raising winter chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by FromChictoChick, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. FromChictoChick

    FromChictoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    My Coop
    What age can chicks go out into the coop during this time of year? I have chicks that will be 10 weeks old mid/late January, could they go into the coop or would they need additional heat? This is starting a new flock and the will be two mature hens as well a buff orpington and a big kinda broody EE
    10 weeks
    16 weeks?
  2. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think by ten weeks they should be fine. what you can do is let them out for limited times a couple of days before you put them in the coop, that way they get used to the colder weather. good luck! oh, how many birds do you have? the more birds, the more heat they create.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Usually they are considered fully feathered and ready for outdoors around 8 weeks. If they now stay in all day, they will do best if you acclimate them to the outdoors for several days -- maybe take them out for a few hours, and work up to all day before they spend their first night in the coop. Also I'd be sure they sleep in darkness so the darkness of the coop won't be a shock in itself. In warmer weather, though not necessarily hot weather, many experienced chicken keepers put them in the coop a lot younger than 8 weeks without a problem.

    However, putting partly grown chicks in with mature hens may well be a serious or even fatal mistake. Integration works best when they are all the same size. I'll give you a link to a good article about integration. The first part is about quarantine, which shouldn't apply in your case.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This time of years brings up different images if you are in Australia, Florida, or North Dakota. It might help us give better answers if you could be a bit more specific.

    A lot of it depends on what weather you are talking about. Some depends on breed. A lot depends on how your coop is built. A lot depends on how you acclimate them. We all have different conditions and circumstances. There is no one answer that is right for everyone. I’ll try to tell you a bit about how I do it, but I’ve never raised a chicken in the house. I don’t have experience with that but maybe you can get something out of this that will help you.

    I raise mine in a brooder in the coop. My current brooder is 3’ x 6’, has good draft protection and good ventilation. I have heat at one end and let the rest cool off as it will. During certain times of the year, it can get pretty cool in there. They play all over and go back to the heat when they need to.

    Last summer I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days. We were having a heat wave and it was hot. They were suffering with the heat on, even at night. I know this does not apply to you but I’ll mention it just to show how tough they really are. I’ve never turned the heat off anywhere that early before but I watch them and let them tell me what they need.

    Last fall I kept the day and night heat on until they were 5 weeks old. It got pretty cool in the far end of that brooder but they spent a lot of time down there. At 5 weeks I moved them to my grow-out coop, which has good draft protection and good ventilation up high but no heat. The overnight lows were in the mid 40’s, but they were seeing those temperatures in the brooder. They were used to it. At 5-1/2 weeks the overnight low hit the mid 20’s Fahrenheit. They were fine. I checked on them late at night and they were quietly sleeping. There were about 20 of them so they could help keep each other warm.

    At 8 weeks I’d think yours are now ready, but I don’t know how well your coop is protected against drafts or how cold it actually gets. With only two, I’d be more cautious. I do think exposing them to colder temperatures helps them feather out. I can’t tell you what to do. It’s your decision.

    Integration is a lot the same way. There is no magic number of when they are ready. I’ve seen a broody wean her chicks at 3 weeks. Those chicks lived with the flock on their own after that without her protection. I usually integrate 8 week old brooder raised chicks with no problems at all. Some people would have disasters if they tried that.

    Chickens have developed ways to live together in a flock. A lot of what makes this successful is that the weaker chickens run away from the stronger when there is a confrontation or they avoid the older ones in the first place. They need enough room to run away or to avoid. Younger weaker chickens are at risk from older stronger chickens if they cannot get away when they need to. Older chickens will kill younger chickens if the younger get trapped or just don’t have enough room to run away.

    There are a lot of things that go into integration. To me, space is huge. I don’t have any problems at 8 weeks and others and broodies do it even younger. But if my space were tight of the weather was such that space could become tight, I’d worry.

    I think you are looking for a magic number where all risk is passed. I can’t give you that. There are just too many variables. Hopefully you can get something useful out of this.

    I do wish you good luck, however you try to do it.
    1 person likes this.
  5. FromChictoChick

    FromChictoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    My Coop
    There are six chicks in the brooder. I have six hens currently in the hen house. The two lowest in the pecking order hens, a buff orpington and an EE will be going with four of the brooder chicks to start a new flock for my mom. Two of the chicks will be integrated with my hens to stay here.

    My mom is in Maine, I am in Massachusetts
  6. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think with that number you should be fine. I was just thinking if you had four or less, then you would need to wait longer.

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