To leave them outside???

sillycmoy

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
1,532
69
153
Utah~Utah County
My 2 rescued girls are around 6 weeks old and fully feathered for the most part. I have been taking them outside during the days if its not snowing (had snow twice this last week) and above 40 degrees, and then bringing them in at night since my light is still in the brooder with 9 other chicks. Today is the first day that they actually were able to be outside from morning to dusk. I actually forgot they were out there till it got dark, and they started screaming. Its currently 51 outside at 8:45 pm, and they said that its going to get down to about 33 overnight with the winds picking up in the early morning and rain tomorrow with the high of 49, but rain most of the day. I will probably still put them outside tomorrow even in the rain, they have a good coop they can go into and also can go under the coop if they want to be out in the dirt. Plus the run is under our deck, so it doesn't get as much rain/snow.

So after hearing them screaming like they were going to die, I ran outside and once I opened the run door they both flew to me, and so I picked them up and brought them in the house. They are in an x-large dog crate with no light for almost 2 weeks now, and its about 68 in the room they are in, but they are now screaming in there as well. I have been taking them outside during the day weather permitting for about 2 weeks now, and they have never screamed like this coming in at night, usually they just go right in the crate, and go to sleep. Usually don't hear much from them till morning.

So do you think I should just leave them outside, no light, there is shavings in the coop? I just feel bad because its just the 2 of them to huddle together, if there was more of them I wouldn't worry as much. I was actually planning on officially kicking them outside this coming up week, they said we should start getting out of this cold weather and starting to warm up in the high 60s with 40s as the lows towards Friday. But its going to be cold and wet Mon-Wed, and we are in the mountains, so we could still get snow.


Any thoughts? Sorry I'm totally new, and I just don't want to go out in the morning to frozen chicks, since they did say 33 overnight, but it could get colder up here in the mountain.
 

countrygoddess

Songster
11 Years
Nov 16, 2008
850
46
178
Champlain Valley, Vermont
Your weather sounds like what ours is doing now here in Vermont.

Some questions: what is the environment like in their outdoor digs? Is it a chicken house with an attached run or is it an open "grow out" pen? If it's a house with a door you can close, they'll be fine in it from here on out. As long as they have no drafts, it'll be fine for them. They shouldn't even really need a warming bulb--not when they're fully feathered, but if you want to put one in for peace of mind, it won't hurt them.
 

sillycmoy

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
1,532
69
153
Utah~Utah County
Here are pictures before the run was 100% done, and now the coop is painted red with white trim, and will be shingled shortly. The coop does have a door, that I can shut them in at night. Do I always need to lock them in at night?











The girls-This photo is 1 week ago, so they have more feathers now.
 

countrygoddess

Songster
11 Years
Nov 16, 2008
850
46
178
Champlain Valley, Vermont
No, if they're in that little "room" you shouldn't need to close the house ever. But while they're still young and the nighttime temps still go low, you'll want to close the door to keep drafts out.

On another note, what kind of predators do you have there? I'm thinking you may want to use hardware cloth along the bottom part of that "room", over the chicken wire (4 ft wide roll). Even raccoons can reach in and grab a bird through the holes in chicken wire. You might even want to bury it down 6 inches.
 
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sillycmoy

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
1,532
69
153
Utah~Utah County
Its really not that little its almost 6 ft by 5 ft and its 7 ft tall. As far as the run, that is under our deck, and we have dogs in the yard so I'm not so much worried about them in there. But we are working on our side yard for free range. We are burying chicken wire 12 inches deep, and we are 1/2 way done. The fence that they will have is a 6 ft solid wood, which will have the chicken wire about 3 ft up on the sides with the foot buried. So they will only be locked up in the run with the coop at night, during the day they can free range once the chicken wire is all buried.

Our neighbor a few houses down has chickens, and he just lets them run all over his backyard with no chicken wire protection, and he also has the most basic screw together block house, with no perches or anything, he uses old cat litter boxes for nest boxes, and and he never locks them up. He says he has a lost a few to large birds, but nothing ever in the yard. So I'm hoping we are just going over board on the protection. That's why I fully enclosed them under the deck so at night they have the top protection from the large birds in our area.
 

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