New to Chickens - Question about Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jmurf, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. jmurf

    jmurf Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2017
    SE Louisiana
    We should receive our 4 chicks from Mcmurray next week. I ordered 4 week old EEs and Barred Rocks. My plan is to keep them in the garage in a run extension for a few weeks. We are still having some cool nights, and I think it will be best to keep them in there temporarily. My question is, if we take them to the yard in the evening, will they run or fly away from us? Maybe a dumb question, but we've never owned chickens, and want to ensure we do it right. TIA.
  2. PirocaKeeper

    PirocaKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2014
    Western Massachussetts
    First, make sure wherever you are placing them is warm enough. At 4 weeks they may not be fully feathered and they get cold very quickly, you may need a heating lamp, just for a little bit. I would not let them out and about until they have gotten used to being handled. They are not going to like being outside the first time or first couple of times. What you can do is buy some wiring and make a large enough circle in the yard and just let them be there, under your supervision. little chicks have many many predators, so do not leave them along. there are flying predators and ground predators. So for the first few times keep them out but somewhat confined. I don't think they will run away from you, especially if you have food with you to give them. Good Luck and I hope it helped.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Good advice above. Keeping the chicks confined to the brooder for a few days will ensure that they associate it with "home" so even if they do decide to go AWOL from you, at least you know that they will return to the brooder.
  4. jmurf

    jmurf Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2017
    SE Louisiana
    Thank you for the responses. I built a partition for the run extension, to keep them near the door. We plan on handling and treats quite a bit while they're in there. My garage is insulated and stays warm. I like the wire enclosure idea, so I'll do that. When we take them outside, we'll be with them the whole time.
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The other respondents have given you good advice. I'll just round it out with a little "chick psychology".

    Chickens really dislike change, so getting them used to something new takes a while, and it's best not to try to rush things. If you do things by increments, starting out slow and increasing exposure to the "new thing", it's less stressful and the outcome is always better. This goes for chickens young and old.

    Chicks are especially wary of anything new. This is a predator response. As CT pointed out, chicks may be quite suspicious of the great outdoors at first. Therefore, short exposures, increasing each day, is best.

    I would start with short day trips to their run. Use a pet carrier and place the carrier in the run with the door open. Let the chicks take their time to come out and explore. They will go back inside the carrier when they've had enough, and "enough" may be a very short time. Don't be disappointed. They're getting the lay of the land.

    Next day while your have them out, get some meal worms or some shredded cheese and teach them to come when you call them. Pick a container and a verbal cue you will use each time you do this. Chicks respond to this training incredibly fast.

    I would not use any heat while you still have the chicks indoors or light at night. This will prolong their dependence on warm temps and light. They should be hardened against cool temps and dark at night. The day trips will accomplish this. After four or five days, they should be ready to move into the coop. No heat required.

    Moving into the coop is another big change, and doing it in the morning and keeping them cooped up will allow them to get used to the coop all day before it goes dark on them. Since they've had no light at night, they should be okay being in the coop in the dark. If they object, chicks being like toddlers when it comes to believing there are monsters in the dark ready to swallow them, you can put a dim night light in the coop. This will also aid in teaching them to go into the coop at night over the next few days.

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