New to chicks. A few questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by caliclucker, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. caliclucker

    caliclucker Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2011
    I plan on aquiring 3-4 chicks (males) in the next few weeks in the hope of raising my own rooster. I currently have a flock of 12 hens. I plan on keeping one for my girls and eating the runners-up. I have a few questions though.

    1. At what age can I move the chicks out of the brooder safely? Is there a gradual step down system?

    2. Where do I move them to? Will they still need a heat source?

    3. Can they be put in a cordoned off section of the run to allow for visual from the hens without physical interaction? If so should they have their own little "coopette" to shelter them until introduced directly to the flock?

    4. At what age should I put the cockerels in the flock? Should I introduce all of them to try and gauge receptivity or decide before hand which will be the lucky boy?

    I live in So. Calif. so the daytime highs right now are anywhere between 55 and 75 degrees depending on the day. Night lows can get in the 30s. My hens are in a coop at night, then free range on 1/2 acre during the day. The coop has an attached run that is quite large, about 20' x 35'.

    Thanks so much, I know I will be back often in the next few months with a lot more questions. [​IMG]
  2. Coopacabana

    Coopacabana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2012
    Seattle, Washington
    1.They need 95 degrees farenhiet the first week, second week 90, third week 85, and just continue going down by 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered.

    2. the coop! If it's freezing, yeah, they need heat but otherwise they'll be okay. DON"T put them in with older hens until they are roughly the same size as the older hens.

    3. that's a good idea. My coop has a chicken wire door in the middle. There is notably less fighting when they are raised like this, the chicks have less to deal with. Just wait till everybody is the same size.

    4. not quite sure... i always raise everybody together and later sell those i can't keep. If you want them to get along with an older roo they need to be in the 'coopette' before they begin to crow, though.

    Happy Chick Raising!!
  3. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    1) Conventional wisdom states that chicks should be feathered out enough to go outside in 4 to 6 weeks. I'm in western NC, and our weather this year has been much like yours. I've moved chicks out at 3 weeks, gave them a little heat at night for a week, weaning them off the heat over the last few days. They are out there without heat now, at 4.5 weeks at temps below freezing some nights with no problems.

    2) I think chickens feather out at different speeds. You'll have to decide on heat by looking at their feathering. As for where to put them, we have a small 2nd coop/run that we use as a half way house. They stay in there for a week, able to see the others free ranging, and then let them free range together for as long as possible. If I have no other chicks coming to take their place in the small coop, they stay in there until they naturally start exploring the big coop, and at some point, I just close the little coop off and force them in the big one at night. Then they wake up together, and I keep them all together locked up for the morning, letting them work out a little pecking order fun, and then let them free range. Typically, this works out fine. There WILL be pecking. As long as they have room to run, and no blood is drawn, let it happen. It'll likely be fine.

    3) I don't have any experience building a separate section inside the big coop/run for newbies, as I described above.

    4) I introduce new birds into the flock as early as 6 to 8 weeks.
  4. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    what great questions & answers. i am so grateful for these threads because they help me give my babies the best possible chance of survival. i will be glad when i know more than i currently do. however, i'm grateful that all 26 babies are still alive @ the start of night two.
    i've got more chicks than i'm prepared for. my friend backed out at the last possible second (she has a crisis). my facilities are not made for 25, but for 10. i've got to adjust fast.
  5. crystal195655

    crystal195655 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2011
    Glenoma, WA
    I would post an AD in your local Craigs List for the unwanted point in you feeding them longer than necessary. Just keep the ones you want.
  6. caliclucker

    caliclucker Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2011
    Thanks for the replies so far, very helpful and much appreciated. So in regards to the day the cockerel(s) meets the flock beak to beak, do you think I should throw them all out together to see who meshes best with the girls, or should I decide before hand? I don't know enough about roo behavior to know which way is best.

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