How early can the chicks be moved to a coop and pen?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DottieMarie, May 22, 2008.

  1. DottieMarie

    DottieMarie Songster

    May 6, 2008
    South East MI
    Our chicks aren't even hatched yet but my head is spinning with questions.
    I get my chicks in a week and a half and have a large plastic container waiting for them. (harware cloth on top with a heat lamp. My question is, how soon can they be moved to a coop and pen?
    The coop will be 8 x 12 and the pen is 50 x 50, welded wire with hardware cloth along the bottom. We're adding netting over the top to keep the hawks out.
    I've been reading posts here for about a month and you guys are the best. I've already learned so much but have such a long way to go.
  2. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    My chicks moved out at 2 months old. THe low at that time was about 60s and highs about 70. Mine have to sleep in a semi-closed run so the hens can't get to them.
  3. DottieMarie

    DottieMarie Songster

    May 6, 2008
    South East MI
    So is it the night time temps that will dictate when I move them out or are there other considerations too?
  4. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Lots of considerations.

    Night temperatures

    Protection and heating they will have

    Their age

    How used they are to cooler temperatures

    I put mine in a coop at about 3 weeks old. They are now 4 weeks old and getting feathered pretty well. The coop is fully enclosed with some cracks in the walls but it isn't really drafty. I was using two heat lamps but I am now using just one. Temperatures here have been in the high 40s to low 60s at night. During the day I turn off the lamp and open a screened door so they get light and air.

    There are 54 birds in an 8 X 8 coop. It is a little crowded but I hope to halve the number of birds within a week so they will have more space.
  5. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Mine go out to the shed into a pen from day one...night temps are 30 or less. Sometimes even 0, there is frost and snow...but, They have a draft free area about 5x6 feet. You can put a 'ring' made out of cardboard around the area about a foot high to keep drafts out, but other than that they have a heat lamp and that's it. My pen is not insulated, but it is dry and draft free. I don't let them outside in the run until about 6 weeks though
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    In a nutshell : When they are ready.

    Okay, lets break that down. Chicks need warmth in the beginning. 95 degrees at 2" above the litter for the first week and 5 degrees less each week until you reach room temp. So that about 4 weeks in the brooder.

    Well, that is IF the temps out side are moderate. I see youre in MI- what are your night temps liable to be then? 60-70 degrees should be alright if you prevent all drafts and give them supplemental heat at night.

    I'd suggest you build them a hover for the coop when you move them out there. Put a heat lamp in it with a dimmer and you can adjust the heat for them as needed.
    Here's the idea - cheap and effective:

    Once their hard, outer feathers come in at about 8 weeks, it'll be summer and you won't need any heat. You may not need any before then.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2008
  7. klong

    klong Hatching

    May 23, 2008
    Help! I'm a chicken newbie too, and I have exactly the same question!

    We bought chicks about 4 weeks ago - one (brown leghorn) was about 2 weeks old at the time, and the others (bantie and Americauna, or is it Auracona?) about 1 week. So, in other words, they are now between 5 and 6 weeks old. They have lots of feathers, but the youngest one has some down still - her head is still pretty downy.

    I live in Seattle, where the temps recently have been about 48 at night and high 50s - low 60s in the day. I have built a coop from an old doghouse and it's not draft-free but not too bad.

    Now, the chickens are in a tall box in our bathroom, but they are getting TOTALLY out of control, like rowdy teenagers, so we have GOT TO DO SOMETHING! I've got a blog going that shows pictures of the chickens and coop, here:

    I'm thinking of putting a light in the coop to hopefully warm things up at night (I might add that the coop pictured on the blog is NOT done, but a mad session with the hammer, wood and chicken wire should get me there this weekend).

    So, am I gonna kill my chickens if I put them out at this point? Or am I safe, provided I put a light in the coop?
  8. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Mine went out to the coop at 4 weeks old. Temps were still in the 40's at night but all 19 of them were snug as a bug in the dog house "coop". The 16 I have left (passed off 3 roos) are still all trying to fit in there. If they would just move over to the main coop it would be all ok!
  9. zippychickens

    zippychickens Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    N. CA
    I put my chicks out when they were 4weeks. They had most of there feathers and since our days were warm I didn't give them a heat lamp. for the night time I used a dog house with shavings for them to sleep in. They were fine. The first 2 nights they huddled on top if each other in a corner of the run. They were obviously cold. So I had to move them all into the doghouse for the first 2 nights. #rd night they went into the doghouse on their own. a general rule of thumb is , they are cold if they are huddled up. You can try putting them in the coop and if they huddle give them a heat lamp or a shelter like a doghouse.
  10. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Quote:Same with mine

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