Moving my Baby Girls to the coop early?

Buckeye2002

Chirping
Nov 15, 2018
90
126
86
Omaha, Nebraska
I recently posted a thread about whether I’m on track with my girls. I am brand spanking new to this and I was supposed to get only 15 RIR, but I ended up with 23. The common theme from the responses was that my girls are going to outgrow their brooder faster than I expected. Some I believe mentione they may outgrow by 3 weeks.

I sure could use some clear guidance here. Some suggest trying to expand the brooder and some suggest putting them on their coop early. My concern is the cold weather coming. Now I have built a very dry and draft less coop which is about 3” x 14”. I can move the lamps out there if needed. I just have some finishing touches to make with the additional chicks I didn’t anticipate.

I don’t want to lose any and I want to do what right for them. I just had anticipated keeping them inside, reducing the temp each week until they were 8 weeks old and fully feathered.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
IMG-0593.JPG
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,528
79,415
1,462
Wisconsin
You will more than likely need to move the heat lamp with them to the coop for a few weeks to slowly wean them off anyways. I personally move mine anywhere between 4-8 weeks. You should be able to tell when the time is right because they will become more active, and look like they need more room.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,817
30,370
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
By 3 weeks mine were sitting on top of their brooder (about 20" tall) so yes they can easily clear that fence or simply slip through the openings.

If the coop really is draft free putting them out early would be my personal preference, simply because it'd be easier on me, but you *can* keep them in the garage for 8 weeks if that's what you really want. I don't want to brood inside ever again but I know temperatures are a concern right now and especially as a first timer, it'd probably easier to check on them and interact with them in the garage.

You'll need to expand that brooding area quite a bit (for 25 birds I'd say aim for 50 sq ft) and it will need to be securely covered, or you'll find chickens freely wandering inside the garage. Young birds are quite energetic so the more brooder space they can get, the better.

(Also I assume the coop is 3' x 14', not inches.) Are you planning to sell some of the excess birds since you said you got more than planned? That's an awfully tight amount of coop space for 23 birds.
 

Ms Biddy

One chicken short of crazy
Dec 4, 2017
786
2,370
332
My Coop
My Coop
How about a second or third brooder? It would allow you to keep them inside longer.

I raised 15 chicks in a 6 foot long metal stock tank and got them off heat, in an unheated room, by 3 weeks. Now they're 5 wks old and much too large for that space. I've been transitioning them outside but they still come back into the tank at night, especially since it's started raining and is in the 30s at night. They should be fully transitioned soon though.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,783
34,324
1,122
Colorado Rockies
You can move your chicks out to the coop right away. But first run a few tests to see how warm or cold it is. From my own personal experience, chicks do splendidly at 30F at night and 50F or thereabouts during the day.

You want to know what the temperature is at night and during the day in the unheated coop. Then after you record those temps, hang the heat lamps and test the temp directly beneath the heat lamps at night and during the day.

I needed to go back and find your other thread to find out how old the chicks are. It helps to either keep one thread going as you have more questions or provide a link back to the original one since there's information there we need. Here is the link in case anyone else needs it. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/am-i-on-track.1281799/

For chicks a little over two weeks, the temperature right under the lamp should be around 85F. Measure it a bit farther out to determine how quickly the temp decreases. It needs to accommodate all of the chicks between two heat sources so no chick gets shoved outside the circle of warmth and to prevent piling which can kill chicks from being smothered. With the large number of chicks, this is a real concern.

Having their heat needs met is really the primary issue. Chicks will naturally benefit from all the new space to run and frolic, and the cool temps will naturally acclimatize them to the cold. They will be weaning themselves off heat by shunning the space under the lamp as they feather out. By age three weeks, chicks no longer need heat during the day when the ambient temp is 70F. They will usually wean themselves off heat at night when they are completely feathered. They will feather out quicker from being exposed to the cool temps, so they should be able to do without heat by age six weeks.
 

Shamo Hybrid

Songster
Jun 6, 2018
1,979
2,248
226
I think it's fine leaving all of them in there as it is only temporary until they are old enough to go to the coop. That wire cage looks to be tall enough to keep them enclosed, though I worry if once they get big enough to hop on the edge they might escape through the opening, or maybe by then they'll be too big to fit through anyhow. Just keep an eye on them and use judgment.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,162
38,162
1,096
southern Michigan
I agree with azygous on this. Have them in your coop with their SAFELY ATTACHED heat lamp soonest. Test it out there; my chicks go out at about three weeks of age, with their heat source in a corner of their space, so there's a warm area, and a temperature gradient to ambient temps at the other side. Food and water available, and make certain that your waterers are large enough too!
Also, pictures of your coop and run will be a big help here. They need ventilation, more as they get larger, so their area doesn't get damp.
Mary
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,509
130,072
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I needed to go back and find your other thread to find out how old the chicks are. It helps to either keep one thread going as you have more questions or provide a link back to the original one since there's information there we need. Here is the link in case anyone else needs it. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/am-i-on-track.1281799/
....and now there's a third thread:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...what-are-my-options-realistic-please.1282037/
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,783
34,324
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Have you checked the temperature under the heat lamp since you draped the tarp over the brooder? I would be a bit concerned it will increase the heat in the brooder beyond what you intend for it to be. Better would be cheese cloth or something that will allow excess heat to dissipate rather than be focused downward in the brooder, creating an oven effect.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom