Moving chicks from brooder to coop! A quick question.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by marenwise, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. marenwise

    marenwise Just Hatched

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    Hello. I'm raising my first chickens and so far it's been great! I have a Blue Andalusian, a Buckeye and an Easter Egger.

    They are 5 weeks old and are feathered. I'm moving them from my indoor brooder to their coop, which is currently in our garage. I've been using a Brinsea electric hen rather than a red heat lamp. It's been working so well and I'm going to use the electric hen in the coop during the transition.

    I read about shutting the chicks in the coop for a few days to a week to encourage "coop training", which I'm going to do. Our coop is very dark since I'm keeping the windows and doors shut to help insulate during these cold winter temps.

    Do I need to add supplemental light to the coop to simulate daylight hours? My chicks have been living with the overhead lights on during the day while in their brooder.

    Thanks! I really appreciate your responses!!!

    -Maren
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! Your birds need daylight, not darkness, for ten hours anyway. Also they need ventilation more than being 'shut up' in a dark space. Pictures of your coop will help, and why in the garage? Outside is best, and it just can't be very chilly where you live! Mary
     
  3. marenwise

    marenwise Just Hatched

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    Dec 12, 2016
    Paradise, CA
    Thanks Mary!

    Our coop is called the Bungalow... here's a link:
    http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog...alow-Chicken-Coop-up-to-6-chickens-p1185.aspx

    I'll keep the windows open for ventilation during the day.

    It's in the garage because we've had an extremely wet fall and haven't been able to build the outdoor run enclosure. It doesn't get to cold here. It's normally in the mid 30's at night but we have occasional nights in the 20's. We do get a little snow a couple times.

    I was thinking about getting a couple tap lights to attach inside the coop for the daytime. They're battery operated and would easily stick to the sides. Do you have any other suggestions?

    -Maren

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  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    I agree with Mary. Your chicks need to be outdoors, even if for a brief period each day. They are developing light/dark patterns that will affect future egg laying, so keeping them cooped up in an artificial environment is doing them no favors.

    If you were to move your coop out of the garage to the outdoors, would natural sunlight be able to penetrate inside the coop? If not, you need to erect a temporary run enclosure while you construct the permanent run.

    Until you can get the coop moved and a temp run thrown up, try taking your chicks outdoors for a couple hours each day during the nicest part of the day. At five weeks, they need space to run and flap their wings and even try out low level flight. Many new chicken keepers don't even realize their little chicks can fly. It's an experience they are really missing out on, sort of like missing your human toddler's first steps.

    The next question new chicken keepers ask is "how do I get my chicks back when I need to take them inside?" You teach them to come running when you call them. It's easy. Start with live meal worms, use a verbal cue each time you distribute the worms, and you've taught them to assemble like good little soldiers when you give the command.

    You're in California, for heaven's sake. Chicks can handle that climate, mid-30s at night included, standing one their little heads.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I personally don’t like that coop, it was not designed with chickens in mind. Very few premade coops are. People use them successfully and with three chickens in your climate you should be OK, especially once you get the run built. I can certainly understand life and weather getting in the way of finishing it, but at 5 weeks you are not in a desperate hurry. They will be OK in just the coop section for a while.

    Having three nests isn’t a problem, it’s just a waste. One nest would be sufficient for you, though I believe in flexibility so two isn’t bad. To me, three nests on a coop that size just shows they don’t know what they are doing. The roosts are lower than the nests. That greatly increases the possibility they will sleep in the nests instead of on the roosts. It’s something you will have to wait and see on. This type of thing does not come with guarantees but a lot of people have problems with that. But some don’t. I wish you luck.

    Ventilation is not that good. If you open both those slides it isn’t horrible but I’m a firm believer in the more ventilation you have the better, as long as it does not create a breeze blowing on them in the winter. I checked your weather forecast in Paradise and see that you are forecast for lows slightly below freezing in the next few days. That’s not bad since they are feathered.

    I don’t know how dark or cold it actually gets in your garage. As long as you can safely run electricity to that electric hen, you don’t need to be in the garage though it looks like you might have some rain coming so be careful with electricity in wet conditions. There are always complicating issues. Even outside in those temperatures with them 5 weeks old they probably don’t need the electric hen but it won’t hurt. For your peace of mind if nothing else you probably should use it. There is value in you not worrying.

    If that garage has windows and reasonable daylight, I would not add any lights to the coop. Open those sliding vents and leave them open day and night. Ventilation will help day and night, not just during the day. Your roosts are well below those vents so any breeze will go over their heads. They probably won’t be sleeping on the roosts any way for the next several weeks, they will probably sleep on the floor. In your garage there should not be any breezes, outside any should go over their heads.

    If the garage is kind of dark during the day, I’d probably put a light on a timer to mimic daylight, probably outside the coop so it shines in through a vent. If you move it outside, just leave those vents open and depend on natural light.

    I’ve had chicks go through nights with lows in the mid 20’s, close to what is forecast for you, when the chicks were 5-1/2 weeks old. The unheated grow-out coop they were in had good wind protection on the floor where they were and a lot of good ventilation up high. My chicks had been raised outside in a large brooder in the coop with only one end heated. The other end cooled of a lot, sometimes there was even ice in it. The chicks spent some time in the colder section, some in the warm, so they were acclimated, I think that helps. To me the simplest way to acclimate them is to move the coop outside with the electric hen. They will play in the coop and go warm up when and if they need to. You can move them in and out, that works too, but to me it’s more time consuming and requires hands on. I like passive systems that work whether I do or not.

    Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi Maren, Your coop is cute, BUT underlit and poorly ventilated. Typical of prebuilt structures, and I hope it's sturdier than most. More upper hardware cloth covered windows! Solid walls, and serious locks on all doors to keep raccoons out. Perimeter security from digging varmits too. Everyone loves chicken! Mary
     
  7. jaybud

    jaybud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recommend if feasible , buying a ready built shed kit from a hardware store. Lots of options and room to build what they need.
     
  8. mclanea

    mclanea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To your question, I wouldn't worry so much about coop training them as I would getting them outside several hours a day. They are chickens... they'll know what to do!
     
  9. marenwise

    marenwise Just Hatched

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    Dec 12, 2016
    Paradise, CA
    Thanks everyone!

    I've already got my husband on the job of building a higher roost for when the chicks are bigger.

    My husband and I have planned to build our own coop in about a year all along. We're both new to chickens and didn't quite understand what coops looked like so we went with a kit to get an idea for when we build our own.

    In terms of ventilation, the coop has a sliding door on one side and a swinging door on the opposite. Do you think opening both doors during the day will create enough ventilation? That was my original plan... but I could put hinges on one of the roof panels so I could prop the roof open to create more ventilation.

    We're getting the run enclosure made this weekend so the chicks will be able to move out of the garage early next week. Thank you so much for all your information. I'll honestly say I was very worried about the cold temps and was hesitant for the move (even though I live in mild California). I just love my ladies and want them to be comfy!!!
     
  10. mclanea

    mclanea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're doing great. I'm new to chickens as well and I think my biggest mistake was overthinking things. It's all really simple when you get going. I think in Paradise you might have the occasional cold night that's sub-freezing, but normally lows in the 30s-40s, right? If that's the case I think they'll be fine just huddling together on the roost.

    I would think that your biggest challenge is going to be predators. Once the possums, skunks, snakes, coyote figure out you've got chickens you'll want to make sure you've got hardware cloth to keep the run secure.
     

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