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Late arrivals

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Our Roost, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Our Roost

    Our Roost Songster

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    Questions: I have 4 birds around 9 weeks old in a brooding box in the garage. We are worried about them. We have never raised birds this late in the season and under these conditions. We recieved them from the hatchery in September. Their behavior in this cold weather is troublesome. Weather permitting, we generally leave the garage door open to let in sunlight and fresh air. The heat lamp is on mostly at night and sometimes during the day if it is really cold out. More so now as the weather is really getting cold. The birds are pretty much fully feathered but not quite. They all appear darker in color than my other birds were at that age and are not as active. They huddle most of the day! They are of the blue orpington breed. With these dark and cloudy days, they are not getting much sunlight. Hence the darker colors? It is almost time to put them in the coop age wise but they dont seem ready and dont look big enough to handle that. Not positive but they appear to be smaller than my previous group at this age. Do you think the weather and lack of sunlight is playing on this issue? They are eating and drinking well. I may have taken a chance by getting them late in the season.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I raise them outside all year. With heat lamps and the coop door open all day so they can forage.

    Lack of exercise and ventilation could be an issue.
    They need to become acclimated to the cold or no matter how old they are, they'll suffer when they get put outside.

    This is the outside of the coop.


    This is the inside in February


    These are 5 week old Freedom Rangers


    and at 6 weeks - this was late November
    They aren't that fragile if allowed to acclimate to the cold and raised with a warm spot, lots of cool space and fresh air.

    This is a mixed flock of about 5 weeks of age the second week of November.

  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    After your birds are feathered out a 6 weeks, they could be outside without heat. If they have been under a heat lamp this long, it would be a good idea to provide a small area of heat in your coop for a while - you can gradually raise it, and once your birds only go under it occasionally you can remove it completely.
  4. 2lilchkns

    2lilchkns Songster

    Oct 7, 2013
    I have 10 chicks of various breeds that I brooded in a kiddie-pool in my basement. The breeds are: RIR, buff orp, EE, Speckled Sussex, Barred Rock and White Rock. I tried to keep the basement temperature rather cool (mid 60's), and used a brinsea eco-glo heater. At 3 weeks, I removed the brinsea, because they were no longer using it (except to sit on -- so I put in some perches instead). They began feathering up pretty quickly, so at five weeks (one week ago), I put them out in the unheated coop. The temperature has been around 50 degrees F during the day, and it has gotten below freezing a couple of times during the night. So far, they are doing great, and have been growing and eating up a storm since I put them outside (knock on wood). I am a first time chick owner, but from what I've read (and now, observed), they tolerate the cold really well once they have feathers. So, my goal was to gradually wean them off heat and acclimate them to cooler temps as soon as they seemed able to handle it.

    Like your chicks, when mine were in our basement, they did not get much sunlight or exercise. I took them outside, for about an hour each time, just twice before I moved them to their coop. But, they were active while in the brooder (some more than others), and became MORE active as they grew. Flying into each other, trying to get out of the brooder when I changed their bedding and food/water....so I knew they were doing well and were getting ready to take the next step. I wanted to get them out of my basement before it got REALLY cold, so they'd have time to get used to it.

    They are 6 weeks now. They fly out of the coop the minute I open the door to the run in the morning (even when it was just 30 degrees a few days ago), and put themselves to bed around dusk. They sleep in a row, close together, on their perches, but never "huddle" or pile up-- I went down to check on them a couple of times during the first really cold night. They looked pretty cozy to me, so I went back to bed.

    Have you tried taking your chicks outside during the day? Maybe they are not as active because they don't have as much room to fly around. Or maybe the particular breed you have is just more laid-back? I know some of my chicks are more active than others. I was kind of worried about one for the first few weeks (smaller and sleepier than the others), but she has since totally caught up (at least, activity wise -- she is still the smallest).

    Anyway, good luck!!

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