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Transitioning

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mommahen1990, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. mommahen1990

    mommahen1990 Just Hatched

    5
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    Mar 30, 2017
    North east Maryland
    So my chicks are 2 and half weeks old. And I'll be going from starter feed to grower mash in a couple more weeks, but my question is when do I switch them to the coop completely?
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Well, like many things about chickens........it depends.

    Can depend on your climate (good to put your location in your profile).
    Can also depend on how you've managed the heat in your brooder area.
    Can depend on if you have power in your coop so can heat them out there.
    I put my chicks in the coop with heat at one week old in a separate area from the main flock.

    Tell us more about your situation for more specific advice.
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
  4. mommahen1990

    mommahen1990 Just Hatched

    5
    1
    10
    Mar 30, 2017
    North east Maryland
    Well I'm from North East Maryland. I'm about 2 minutes away from the water. I know our weather sometimes is bipolar. We could have a sunny 65 almost 70 degree day and the next day it could be 50 and miserable with rain. Right now I have my chicks in a huge storage tub with a brooder lamp to help keep them warm. The days have been starting to get warmer and I want to give them some outdoor time I just didn't know when would be good to transition them to the coop.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Just don't keep the too warm...easy to do, especially in storage tub.

    Chick Heat

    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.


    Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate


    Huddle Box
    Make them a 'huddle box', put it in the brooder after turning off the heat(you might have to 'persuade' them to use it) then move it out to the coop with them.
    Cardboard box with a bottom a little bigger than what they need to cuddle next to each other without piling and tall enough for them to stand in.
    Cut an opening on one side a couple inches from bottom and big enough for 2-3 of them to go thru at once.
    Fill the bottom with some pine shavings an inch or so deep.
    This will give them a cozy place to sleep/rest, block any drafts and help hold their body heat in.
     

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