The Outside World- Letting My Beautiful Chicks Outside

273816

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
120
7
88
Australia
Beatrice, Mackenzie and Keisha are three weeks old tomorrow (I got them at one week old). Yay!
I must be doing something right.

They already have a coop set-up outside for when they finally get big enough to go in it- I'm thinking 6-7 weeks old. I'm not ready to part with my babies just yet- even just not being near them for a few hours at a time freaks me out.

Also, when can they begin sleeping independently in their coop? I'm not sure about it as it's a few months off winter and I'm afraid about them not getting enough warmth without their heat lamp. I've read they'll huddle for warmth, which they often do sleep side-by-side, but it makes me nervous.

Also, if they begin eating worms or bugs from the ground, do they need to begin having grit? Should I provide it for them incase they need it?

P.S. I live in Queensland, Australia. It sometimes gets down to 10 at night. I know I probably shouldn't panic, that's not too cold. All help is welcome!

Thoughts?

Thanks, Rachel.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
523
448
South Georgia
They will not need heat at night, even in winter, as adults. This is true for winters that are much colder than yours. Chickens have a hard time dealing with hot weather, and need good shade and breeze to deal with it. If you mean 10C, that isn't even cool for them. They are nearly old and feathered enough right now to move outdoors -- but don't do this if they are still under a heat lamp. They need to be changed over gradually. I promise they will be delighted to have the extra space, and the ground to peck and scratch on, when you take them out. You might consider moving that up to 4 or 5 weeks, in your climate.

Yes, they need some grit as soon as they get much of anything other than chick feed, like veggie scraps, and definitely bugs. Lots of people don't actually buy anything, though, because there is enough sand or fine rock in their soil. We don't have rocks much, just sand, but mine hardly ever take any grit.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,518
13,004
707
Southeast Louisiana
If they are on the ground eating things, they are finding grit too. You don’t have to worry about that. If you feel you have to, you can scatter some coarse sand or small gravel around where they are eating, but that’s more to make you feel good than them really needing it. They are really good at finding their own if they have access to the ground.

10 C translates to 50 F. I’ve had chicks younger than 6 weeks outside in an unheated coop when the overnight low was below freezing. But Judy is right, they need to be acclimated first. I don’t know what your overnight lows are like now but yours could probably go out overnight at around five weeks, maybe a few days earlier.
 

273816

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
120
7
88
Australia
They spent their first night outside last night and I don't think they've ever been so happy since I've gotten them. Also, I got in contact with the woman I bought them off and it turns out they're 4 weeks. So a week older than I originally thought.

All are growing big and strong, and much happier, thanks for all the advice
 
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