Update on home alone chicks--how about the garage?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BackToMyRoots, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. BackToMyRoots

    BackToMyRoots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2010
    Matthews, NC
    Okay, so I'm a bad "mom" to my pullets (please let them all be pullets!): they'll be four weeks old next Tuesday, and on Friday, my husband and I are leaving for two weeks in CA. We at least have a pet sitter coming every day who already loves the chicks and cats, and she is eager to spoil them rotten, so maybe that absolves me a little bit.

    The trouble is that I have the option of either keeping them in their little brooder (a thirteen-gallon Tupperware tub) or letting them enjoy their coop and run under the trees, and I'm leaning toward leaving them outside. What do you think? I'll give as many details as possible so you can spot any potential disasters:

    They're currently in a thirteen-gallon Tupperware brooder in an office that has to remain closed to keep out the two cats. The lid to their brooder is a huge cooling rack I usualy use for Christmas cookies, but that's another story! Their wings are feathering out normally. Their run and coop are going to be under the trees on the north side of the yard, so they'll only receive dappled sunlight from noon to three, if that. I started taking them out to their run for a few minutes at a time starting at two weeks, increasing the time little by little. They enjoyed themselves today four about an hour in about 11:30 in 85-90 degree weather; the only time I saw them breathing hard was after flying practice or after chasing each other around. The pet sitter knows to put down frozen two-liter bottles and such in the run for them to hang out near if it gets too hot. It may dip into the 60's at night, but the low to mid 70's are more likely.

    I like the idea of them being outside developing normally rather than hanging out in a cramped brooder all day, but I don't want to endanger them. I just have the feeling that they're getting so energetic that they may start some weird/destructive habits to keep busy if I leave them there. They aren't on medicated feed, but they've already been outside so if they're going to get coccidosis (sp?) I may already have exposed them in any case. What do you think?

    Thanks for your help! I love BYC [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  2. Tiramisu

    Tiramisu Got Mutts

    May 3, 2008
    Milan PA
    As long as they have enough water they will be fine. If the sitter sets out frozen water bottles that will help them too, if it gets to hot. Is the sitter going to lock them in the coop at night?

    If you've been letting them out for two weeks now and no signs of Cocci, they most likely will not get it.
     
  3. BackToMyRoots

    BackToMyRoots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2010
    Matthews, NC
    Thanks for your reply! We were planning to see how well the chicks learned to "put themselves to bed" in their henhouse at night before deciding on the lockup. I've seen on this forum that we should lock them in the house for the first two days to teach them where home is. Is that right?
     
  4. gamechickens

    gamechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 6, 2010
    i would lock them in there because of perditors but if there are older chickens that show them hey this is were we sleep you dont have too. chicks are smart.
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I would leave them out but would definitly be locking them up at night. What kinds of predators do you have in your area?
     
  6. BackToMyRoots

    BackToMyRoots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2010
    Matthews, NC
    Well, we definitely have 'coons, and those are what I'm worried about. Right now we're using really stiff garden wire fencing around the bottom (about 1 1/2 by 1 inch rectangles) with a layer of chicken wire on top of that. The idea is that the chicks can't stick any body parts out far enough to be attacked, and the predators would have to burrow under the fence to get to the chickens. We're using the CatawbaConvertiCoop plan. Should we tell her to lock them up or is there anything we can add to the bottom of the run? She's a serious softball player, so she'd easily be able to move the coop every few days if that would help deter predators. If we have to lock them up, they'd be in their henhouse all day and all night, since we can only get a pet sitter once per day. Definitely bigger than the brooder, but not ideal...what a dilemma!
     
  7. BackToMyRoots

    BackToMyRoots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2010
    Matthews, NC
    Okay, so my husband thought of putting their tractor in our nice, big, cool garage. It's under our house and dug into the ground on one side, so it doesn't get above 80 degrees in there even on the worst days. Somebody may steal our car while it's outside for two weeks, but hey, we're talking about chicks her

    If we put it on a tarp and make sure there are no offgassing chemicals anywhere around, could this work? There is some natural light through the teeny garage door windows, but hubby is thinking about using a light on a timer to keep them on a normal schedule and remind them to go upstairs to roost. Could this work? The pet sitter will still be feeding, watering, and treating them every day, and she'll also clean up their area when needed.

    I'm hoping this can work to keep them protected, but what should I put in their run on top of the tarp? I'm thinking a good layer of newspaper just in case, with either sand or wood shavings on top. Who knows, maybe both, with some dirt mixed in. I'll be composting the whole thing afterwards. I also want to leave them a little sod square or something to play with. Any thoughts? Are we insane? Okay, so I already know that answer. Would this help our chicks?[​IMG]

    Thank you for your help!
     
  8. ChickenChik

    ChickenChik Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2010
    Kinsey, Alabama
    I think the garage would be the most ideal place. I wouldn't run the risk of putting them outside and not locking up the coop. Too many predators are eager to get babies.
     
  9. BackToMyRoots

    BackToMyRoots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2010
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    Thank you--I just hope the raccoons don't figure out how to steal the garage door opener from my pet sitter and let themselves in. Any ideas for what I should use for the bedding in the run? I'm starting to lean towards a combination of newspaper and pine shavings, plus one square of sod and/or dirt for them to play in.
     
  10. ChickenChik

    ChickenChik Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2010
    Kinsey, Alabama
    Girl it sounds like you got it all together. Everything sounds great. I would use newspaper and shavings on a tarp. Sounds great
     

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