need advice -- moving 2wk olds from small box to *very large* pen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by patandchickens, May 15, 2008.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    So, I have these 20 chicks of several breeds that are currently in my basement, in a 2'x4' cardboard box with a heat lamp over it. I had no idea how fast chicks grow and they are rapidly becoming too large/crowded, not to mention to rammy with each other (more than one of them has a relatively huge and quite red comb already! eep), or I would have made the box bigger...

    ...but as it is, they NEED to get kicked out into larger quarters. Like, tomorrow morning, as soon as I finish building their new pen.

    They'll be going inside a fully insulated building (in fact, it's even drywalled [​IMG]), into a 6x20' pen containing a 2x4' plywood box-type hover with two lights inside it for warmth. The building as a whole stays at about 45-50 degrees F these days.

    My concern is that this will be a gigantic change for them - from an 8 square foot world, to a 120 square foot world, only one tiny portion of which will be really warm. And these are chicks to whom the twice-daily arrival of the Food Refill Bucket is pretty much the end of the world [​IMG] I don't want them totally freaking out, I don't want them smothering each other in a corner, and I don't want them wandering off from the heat source and forgetting to go back til it's too late.

    1) should I put cardboard to round off the corners of the pen for a few wks til they're used to it?

    2) should I devise some sort of divider to keep them in just part of the pen at first? The main problem is that I can't see how to affordably do a floor-to-ceiling divider, and I worry that one of them might fly over and not be able to get back. What do you think?

    3) please reassure me they will go to the plywood hover with the lights if they get cold?

    4) what if anything else would you suggest to ease their transition?

    Thanks very much for ALL ideas and suggestions,

  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I'd make a smaller enclosure with cardboard or something for at least a few days or a week until they get used to where the lights are. Then open it up to give them more space.
  3. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    Pat, I put my chicks into their coop at 3 weeks old. It's been in the forties and fifties (F) at night. The coop is insulated on 2 outside walls and the ceiling. I put their brooder (XL dog cage) into the coop with the door tied open. Leaving the heat lamp over the brooder day and night. The inside temp of the coop is 60-65 (F) and they seem to be getting along great. I open one window a little during the day. They still sleep inside the brooder and run in there when they get scared.

    Susan [​IMG]
  4. Peeps

    Peeps In the Brooder

    May 12, 2008
    Oh, just put them in the new pen, they will be fine. Put them under the lamp so they know where it's at. Believe me, they will find it if they get cold. They will all pretty much hang out together by the light for a few hours then start exploring. They'll love it!
  5. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    Yep, mine are in chickie heaven! [​IMG]
  6. HenHaven

    HenHaven Songster

    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    I did something similar when my chicks were abut 3 1/2 weeks old. I think as long as there is an obvious entry hole into the hover, they will be fine. If the food and water are nearby at the outer entry to the hover, I don't think you'll have a thing to worry about. I stuffed mine through the hole a couple of times to demonstrate the new system, LOL. They would go in and out just like I had hoped. Our night time temps were in the high 30s-low 40's, with only plastic sheeting over chicken wire.

    Forgot to add: My reasoning was that a Mother hen will take her babies out at a few days old, run them around all over the place, and then warm them up. This was my setup:

    Last edited: May 15, 2008
  7. catfish

    catfish Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greenbrier, Arkansas
    Put them in the pen with two heat lights in case one burns out. They already know heat comes from the light. They'll be fine. Mines been in uninsulated 40x96" house since 2 weeks. We just close it up at night.

    They're now 5.5 weeks. they'll be fine. They're tougher than you think they are.

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