Information on age of chicks and when to allow them outdoors.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 7chickenmomma, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. 7chickenmomma

    7chickenmomma Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Mar 3, 2015
    I've had grown-up chickens off and on for 7 or 8 years now, but never raised chicks. I got five bantam chicks from Tractor Supply, but I wasn't told how old they were. I've had them for about two weeks, and they've developing crests, are scratching around well, and they have been happy with the heat lamp very high up, and hardly getting any heat from it at all. I was planning on putting them in the back yard in a small (probably 1x2 ft.) cage in the daytime and putting them back in their box inside under the lamp at night. The temperature outside is probably an average of 62°.
    How old they are? And how much can I let them outside?
    Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. JJSS89

    JJSS89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    744
    108
    113
    May 14, 2014
    E Washington
    4-5 weeks is generally when they start producing good heat and can withstand chillier temperatures but if it's in the 60s you can have them out in the sunshine much sooner.

    Can you post a picture?
     
  3. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    593
    161
    136
    Jun 13, 2014
    Georgia
    One thing to keep in mind if you're feeding medicated chick starter (or even if not) the medication is only a weak preventative while your chicks build their natural immunity to Coccidia. In order for them to build their immunity, they have to be exposed. You can either start taking them out for a limited time or bring them a clump of dirt from a random part of your yard for them to peck and scratch through. I would guess dirt from an established coop would be overload but because of wild birds, pretty much all dirt has some.

    At one week old, I started taking my chicks out for an hour once a week and increased outings over time. During this hour I provided water and sprinkled a little food on the ground for them to peck at. This was in June so temps were not an issue. I also started providing grit.
     
  4. 7chickenmomma

    7chickenmomma Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Mar 3, 2015
    @JJSS89 Yes, might take me a little while though... ;-)
     
  5. 7chickenmomma

    7chickenmomma Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Mar 3, 2015
    @Nupe Ok. Thanks!
    There are a LOT of wild birds that frequent my yard.
     
  6. 7chickenmomma

    7chickenmomma Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Mar 3, 2015
    @JJSS89
    They're all at about the same development rate and size. I forgot to mention earlier that these are all bantams.

    Here's a pic of where I think they're getting crests. First they lost some feathers there, then these grew in... I just thought these were crests, since they all have them.
    [​IMG]

    Kinda fuzzy, but I thought these could give you an idea of size.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. JJSS89

    JJSS89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    744
    108
    113
    May 14, 2014
    E Washington
    They look about the right age to spend an hour or more at a time in the outdoors.

    If there is any rain or cool wind though, they will cool off very quickly. Sunshine is their friend [​IMG]
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,560
    2,497
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    They're between two and three weeks old from the photos you posted. They can benefit tremendously from some time outdoors. OUTDOORS, not a tiny cage! They have wings now, and they need to use them. On a sunny day when it's not too breezy and it's around 60-70F, set up a play pen for them or just stay with them and keep watch.

    Carry them outdoors in a pet carrier or box that they can get back inside of if they start to feel chilled. That will be your signal they need to come back inside and get under the heat lamp. No worry about needing to catch them. They'll go into the carrier by themselves when they begin cooling down.

    I begin letting my chicks spend time in the run with the adult flock beginning at two-weeks. Gradually they are able to spend more time outside, and by age six weeks, they move into their coop. If you have adult chickens, the chicks can begin getting to know them by being enclosed in a safe play pen where they're protected. At four-weeks old, I open pop holes into the main run from the chick play pen so they can begin becoming part of the flock. As long as they have their safe area to zip back into and food and water in there so they don't need to compete with the adults, they manage quite well.
     
  9. 7chickenmomma

    7chickenmomma Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Mar 3, 2015
    Ok, thank you @azygous
    My adult chicken free-ranges in our 50x100 ft backyard, but at night or when I have to be away (we have a hawk. :-( ) I put them in a 6x4 ft portable coop with an attached hutch. I had another old hen but she passed away last week. I considered putting the chicks in the coop in the daytime, since at this point they're small enough to get through our fence into the neighbor's yard with their very aggressive dog. My dog is very good with them but our cat (who cuddles and plays with my adult hens,) has tried to attack them during my attempts to socialize them. I was holding her, so no harm done, but her arms are small enough to get quite far into the 3/4 inch square holes of the coop. We intend to put wire around the coop or cage her nearby during the chick's visit outside, but I was hoping for some way to socialize her with them before they're grown. She never showed any hostility toward my adult hens so I never had to do anything. The other cat is afraid of my dog, so rarely frequents the back yard, but she is bigger than the adults and still gets along with them. I'm not sure how she will respond, probably the same as the other one. :-(
    I welcome ANY ideas. This is kinda bothering me.
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,560
    2,497
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I just lost my cat who was nearly 21 years old, so I adore cats. But cats are about as close to still being the wild creatures they were thousands of years ago when humans first domesticated them. That means primarily that their wild instincts are just as strong as they ever were, and you cannot even entertain the idea that you can train them out of seeing a small chick, the exact size of prey, and not automatically kill it. The only reason your cat doesn't bother the grown chickens is because they are too large to be considered prey. My cat never made any aggressive moves toward my adult chickens, but there was no way I was ever going to trust him around the baby chicks unless I was holding them when he was near. Then he somehow knew they were mine and he respected that.

    I do hope you can let the chicks out to play. It's such a joy to watch them taste freedom! They run and fly and just show so much joy at being alive, you can't help but feel it, too!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by