Moving chicks to the coop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Josh675, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Josh675

    Josh675 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2012
    Georgetown, SC
    I'm new to raising chickens. How old do the chicks have to be before I can put them in the outside coop. Thanks for your help.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Depends. Somewhere around 6-8 weeks they are considered fully feathered and able to deal with any weather. If they have had no added heat indoors, have had outings outdoors and have plenty of bedding to snuggle into, they will probably be ready at 3 or 4 weeks, IMO. Some people put them out at a week or so with a little added heat. A broody hen can raise chicks with only her own body heat even in cold weather; the chicks will run under her for warmth for a few minutes, then run out and forage, even at 3 or 4 days in cold weather (well, I've seen this at 40 degrees.) Around 4-5 weeks a mama hen abandons her chicks and they sleep snuggled together in a protected corner of the coop. Mine have usually used a nest box til they decided it was time to sleep on the roost.

    But then I don't raise chicks in the house, whether I brood them or a hen does.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  3. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    If you can provide heat in the coop they can go out almost any time if they are not in a draft and dry. It is easier if you can partition off part of the coop at first and expand it as they grow. I have raised chicks like that and it worked well.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm assuming you are talking about heat and not integrating with other chickens.

    I pretty much agree with Flockwatcher, except I don't wait that long and some people still think I pamper mine. I've seen broody hens take their chicks to the roost as early as 2 weeks of age, and they cannot all get under her on the roost to keep warm. That's in the heat of summer, when the nights don't get all that cool. In colder weather, I've seen broodies take as long as 4 weeks to take them to the roosts. Weather has a lot ot do with it.

    I have electricity in my coop, so I brood them there from Day 1. I don't brood in the house with all that dust, noise, and smell. I like to stay married to my present wife. To brood chicks, all you need is some heat and protection from the elements. The elements I'd worry about are wet and wind.

    I have a brooder large enough that I can heat one area and let the rest cool off to ambient. Sometimes that ambient is down on the 40's of 50's Fahrenheit. The chicks play all over that brooder and go back to the the heat to warm up when they want to. To me, this accomplishes two things. I don't have to worry about keeping the entire brooder a perfect temperature. Let them decide where they are comfortable. Some people would be surprised how much time they spend in the cooler areas, even when they are less than a week old. I do have a good draft guard around it so they are protected from breezes.

    The other advantage is that they acclimate to cooler temperatures. Their bodies get used to cooler temperatures so they don't need the heat as much. I think this helps me get them off the additional heat sooner.

    In the heat of summer, I've turned the daytime heat off as early as two weeks, and I've turned the overnight heat off as early as 3 weeks. I could have done both sooner, but I was overcautious. Last fall, I kept the heat on until 5 weeks, then moved them to a grow-out coop that has no electricity or supplemental heat. It does have good draft proptection. When they were 5-1/2 weeks old, the overnight low was in the mid-20's. They were fine. They were sleeping in a group as they always do. There was no distress peeping.

    When can yours go outside? That depends on your situation. If your coop has good draft protection and the overnight temperatures are not really cold, maybe 4-1/2 to 5 weeks without heat. This time of year in South Carolina and with no supplemental heat, I'd probably wait until 5 to 5-1/2 weeks if you cannot acclimate them first. You can still get some pretty cool nights. If you have electricity and can provide heat, you can start from Day 1.
  5. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    5 to 6 weeks is what we do. Don't over think it... they'll do just fine when you put them out.
  6. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    I couldn't have said it better! Great reply Ridgerunner!

  7. Josh675

    Josh675 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2012
    Georgetown, SC
    Thanks for all the help and advice.
  8. cbabcock5

    cbabcock5 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    So glad I found this question. I was about to ask the same thing. [​IMG]
  9. foothillsfiber

    foothillsfiber Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 23, 2011
    Thanks for the info. I am about to move my 21, 6 week old chicks out in a 4 x 5' coop without heat. We are in the 50's in day and 30's in night. I think that the will be fine. Dont you
  10. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i have been raising mine in the garage w/heat. they're just over two weeks old. i know i could move them to the coop, it's set up well enough for them, but i get up 3-4 times a night to lay eyes on them making sure they're ok. it's alot closer to the garage than it is to the coop. lol. this is really good information though.

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