Outside play time?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by brittnelee, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. brittnelee

    brittnelee New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2016
    Wilmington NC
    My chickens are 6 weeks old, the temperature here in North Carolina is starting to reach the 80s. I want to take my girls outside but how do I keep them safe? Do I just let them in the back yard? I know there are many birds in this area. And if I let them out to play am I going to be chasing them around the yard to get them back inside?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    At six weeks old in North Carolina this time of year, move them to the coop. They are ready. You don’t mention how cold the nights are but they are almost certainly past being ready for that too. I doubt you are seeing anything close to freezing. I’ve had chicks less than six weeks old spend the night in an unheated coop with the lows in the mid 20’s.

    If you turn your chicks loose in the back yard you may or may not have problem catching them. If you have been handling them a lot and they come to you when you have food, it probably won’t be too bad, maybe even really easy. If they have not been handled a lot, yes, it could involve a lot of chasing. They are pretty quick, also fast, and can get in some hard to reach places.

    I regularly let my 5 week olds range with the main flock in a large area enclosed by electric netting. There are plenty of hawks and even an eagle around. It hasn’t been a problem for me but some people have really bad problems with birds of prey. Any time they are outside they are at risk, but usually it is not nearly as bad as you imagine. If you are present you reduce that risk quite a bit but it will always be there. I don’t know your situation on how bad the risk really is or your risk tolerance, I can’t tell you what to do.

    You might consider turning a baby play pen or something similar up-side-down and letting them play outside under that. We all have to find our own way,

    Good luck!
     
  3. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2015
    North carolina
    We're in nc, triangle area. Absolutely your 6 week old chicks can go outside into the coop permanently. Many of use lock our chicks in the coop for the first week without letting them out. Food and water are in there, clean bedding, good ventilation, etc. It teaches them where home is. After that you could easily start letting them out in the afternoon and odds are darn good they will go in by nightfall. Once they all go into the coop at night, you can start letting them into their run or yard or what not all day long. That first week helps them embed the coop in their minds as their safe place :)
     

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