How old for chicks to be in run /w 2”x4”

el aguila

6 Years
Jan 21, 2017
Alexis, NC (near Charlotte)
We presently have about 30 hens in a coop that could hold almost 100 with a large run with 2”x4” wire fence 6’0” high which is surrounded by woods on a hill.

I have 50 chicks mostly Marans and Whitings which are now 3 weeks old brooding with heating pads in a fenced off area in the coop.

At 5 weeks I was thinking of opening a small hole in their brooding area to let them start mixing with the hens.

I’m wondering in general how old do the chicks need to be before they won’t be able to fit through the 2”x4” fence?

Free ranging isn’t an option because of neighboring dogs and predators.
Good question. When do you plan to take that heat away? In North Carolina it might not be that much longer. The way you are raising them five weeks will be plenty old enough. I have that same issue with electric netting, some chicks need to be 7 to 8 weeks old before the netting will hold them. Chicks grow at different rates and come in different sizes, even if they are the same breed. For all I know you may have bantams in that mix. Some chicks may try harder to get out than others. I hesitate to give a certain age because of the variables.

I suggest when you take the heat away you set up a partition or cage made with the 2x4 wire and bait it with treats or feed. See if they get through or not. Be patient, give them a few days, but that should get your confidence levels up much better than what a stranger over the internet tells you. I'd want them old enough to not need heat in case they get through and can't get back.

Good luck!
Could depend on the it a 'fatty' breed or a 'slimline'?
I have a few 'slimline' birds that could get thru the 4x4 chick doors on my partition wall.

This reminds of 'testing' for just this thing....made up a ~2' diameter circle of 2x4 fencing and put the smallest chick in it...didn't let them out into the main coop and run until that chick could not fit thru the 'tester'. :D

Now both runs are lined with 1/2" HC...both for chick and deep litter containment.
This is how I brood and integrate chicks into the flock now.

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