How soon can these little guys go outside for some play time?

imthedude

Songster
9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
319
2
121
CO
Hi everyone. First post here. Looks like a great bunch of folks.

We picked up our first chickens last night - 4 Buff Orps and 4 Barred Rocks. They're about 8 days old now and seem to be doing really well. Right now I have them in the house in a rabbit cage borrowed from a friend until they are big enough to move to the outside coop. My question is how quickly can I begin to get them outside for short periods on nicer days? We have some 50+ degree days coming this week, and I'm wondering if a few minutes scratching around outside would be OK for them as long as they're in direct sunlight. I know sun always does me good, but I'm a 160 pound human, not an 8 day old chicken that weighs about 3 ounces.

Thoughts?
 

thepremo1

Songster
9 Years
Feb 17, 2010
114
1
109
mid michigan
i would wait till their at least 2 to3 weeks old, but thats just me
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gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
422
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
I, too, would wait until the chicks are 3 wks old (or thereabouts).

But you will absolutely enjoy their early outings!!! Watching them do big chicken things as little bitty fluffies with their tiny wing feathers is a hoot.

And, mine got so they didn't mind being gathered into a box from the brooder to go outside - they seemed to know it was That Fun Time process. But it was a real bear to catch 'em to bring 'em back inside......

Just know that at 3 weeks, they're supposed to be brooding at no less than 80 degrees, so 50 degree outdoor temps would have to be short visits. That's a pretty big drop in temp.
 

wegotchickens

DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies
12 Years
Jul 5, 2007
12,146
51
311
Sevier County, TN
Mine are 2 weeks old, and I took them outside for 30-min of play time Sunday afternoon. It was in a warm spot that's protected from wind and in full sun. They loved it and flied their little hearts out!

No matter when you take them out watch for signs of stress. If they huddle and don't move then they aren't having fun and should go back inside. Try it again in a few days. Also. don't leave them out too long the first few play days. Build up outdoor time slowly. And make sure they are in a safe place, I've had a hawk swoop down and hover over my chick 'play-pen' before.
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
56
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
You're going to find a LOT of varying opinions on this one.

I got 6 chicks at TSC last Thursday and put them straight into a doghouse tractor. They barely even had a wing feather yet. I haven't had the door to the run open on the bad weather days just yet, but they are out a lot earlier than most of the posters on this thread would have them out.
Every chick I have brooded inside I try to move completely outside by their 2nd week, if you wait till the 3rd week the dust will practically kill you!!

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The tractor: 3-sided end enclosure opened to the "run" Sometimes I have the doghosue portion attached as I mentioned but in the photo it is separated.
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Alabama ee

Songster
9 Years
Feb 18, 2010
881
11
164
Ours are 3 weeks today..and boy is it hard to keep the stinky smell down
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. I have confined the dust to where they are located.. the bathroom. However, the smell is getting to me. I started out with 18..but sold 5. So now I have 13 of them in a large box in the shower. It is about 4 feet by 3 feet. I put newspaper on the bottem, and then 2 inches of shavings on top of that. I have been cleaning the newpaper and shavings out and replacing every 4 days. That was ok for the first 1-2 weeks, but now it seems to need cleaning a whole lot more. Thats a lot of shavings! Today, I have changed the temp to 80. By next week, they will be 4 weeks old, would that be a good time to put them out? They have most of their feathers now. Their neck feathers are just coming in. I am not sure I could go to week 5 or 6
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Hillsvale

Songster
10 Years
Oct 20, 2009
922
5
131
Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
I have almost 5 week old columbia plymouths which are almost feathered out, they are tucked in with 2 foyoumi and 3 silkies at 3 weeks old... but it still drops to freezing here... I think I may run an extension cord to the coop and put a brooder light out there for the columbians and just keep them there... (not let them outdoors) We are still in the process of fencing the run etc and the ground is frozen for the electrics to be run but it seems a good option at this point!! They are definately getting woofy!
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