Starting a feeding routine.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hamnermitch, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. hamnermitch

    hamnermitch Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd like to start this thread by saying that this is my first time to raise chickens and I am completely in the dark about most aspects of it. I've gotten a lot of info from this site and it's all been a big help.
    My question is about feeding my birds. I have 9 Black Australorp pullets that are now 5 weeks old. I moved them from the brooder to their permanent home a few days ago and am having to physically move them out of the coop in the morning and back in at night. I'm sure they will get the hang of on there own given some time. I don't really worry about them being in or out because the coop and the run are pretty secure. I also don't worry too much about them getting to cold because the coldest it gets in our area right now is about 20. My question is, should I put food and water in the coop at night or leave it outside in the run, where I'd prefer it to be. I'm thinking if I put it outside then they will get hungry enough and come out on there own. I've been leaving a heat lamp on in the coop at night but unplug it in the morning. Any thoughts on the feed thing?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    They won't eat or drink at night as mature birds, only when they are young chicks. You can leave food and water either place. the only problem comes if you have them outside and they are closed in the coop, as they wake up and want food and drink at the crack of dawn.

    I would strongly encourage you to turn the light off. They need natural light in the coop but not artificial. If you decide to use light later on, to encourage winter laying, it's best to put it on a timer and have it turn on around 3 AM, so they can fall asleep naturally and not be caught off the roost when the light suddenly goes out. Chickens rest much better in a naturally dark coop. If they have had light since hatch, they might be a bit noisy about the dark for a night or two.
     
  3. hamnermitch

    hamnermitch Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the great advice. I've been leaving the light on for heat, mostly at my wife's request! She worries they,all get cold. Personally I think they'll be OK. It only gets about 20 right now and that's nor really the norm. Its usually above freezing this time of year.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a frequent topic here. Chickens are well equipped to handle cold, well below freezing. People in Canada and Alaska keep them without heat. What they need is good enough ventilation, at a high point in the coop, that the humidity they put out can easily escape from the coop. If you provide heat and the power goes out, they are plunged into cold that they are not acclimated to. which can definitely be harmful This article is rather a classic here and was written by a Canadian member.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/winter-coop-temperatures
     
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    If you run and coop are very secure it will be easier to leave the food and water in the main run - if you leave the coop door open so the hens can come and go as they like.

    If you have to close the coop door for protection, then keep the food and water in there instead.

    Its a good idea to have the water and food containers raised off the floor so the chickens don't kick bedding into it all the time.
     
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    OP says his birds are 5 weeks old. At this age they would normally be in a brooder with food 24/7.
     
  7. hamnermitch

    hamnermitch Out Of The Brooder

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    Great article! Thanks. Happy to report that this morning 8 of 9 had come out of coop on their own and the ninth was contemplating it. In response to the post above saying at five weeks they should still be in the brooder... I have researched that exhaustively and found all kinds of different thoughts on that. My birds seemed to be agitated all the time in the brooder and seem much happier outside now. I guess you never know. As far as having food 24/7, they just don't seem to eat much at night (based on the amount of feed in the feeder each morning).
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Not necessarily. My broody hen raised birds are outside, usually just getting ready to be kicked out from under momma, and they don't eat at night. In fact, my broody raised chick don't eat at night at all, it's dark and it's time to sleep. Only brooder raised chicks eat round the clock, but that's an artificial environment.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    "Should still be in the brooder" and "are normally in the brooder" aren't quite the same thing. I wouldn't have them in a brooder at that age, either.. Many old timers have them in the coop at 3 weeks. You are right, there is a wide range of opinion. My feeling is, if they are acclimated to normal outdoor temps earlier, they will adjust to them earlier. I brood in the coop from day one, in springtime temps the last time I did it, with nighttime lows around 13C. At 3 weeks they were hiding from the heat lamp so I removed it.

    You may enjoy this thread, written by a very experienced chicken keeper. 17F is -8.33C, by the way. Yes, below freezing.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/735392/redneck-fungshui-brooding-17-degree-temperatures/0_20
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014

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