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How long before they get feathers?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Happyfarmwife, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Happyfarmwife

    Happyfarmwife In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2008
    SW Oregon
    Will someone refresh my memory and tell me how long it takes for day old chicks to get their feathers? I am thinking it is about 4 weeks, my husband says 6? Which of us if either are correct? Thanks.
  2. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

    Jan 30, 2007
    Chicks do not fully feather out til they are in the 8 to 10 week old range and still need a heat lamp on them if taken to an outside coop or brooder...
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You'll start seeing adult feather at about 1 week, but like tuffoldhen says, 8-10 is when they will be feathered for sure and be able to handle nearly any weather you can throw at them.

    I find there are fast feathering and slow feathering strains and breeds of birds. My leghorn chicks lost all chick fluff by 6 weeks of age, but the poofy cochin bums didn't lost the last of their chick fluff till about 8 weeks old.

    My birds are kept on the "cool" side and get tossed out to the grow pen between 3-6 weeks of age, with lamp taken out at 6 weeks if night temps are in the 40's. However, if there are just two or three, I can make exceptions on taking light out. I usually brood up at least 6, with the usual in the teens at a time.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Happyfarmwife

    Happyfarmwife In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2008
    SW Oregon
    Thanks so much! I guess we were both wrong! LOL Well that gives us more time to get the chicken house finished then. Since we are getting our chicks on Friday. We will definately have things ready for them outside by April.

    We have a brooder for them with a lamp in my husband's shop. They will be plenty warm out there as it is in the mid 40's at night right now, and being in the shop will make it even warmer.

    Thanks again for the help and so quickly.

  5. HokeHatchery

    HokeHatchery Hatching

    May 14, 2016
    Thanks for asking that question because I forgot too. We had some hatch some eggs for us over the winter so I was really curious. We have two lamps on over their cages, but the shelter is 10 x 22 with a cathedral (barn roof shaped) ceiling. I don't think the lamps are doing a whole lot. I know it doesn't get over 60 in there. I believe the hen is providing most of their warmth as she continues to sit on eggs. I'm really starting to believe a lot of the common knowledge regarding brooders and the required temperatures are a bunch of bad science / hokus pokus. I'm sure its all great for marketing of chicken accessories. I went into an amish farm and they had a bunch of chicks for sale in boxes and they were all chirping away without a lamp at all. I would say it was about 55-60 degrees that day. Anyhow...
  6. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    Chicks are a lot hardier than we give them credit for. I use the Mama heating pad method to brood my chicks. If it is above 35F, they go out into a chicken tractor at 2-3 weeks of age with out a heat source. I haven't lost one to the cold yet.
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
    Applewood likes this.
  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging 8 Years

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Ah! A fellow critical thinker! I applaud you for your discernment!

    Yes, a lot of this business with charts and guidelines is marketing a ploy to sell "brooder kits", but it's also the security some need by clinging to conventional practices, even though no one understands why they dictate what they do or even that they may even be detrimental to the development of their chicks.

    I wrote an article about this topic you may like to read. It's the one on outdoor brooding linked below my post.

    I got new baby chicks this past week. They were one day old when I installed them outdoors in a safe pen in my run. The only heat source is a heating pad cave system. This entire week since, the temp hasn't gotten much over 70F, and the nights have been down to the high 30s. The chicks have been spending plenty of time, as you observed at the Amish farm, running about and acting normal in spite of it being definitely not 95F as the so-called guidelines dictate.

    Chicks raise under these cool conditions noticeably feather out faster and become cold hardy at a much younger age. My chicks, having been raised under cool temps, never require any acclimatizing while chicks raised in a very warm brooder in a warm house need to be gradually introduced to cool temps before moving into a coop outside.

    When chicks completely feather out is relative to the temperatures under which they have been raised.
    Applewood and mymilliefleur like this.

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