Apr 29, 2017
Andover MA
My Coop
My Coop
Ok so to begin with my 6 week old chicks were fine outside when I called the poultry place. I was just worried that the rain that night might chill them so called to ask the lady at the desk if they would get chilled. I thought she would ask what kind of chicks I had what kind of coop I had set up but instead right After I told her my chicks were 6 weeks old she started going on and on about how they could have died In the 3 nights they had spent outside and how they should be at least 2 months old before they go out permanently!!! My chick days book says 6 weeks so I assumed she didn't know what she was talking about and hung up on her mid sentence and then I looked on BYC and saw people were putting them out at 3 weeks old!!! My chickens are now 7 weeks old and have survived 2 thunder storms and a 43 degree night. They're 5 buff orpingtons by the way. I am still confused though about why that lady on the phone would tell me 2 months! Maybe she thought I lived in Antarctica or that I had tropical chickens but any other reasons why would be heavily appreciated and this is also a thread for first time BYC members to come together because I for some reason had a lot of trouble finding out how to even post a new thread. Thanks!!!


(P.S. These are pictures of my 5 buff Orpingtons below. Almost done with they're chicken run too.)


  • IMG_6913.JPG
    322.7 KB · Views: 13
  • IMG_6914.JPG
    921.5 KB · Views: 9
  • IMG_6915.JPG
    591.6 KB · Views: 9
  • IMG_6917.JPG
    598.5 KB · Views: 9


Apr 6, 2015
Some people say don't put them out until a certain age or they'll get sick. But I say it fully depends on the breed and the weather in your area. My rule of thumb is I wait until they are feathered but I let them run in a pen during the day before that if the weather is nice. Some will say I'm wrong for letting them even touch the ground before a certain age maybe they're right but someone should tell the mother hens if they are. A chick under a hen touches the ground on day 1. My guess is hens have been raising chicks far longer than people.


5 Years
Feb 19, 2017
Welcome to BYC!
At 6 weeks and off of all heat sources for a few days, there is no problem putting them outside . They should be about fully feathered at that point. If the temp was gonna drop below freezing you could use a huddle box. (for future reference) Some people actually brood their chicks in the coop using the momma heat pad. You can do a search for that at the top of the page.


Crossing the Road
9 Years
Jun 23, 2013
The Big Island/Hawaii
Agree with wynn4578 & blackdog043. I raise chicks in a brooder until they're at least fully feathered, not needing heat light/MHP. Depending on the weather & chicks, I put them out in my chick tractor when they're about 4wks for a couple of hours to explore the grass & sunshine.
Think the lady was just leaning towards the "safe" side. Information in a book is one person's thoughts, experience or research. Some may put their chicks out way younger but only YOU can determine when to put them out, common sense prevails when it comes to raising any animal. Your chicks at 6wks are fully feathered so they're fine outside. If they were Silkies, that would be a different story.
ENJOY them!


5 Years
May 30, 2017
West Texas
Yeah, I had a lady telling me stuff in no uncertain terms about ducklings the day I got them from a ranch store. The scary sounding stuff like "If you do this, they'll die." No explanation as to why. Lucky me I'd already done my reading on here so I could just smile and nod and walk out with ducklings trying not to laugh. So in summary... don't feel bad, sometimes they don't know what they're talking about they just recite what the training manual says.

I keep mine in the brooder under a light, with supervised visits to the great outdoors starting when they're big enough to easily catch, until they are fully feathered out and room opens up in the grow out pen. Got a group in the pen right now that's been out and about full time since, eh, eight weeks... Not exactly sure. We were in the middle of moving so they were a little more delayed than I would have liked. Plus... It's Colorado, we get snow crazy late in May sometimes (and this year was one of them!).


Grading essays - be back soon!
6 Years
Jun 15, 2016
State of Jefferson
Yes to all of the above. Your "lady at the front desk" encounter reminds me of an odd Facebook comment someone made on a poultry page about not even letting their chicks touch the ground before they're 8 weeks old... it's interesting to think that somehow we can do things better than the mamma bird can. Btw, my broodies take their babies out in the cold, early spring weather and I say, "Silly chicken, those babies need to be kept at 98 degrees until they're a week old, and then you can gradually decrease the heat until they're fully feathered!" They just "Cluck, cluck" and ignore me. Go figure.


Apr 29, 2017
Andover MA
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks!!! I knew that letting them out at 6 weeks was fine! I have one more question for all of you. What age should I put my chicks on to developer feed?because another person there said I should put them out at 6 weeks (like I originally thought) but not put them on developer feed until they were 2 months old. While my chick days book says put them on it at 4 weeks before they go outside at 6 weeks. Any advice would also be very Appreciated!!!
Thanks again



Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Okay. Back to your original question as to why the lady you talked to would tell you not to put your chicks outdoors before two months.

Back when my dad was young, in the 19-teens, people wouldn't dare go anywhere without a hat. It was commonly believed you'd catch a cold or even invite demons to enter your body through your uncovered head if you didn't wear a hat. Everyone believed this. No one thought why everyone believed this. Everyone just did it.

So it is with some chicken dogma. Rules, even though when you examine some of them, they make little sense, make people feel more comfortable because in the natural world, unexpected things happen that are out of our control. So we console ourselves with rules because most of us know we don't know everything about everything.

So the lady at the poultry place was just passing on to you a rule she heard once and accepted as dogma because she figured someone at some point did know everything about this particular issue or there wouldn't be a rule. Right?

Here on BYC, you have the benefit of a lot of experience, not just rules. We share with others, not just rules, but our experiences with what has worked for us. A lot of this experience trumps rules. Just as the natural world has different ways of operating, so do people with chickens.

The benefit of being here in the BYC community is that you get to share in these experiences and choose which of those experiences seems to fit your situation.

Over the years I've broken some of these rules that seem to make little sense, and now I brood brand new chicks right outdoors from the get-go. And these chicks have developed in every way better than any I ever brooded indoors. I explain all of this in an article linked below on outdoor brooding if you want to know more.


Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 28, 2008
You can keep them on chick starter all the way until laying age if you want then switch to layer. If you are giving them medicated feed I'd switch to non-medicated.

Some of us never use layer feed either. I use all-flock with oyster shell on the side. You could start feeding that to them now if you wanted.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom