Too young to go outside for an outing?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MontanaDolphin, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    71
    168
    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    My babies turned 2 weeks last Wednesday. I'd like to take them outside for a few minutes for their first experience outside, but I'm not sure when to do it. Is it based on their age? Their feathers? The temperature outside? I had my favorite girl Athena out of the brooder last night to cuddle, and she shivered for a few minutes until she got warmed up from my body, so I'm wondering if I should wait until we have hot weather? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Actually, I would guess Athena was frightened rather than cold. They don't like change -- but they learn!

    It's a little of all those things. At two weeks, if it's a sunny day with little breeze, I'd definitely take them out, myself. You might take a small container they can run into if they get cold -- a small cardboard box for example. I'll bet they have so much fun they ignore it. I'm a big believer in acclimating them to the outdoors. Well, I won't brood indoors any more. I hang a heat lamp in the coop. My last batch avoided the heated area after 3 weeks, even at night, even with temps below 70, so I just turned it off. Really, once they are past that tiny, shipping-stressed stage, they don't need nearly as much heat as the charts tell us. People get concerned the first time the light is off at night, because they peep loudly for one night, but it's usually the lack of light (the change) they are peeping about.

    I had a broody with chicks in 40-50 degree weather once. The chicks would run around for maybe 10 minutes, then run under mama a few minutes to get warm, then back out they went.
     
  3. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    71
    168
    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    Judy-

    Would Athena still be frighted after being taken out and cuddled every night for the past week and a half? I mean, she doesn't even make a lot of racket like the rest do when I pick her up...she peeps a few times and that's it, I figured cuz she was so used to me handling her.

    If they do get cold if I take them outside, will it harm them?
     
  4. jobouss

    jobouss Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    13
    93
    Jan 24, 2013
    Tupelo, MS
    Yesterday, I made a cage without a bottom out of hardware cloth. I took my 3 week old chicks out and let them get some sun and grass. They were completely covered. I was sitting in a lawn chair just beside the coop in the shade, and the chicks were not 10 feet away. They coop is done, but we are working on the run enclosure. They were so funny trying to take dirt baths and picking around in the grass. My husband walked out and I looked up to talk to him and saw something out of the corner of my eye and a hawk landed right by the cage. I jumped up and he immediately flew away. It scared me to death. If they hadn't been in a cage, I am sure he would have got one of them that quick. [​IMG]
     
  5. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    71
    168
    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    It got pretty daggone warm today, so I took them out. I didn't put them in anything outside or cover them like you did, jobouss...I carried them out in a small box and let them go. At first they didn't know what was going on...then they started picking through the grass and dirt. My eldest son kept turning over rocks for them so they could get the bugs. They had a blast! I happened to look up about 5 minutes after I let them out of the box, and there were three hawks circling. I showed my son, and he kept watch the rest of the time. They never circled too low, but it freaks me out thinking about when they are out on their own. After about 15-20 minutes I took them back in...it was still nice outside, but they started making a lot of racket...don't know if they were ready to go back to their brooder, or just testing out their big girl and big boy voices. Didn't matter why they were being so loud...with those hawks circling, I didn't want to take any chances. So inside we went!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    One thing I realized is that they will eat ANYTHING that moves. Including freaky looking spiders. The instant after I took this picture, it was a chick's snack:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I just now got back to this thread.

    Well, of course I can only offer an opinion on the frightened thing. Unfortunately they can't tell us, lol! But... from my own observations, I believe they can. I believe some chickens just accept being handled better than others. I have a hen who has been crippled for maybe a year, making it easy for me to run her down, pick her up, put her in my lap, and pet her. I never could tame her before she was injured. Now she coos once I get her settled on my lap and pet her a minute. She settles down, even gets sleepy, and seems to enjoy it, stretching her neck when I pet it. Yet when I pick her up, she struggles. It's like I have to teach her every time that I'm not a predator. And yes, I can easily pick her up without causing her any pain.

    I'm glad you took them out! They look plenty old enough for short outings, and it won't be long before they will want to stay.... I believe getting cold in small doses helps "harden them off," get them accustomed to the outdoors, and in the end they will really be ready when moving day comes -- which hopefully will also be a little sooner. I've often read here it also causes them to feather faster -- but that's one of those things that there are probably no scientific studies on, so we only have each others' observations to go on.

    Oh, yes, they dearly love bugs. If you want to have some fun, pick up a bunch of crickets from the fish bait store and turn them loose, a few at a time. We have these huge grasshoppers here.... Be prepared, they will also eat mice and small snakes. I once saw about 6 birds jump from the roost, all at once, on one poor mouse. In about half a minute there was not a trace of him. We turn the girls loose in the garden after harvest for them to eat the bugs and larvae. Interesting how the feed consumption goes down for a while....
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,707
    1,236
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Just be careful. At that age they are magnets for hawks and owls.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    71
    168
    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    Yea, that's what I thought after we were inside safely. It would take only a second for one to swoop down and grasp one in its claws and continue on in flight, and I wouldn't even see it coming...maybe I need to invest in some sort of "top" to put over them while they are outside.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by