How long to keep inside

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BigBen, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. BigBen

    BigBen Songster

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    Dec 29, 2008
    Smithfield,RI
    My buddy is hatching a bunch of eggs for me. They should start hatching this weekend.
    This is my first time with chickens.
    He said he will keep them for 3 weeks till they get there legs.
    He said when I get them home I will have to keep them in the coop for about a month.
    Does that sound right? and if so.. what is the reason.
    I only ask because I went through great lengths to make a secure outside run and was hoping the would get to use it from the start.
    Also... How long to I keep them on starter food before i can start mixing and change over to regular adult food?
     
  2. firedove

    firedove Songster

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    Chicks need to be warm as they grow. At 3 weeks old you should be looking at temps of 85 degrees for the chicks around the clock. Your chicks should be fine to go outside during the day as long as it is warm/hot out. In fact, if temps are going to be really high they will be thankful to get out of the coop to lay in the dirt pits they will dig. You can decrease temps for chicks by 5 degrees every week. Since you are getting your chicks in the beginning of July you probably won't have to worry about temps much as long as they have the coop there to get shelter on the chilly days. Here in New England we are coming into the hottest part of the year so you don't have to be quite as concerned about your chicks. When you first get them home make sure that if a night is going to be particularly chilly (60s - mid 70s) that they have a heat lamp in the coop to keep warm if they need to. After a few weeks that will be completely unnecessary.

    IF you want to free range your chicks at all you need to supervise closely when they are small since even a cat could make a snack out of a young chick. Once they get to around 12 weeks I stop worrying about them free ranging without me. They still can get eaten but so can full grown chickens. By that age they are usually better adapted to evading predators.

    Summer is by far the easiest time to have chicks since high temps keep them comfortable without using heat lamps constantly. Enjoy your chicks!

    ETA: you can switch from starter to grower at around 8 weeks. You probably want to start with grower crumbles or mash before switching to pellets if that's the route you want to take. I like to have them on pellets by the time they are 12 to 16 weeks because they waste less when on pellets then on crumbles or mash. Only my small bantams get crumbles, and even then, my smallest bantam girl prefers the pellets anyways.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  3. txredneckmedic

    txredneckmedic Songster

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Just see how they do. Most of mine go outside at 3 to 4 weeks permanetly
     
  4. BigBen

    BigBen Songster

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    Dec 29, 2008
    Smithfield,RI
    Thank you.
     
  5. txredneckmedic

    txredneckmedic Songster

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    Apr 20, 2009
    theres really no set time. Just see how the weather is, how feathered they are....watch them and they will let u know if its too cold
     

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