Need advice...going outside for the first time?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by twinzmom, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. honeynajar

    honeynajar Songster

    May 19, 2011
    So you left them run FREE??????? OMGoodness they don't run away???????[​IMG]

    Can you tell this is my first flock? [​IMG]
  2. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

    Mar 9, 2012
    North Carolina
    We let two or three out at a time in the beginning, but they always stayed real close. So, my daughter got adventurous and let the six older chicks out at the same time. They still stuck together and stayed very close. In the mean time our two little ones (just 2 weeks old) chirped and chirped in the box, so she let them out too. They ran right over to the big ones and have followed them everywhere. Now we always let them all out together, supervised, and they run around and have fun for a few hours a day without a fence or pen or anything. AND ours definitely NAP afterwards!!
  3. slink1211

    slink1211 Songster

    Feb 15, 2012
    Shelbyville, Indiana

    Some fly to the top of it. But most just fly inside. If one gets over we just call it back!

  4. wattsjadajoe

    wattsjadajoe Chirping

    Aug 15, 2011
    Avondale, Colorado
    My Coop
    Mine are flying over a 28" high brooder in the bathroom!!! My outside pullet coop is completely enclosed....But with all the wind we are having, I'm keeping them inside.

  5. albert w

    albert w Chirping

    Feb 6, 2012
    Be careful letting them run around. We put ours under up-turned plastic milk crates and we've had blue jays try to get at them with us sitting just 15-20 feet away! A cage of some sort is always a good idea until they're grown. Good luck and have fun!
  6. Roark

    Roark In the Brooder

    We have an adage around our place that my wife could tame a rabid badger, so the chickens didn't seem much of a challenge for her. She started by taking each one out and stroking their chest just when they started getting their first real feathers in. She seemed to think that they liked it 'cuz this was a spot that wasn't easy for they to preen, and the thinking was that the new growth would somehow itch or something. Maybe she's part chicken, I dunno, but she went from holding them and doing that to just reaching into their pen/brooder - where they would allow her to do the same. It's only been a little over three weeks and now when she reaches in most of them will stop and stretch their necks as if they are waiting for their neck rub. It's crazy to watch, but predictable for Mrs. Doolittle.

    Also when we first started taking them outside, we had a short roll of rabbit fence that we would just uncoil into a rough oval shape between two of the garden's raised beds. We would take turns sitting in the middle with our new ducks on one end, the chicks on the other, and their food and water right in front of us. After a short while the chicks get more interested in the food and water than us. We had also put a feed pan full of water at the duck's end, so once they jumped in they were happy sitting there and jumping back out to sun themselves for most of the day, other than the occasional terror raid to run the chickens off of the food. Even when not picking them up, we all take turns putting our hands in their brooder/ pen and just letting them get used to having hands in their space. We also take turns presenting feed right out of our hands, which they now don't hesitate in the least to hop over and start pecking at. This is our first experience keeping poultry since my wife was a little girl, but it seems to be working so far.

    BTW, their brooder/pen is a garden wagon with steel mesh sides and a plastic tray liner that I put extra wire in the corners of to round them out. Eventually we added a wrap of the rabbit fence to extend the height, but the wagon was usually sitting next to a desk where we keep an extra computer, out on our four season sun porch. I'm sitting there now and the chicks are about three feet away and standing just a little bit lower than I'm sitting, and they seem to find my typing skills simpatico with their own pecking. The wagon was easy to start wheeling out the door to get them a little sun time, and our Aussies started sleeping right in front of them without any real bother or nervousness. Our bigger one is still trying to herd our cats, so she gets a little excited/annoyed sometimes when the kitten gets too curious. Can't wait to see everybody loose at once.

    Two of our chickens like to hop up on top of anything that'll get them higher than the rest of the birds, but for the most part, where ever one goes, they all go. I would try the loose roll fencing pen idea just to make sure they don't make a break for it. A 15'-25' roll is pretty cheap stuff, and there's always somethin' that needs protectin' later. Just watch out 'cuz ours were fluttering up and out by about three weeks (aged from when we bought them from Tractor Supply - where we never bothered to ask how old they were). The rabbit fence we used stood about 30" high, was pretty decent weight with its plastic coating, and completely self supporting when used like this.

    They all do crash big time after spending the afternoon out of doors. The poor little chickens just flop down and stretch out so tired I had to keep checking to make sure they were still alive and breathing. Seemed to take a good bit of steam out of our pet pigs, er... I mean Mallard duckings, as well. :)

    Good luck.
  7. honeynajar

    honeynajar Songster

    May 19, 2011
    OK.... with all of your kind words, I was brave but not as brave as you. I carted the girls out to the small pen to give them a taste for the outdoors. They were SOOOOO funny. They seemed very curious but when my granddaughter went in the pen they followed her around like a lil mother hen. She played follow the leader with them until we took them back inside an hour later. They were totally exhausted but seemed very content to be back in their heated pen. It was awesome! Gonna do it again tonight but I think they are going to be sad... its calling for rain tomorrow here.
  8. rjrsm

    rjrsm Hatching

    Mar 23, 2012
    Our chicks can't wait to get outside. We've been curious but reluctant to let them out of their brooder. They're four weeks old. Northern California has been quite cool. But the next sunny (over 70 degree) day, we'll take them outdoors for awhile, thanks to the repliers for this thread.
  9. laul28

    laul28 Chirping

    Jan 28, 2012
    I also live in the great NW. Wishing I could let my 4 week olds out. Sounds like so much fun for them. I might have gotten away with it yesterday afternoon or at least tried it, Had I read all these post before. They really need their cage cleaned. Not as warm today.
  10. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    I made a mistake when my chicks first got loose. They were trying to get out of the coop to play in the yard, and we have cats who could have killed them.

    So I scooped them up and put them in a cardboard box, which they couldn't get out of. They had been falling out the chicken wire holes, they were so small.

    But Mama Hen saw me do this, and she thought I was stealing her babies! Oh, it made her mad. She wouldn't "speak" to me for a month afterwards and would peck me when I got too near her brood.

    But at least I did save them from the cats, and I put cardboard along the areas they had been escaping from and took them outside in cages.

    They are now 25 weeks and 4 days old and all grown up and happy. They love to chase the cats and "dust" them after taking their dustbaths.

    But I'd never scoop up chicks and plop them in a cardboard box again. Their Mama thought I was a terrible monster when I did that. I was just trying to protect them, but she didn't know that, and she felt it should have been only her job, not mine, I guess! Chickens are so interesting.

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