclosure 4' by 4' and 2' high. It has no bottom so the chicks are right on nice fresh grass. Covered 2/3 of it with plastic mesh and the other 1/3 with a plastic sheet to keep rain, etc., out. Just as well; it poured Monday night. I'm not sure they stayed entirely dry...Never occurred to me to bring them inside at night, but others (and I don't mean this as a criticism!) are more tender-hearted than I am.

    I gotta tell ya, getting them out in the fresh air and sunshine had a salutary effect. I swear that they got bigger and more mature-lookin overnight.

    So, glad you got that sorted, hensnchix. Your little birds will thrive in that good California sunshine!
     

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