Newbie Question!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by thatarcheryguy, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. thatarcheryguy

    thatarcheryguy New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jun 9, 2014
    Talladega AL
    Hello everyone, i'm new here and to having chickens and have a question! I got 6 chicks about 2 weeks ago from tractor supply and they said they didn't really know how old they were, but i'm guessing they are between 3 and 4 weeks old. i was wondering if it would be okay to put them outside in the coop i built if i put the heat light in it? i have all the doors closed on it because i haven't built the run yet, which i will build this weekend. so my question is this, if they are old enough to go out in the coop with a light and the run blocked off, do i need to cut a hole in the side of the coop and put hardware cloth over it for some air?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,139
    3,350
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You have two different issues.

    First, when can chicks go outside with a heat lamp? My 3’ x 6’ brooder is in the coop. My chicks go straight to that brooder from the incubator. I heat one end and let the rest cool off as it will. The chicks don’t care if they are in your house or outside. The only things they care about are having a warm place to go to when they need to get warm, food and water, and protection from the environment and predators. Protection from the environment means keep them from getting wet when it rains and give them a place to get out of the wind. If you can provide that in your coop and don’t have adults to worry about integration, put them out there.

    The other issue is ventilation. Read this article. You need ventilation in your coop to get rid of bad air and let good air in but you don’t want a direct breeze blowing on them as chicks. Even with adults you don’t want a cold breeze blowing directly on them in really cold weather though a nice breeze in the summer feels really good to adults. There are many different ways to achieve this. The easiest for me is to have permanent openings up high so any breezes are over their heads with other openings lower down you can open in warm weather.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION
     
  3. thatarcheryguy

    thatarcheryguy New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jun 9, 2014
    Talladega AL

    Thank you! I'll put ventilation in it. Do you allow your chicks to use the run at all times or at what ago do you open it up for them to go into? Also, what's the best way to sex them? Sorry for all the questions lol
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,139
    3,350
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been visiting my granddaughter and just got back.

    When to let the chicks into the run? I’ll leave them locked in the coop for a week or so, trying to get them used to the coop as home. The hope is that once I let them into the run they will go back into the coop to sleep. A lot of the time that doesn’t work, they’ll sleep near the door but outside. I have to physically put them into the coop after dark and lock them in there so they sleep in there several times before they all start going to bed in the coop. They are pretty easy to catch and put in after dark but if you don’t wait until they settle down it can involve some chasing. They can be pretty quick.

    At what age does this happen. I have two things to think about. First, can they handle the weather outside during the day? In the summer temperature is normally not a problem but in cooler weather that can make a difference. I don’t like for it to be raining the first couple of days either. After a couple of days they will know to go inside out of the weather if they need to (many don’t) but I like then to be a little more used to it at first. But I’m mainly waiting until they don’t need heat.

    Another issue for me is the fencing. I use electric netting on a large area. I have to wait until the chicks are big enough that they can’t get through that netting. Their down or feathers insulate them so they can walk right through without getting shocked. I don’t know what fencing you are using but the mesh needs to be small enough that they cannot walk through or under. For me that’s normally around five to six weeks.

    A broody hen will take her chicks outside really soon after leaving the nest but she is a walking heat source. If they need to warm up or dry off, they just go under her. Brooder raised chicks can’t do that. I have seen a broody hen wean her chicks at three weeks. That’s really young, most wait until at least four weeks and many go a lot longer, especially in cooler weather. But I have seen three week old chicks be old enough to handle it when the conditions are right. It’s not nearly as much a matter of age as conditions.

    What is the best way to sex them? Patience and experience. I’ll give you a link to an article that talks about it, but most can’t really be sexed until that are at least five weeks old and a lot take a lot longer. Silkies are notoriously hard to sex but several others can be a challenge for 4 or even 5 months. Some can be sexed at hatch by certain sex-linked traits if the parents are genetically set up for that and there are a few breeds that are auto sexing, but some experience can really help with those. For the vast majority of our chicks you have to wait until they grow enough for the differences to show. A lot of the time you can get clues for what they might be instead of definitely what they are, but sometimes you get conflicting clues.

    For me, it’s normal to be able to say, “That one is definitely male” before I can say “That one is definitely female”. Some males mature faster than others. After five weeks you can post photos and we can give you our guesses but you are very likely to get differences of opinion. The photos that help most are shots that show the comb and wattles well, but a separate one showing legs, posture, and body conformation can really help. Knowing age and breed can help to. With some breeds the wing feathers develop differently on cockerels than pullets. It’s just a series of clues. Sometimes those clues are really definitive and sometimes they are not.

    How to sex chicks
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=48329
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by