It's been 4 years since I raised chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RAllen16, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. RAllen16

    RAllen16 Just Hatched

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    Louisiana, USA
    The last time i raised chicks was when i was gifted meat chicks. This year i have decided to start raising chicks again. But this time im going for egg layers. So i have a few questions and am opened to any advice yall can give!

    1.) When do the chicks go outside? I have heard anywhere from 3-4 weeks to 13 weeks. The last time we had them since Jan. So they had 3-4 months and were fully feathered.
    2.) Should i put them out for a few hours, then a day, then a night, ect or put them out for good? Like i said before they were fully feathered so they went out for good!
    3.) I have a rabbit hutch that my girls are in for now. Once they get their bigger coop in a few weeks i am wanting to clean that out for the chicks. Is that a good place for them? It has a small lower ground part and inside. Can the chicks go up and down the ladder? And can they be in there until its time to join my big girls?
    4.) I have bamtams now and want to get more bantams and a few normal size girls. So is there anything different between bantam chicks and big chicks? Should they be able to go outside together, eat together, ect?
    5.) This one is more of a suggestion. What is best to put the chicks in while they are inside? We did a wire cage with newspaper and to this day theres a rectangle where the cage was.
    And lastly 6.) If im wanting 4 new birds by the end of this how many chicks would yall suggest i get? I know i got lucky the first time not loosing any and they are sensitive the first few weeks.

    I know this is a lot! Any advice or answered yall can give me would be grestly appreciated! I just want to do this right and have happy healthy chicks!
     
  2. Lady Watcher

    Lady Watcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2016
    All I know for sure is that my big ladies beat up my bantam rooster.
     
  3. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kansas City, MO
    If I understand your post correctly you have adult chickens that will be moving into a coop in a few weeks and you're wanting to add 4 additional chickens-a mixture of bantams and regular sized-that you're planning on getting but do not yet have?

    I just raised my 2nd group of chicks in two years and am currently integrating the now 12 week olds into my coop with my 10 month olds. If I were to do it all over again I would brood the chicks in the coop with the adults. This assumes you can do two things-provide a heat source in your coop (safely!) and build a separate enclosure for the chicks that allows the hens to see them but not have physical contact with them. There is a lot of information on this forum about how to brood in the coop. The main advantage is that your integration can happen earlier and possibly with less drama than if you wait until they're older. You can search relevant threads- @Blooie and @azygous have written a lot on this particular subject. Don't let weather be a determining factor, people do this in much, much colder climates than Louisiana.

    If you only want 4 chicks, I would only buy 4 chicks. Make sure your coop is big enough to accommodate everyone.

    As far as having bantams and full size hens in the same flock I don't see why not. I haven't done it but I can tell you that size isn't a predictor of placement in the pecking order. My biggest hen was at the bottom and my smallest at the top. My hunch is that it will be much easier to integrate new bantams with existing full sized birds if you brood in the coop. I could be wrong, but that is my guess.

    I'm sure there will be a lot of opinions about the best way to do things and that's ok as there isn't a single right answer that works for everyone and in every situation. Good luck!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1.) When do the chicks go outside? I have heard anywhere from 3-4 weeks to 13 weeks. The last time we had them since Jan. So they had 3-4 months and were fully feathered.

    In Louisiana they can probably go outside at five weeks most of the year. I don’t know exactly where you are, I lived and worked in South Louisiana for over 30 years, I know you can get some freezing weather, but even in Arkansas I’ve had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through nights below freezing with no issues. I brood mine outside in the coop. One summer in a heat wave a few years back I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days, the nighttime heat off at 5 days. I’ve had a broody hen wean her 3 week old chicks and totally leave them alone. That was normal summer weather not a heat wave.

    2.) Should i put them out for a few hours, then a day, then a night, ect or put them out for good? Like i said before they were fully feathered so they went out for good!

    It’s a good idea to acclimate them, put then out for a while so they get used to cooler weather. I think you meant to say 3 to 4 weeks, not months. So leave them out in cooler weather for a while and watch them, see how they act. If they are cold, they will let you know. I expect them to do fine.

    3.) I have a rabbit hutch that my girls are in for now. Once they get their bigger coop in a few weeks i am wanting to clean that out for the chicks. Is that a good place for them? It has a small lower ground part and inside. Can the chicks go up and down the ladder? And can they be in there until its time to join my big girls?

    I don’t know how big that rabbit hutch is or how many chicks you have. At two weeks I’ve seen chicks fly 2 feet up and 3 feet out. At 3 to 4 weeks they can easily use that ladder if they want to. If they want to, they can fly up. When they come down, they will probably fly down. But I find that with an elevated coop, they usually don’t want to. You’ll probably have to physically put them in the top section until they get the message to go on their own. I’ve had some catch on after a couple of days, I’ve had some take 3 weeks to get that message.

    4.) I have bamtams now and want to get more bantams and a few normal size girls. So is there anything different between bantam chicks and big chicks? Should they be able to go outside together, eat together, ect?

    No real difference. Usually they get along great, especially if they grow up together. But they are living animals, no one can give you any guarantees on how they will behave. While most of the tome it’s not a problem, you can possibly have problems even if they are the same size and the same breed. You just can’t tell with living animals.

    5.) This one is more of a suggestion. What is best to put the chicks in while they are inside? We did a wire cage with newspaper and to this day theres a rectangle where the cage was.

    I brood outside in the coop so I don’t have that issue. I’d suggest putting a piece of plywood down to protect the floor.

    And lastly 6.) If im wanting 4 new birds by the end of this how many chicks would yall suggest i get? I know i got lucky the first time not loosing any and they are sensitive the first few weeks.

    You didn’t get that lucky, I’ve had chicks shipped in the mail three different times, a total of 70 chicks. Every one arrived alive but one did die a few days later. I hatch chicks all the time. When you deal with living animals you will sometimes have to deal with dead animals, that’s just the way it is, but it is pretty unusual for me to lose any. If you want four, get four. If you want to play it real safe, get an extra one, but realize the odds are pretty good you will wind up with five.
     

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