Growing too fast

Waters-flock

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Dec 17, 2020
72
169
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Central Texas Hill Country
I am a new chick mama and my girls aren’t even three weeks old. I bought a puppy play pen to act as a brooder because, stupid me, I was sure this would work easily for five or six weeks. After all, I only have 8 (now 7 😥) chicks. Well, I went out of town for 3 days and my son took care of them. When I got home, I swear they had doubled in size. Their coop is built but I’m worried they are too little to climb up to the roost. The coop has a small run under the roosting area with a ladder. I figured to let them live in it for a couple of days before I open it up to the larger run.
The weather here is pretty warm but the coop is under a tree (fairly well protected). Last night, we had a major lightening storm with heavy rain for an hour or two. I’m worried they aren’t ready to adapt to the weather.
I added a pic of the coop and a couple of the girls. The feathers are coming in pretty fast, at least that’s what I think. Should I 1) get a larger brooder, or 2) put them in the coop in another week (at 4 weeks old) or ? Thanks!
 

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3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
11,853
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
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They do grow at a remarkable speed.

If they're well-feathered and off heat and/or the night lows aren't dropping below their brooding temperature you can put them out.

You might have to help them up and down until they get the idea, but I wouldn't lock them into a coop in the kind of heat your part of the country gets.

This is my outdoor brooder: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/run-to-outdoor-brooder-conversion.76634/
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
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I think your brooder is fine.

My polish chicks are 3 weeks as well. I have been putting them out in a temporary dog kennel inside the run. I then take them back to the brooder at night. One reason is because I have older hens and they can't fully integrate yet. The other reason is because its familiar to them. I only have 2, but if I had more and my night temps were consistent, I would put them in an outdoor brooder set up with a wool hen (strips of wool hanging in a confined area) where they can warm up if needed. Or, if I had electricity out there, I would have set up a mama heating pad.
My original intent was to do the 1st set up with a wool hen, but it turned out I only got 2 chicks out of the 8 that I planned.
Also, my brooder temp hasn't been the 90° that is recommended- directly under the lamp, it's more like 80°. Even with just 2 they were content from the first day. My problem is that I've got them brooding in a plastic tub and they are outgrowing it in height.

Your chicks aren't fully feathered, but if you start acclimating them now, it will be smooth transition later.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,669
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Lincolnton, NC
I think your brooder is fine.

My polish chicks are 3 weeks as well. I have been putting them out in a temporary dog kennel inside the run. I then take them back to the brooder at night. One reason is because I have older hens and they can't fully integrate yet. The other reason is because its familiar to them. I only have 2, but if I had more and my night temps were consistent, I would put them in an outdoor brooder set up with a wool hen (strips of wool hanging in a confined area) where they can warm up if needed. Or, if I had electricity out there, I would have set up a mama heating pad.
My original intent was to do the 1st set up with a wool hen, but it turned out I only got 2 chicks out of the 8 that I planned.
Also, my brooder temp hasn't been the 90° that is recommended- directly under the lamp, it's more like 80°. Even with just 2 they were content from the first day. My problem is that I've got them brooding in a plastic tub and they are outgrowing it in height.

Your chicks aren't fully feathered, but if you start acclimating them now, it will be smooth transition later.
X2
I have never had a chick that wanted to be in 90degree heat past day 1. Ever.
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
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Here's what my 2 chicks are doing at the moment. It's a bit cooler than it has been - high 60's when it's been in the 90's already - and they aren't complaining at all.
 

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Waters-flock

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Dec 17, 2020
72
169
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Central Texas Hill Country
Thanks for the great ideas. I’m off to get a dog crate to put in the shady part of the outside run. I can put them outside for a few hours tomorrow and see how they like having more room. I don’t have electricity by the coops but will set up an area for them to play and see how it goes. I realize now that transitioning them to the coop doesn’t have to be a one day event.
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
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I was wondering about the water bowl to the left. Thanks for the explanation - ducks explain lots.
The chicks don't have access to the dirty water ... yet. But, all my birds drink dirty water over fresh. 😁 I always have fresh water available and I have repeatedly observed the chickens and ducks drinking from dirty water when there is fresh within inches. As far as the dirt - ducks get a mouthful and then swish it in the water. Those dog bowls are supplemental for when temps are high. Silly birds.
 

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