What age do you let your chicks free-range?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LaynaDon95, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some 6-7 week old chicks. They are all bigger than my free-ranging bantams. The temp this week has been in the 70's and 80's. do you think they are old/big enough to go out for a few hours a day? I would be watching them most of the time.
    What age do you usually start letting your chicks go out?
     
  2. WildBunch

    WildBunch Out Of The Brooder

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    We just got some new chicks yesterday. They are 4 days old and I have the same question as you do? (On a closely supervised short time outside in an enclosed area.) Gonna' follow your thread, LaynaDon95!
     
  3. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wait until they are at least two weeks old and they have eaten some chick grit. I pick a day that is at least 60 degrees, sunny, and no wind. At first I only let them out for 15 - 20 minutes. I watch them close to make sure none of hem are getting cold. As they get older I let them out for longer periods of time. They are always supervised. After they have the majority of their feathers I may lock them in the run for a few hours unattended. (The run is secure and has a roof).

    I never let any chickens, including adults, free range without supervision. We have too many hawks, eagles, racoons, coyotes, etc. Just a couple of weeks ago a small falcon tried to attack one of my 3 year old birds. It did not cause but surprised everyone. I didn't even know we had falcons in the area.
     
  4. MommaK6

    MommaK6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We got our chicks the same week as St. Patty's day....and they were out within a week. It was unseasonably warm, hitting almost 90* most days. I just boxed them up and carried them outside and sat with them. Any day that it is at least 70* I take them outside, but I am ALWAYS there. Then again, my chicks have also all had the same sort of diet they would if they were with a Mama Hen and many people wait for treats.
     
  5. champer

    champer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put my chicks out for the day when they are about 4- 5 wks old. Temps in the mid 60's , lower if it's sunny. They get a couple weeks in a movable pen, at 8 wks they move to a coop at night and free range during the day. I seem to have caught the hatching bug and am on my 2nd group of chicks this winter and with another batch due to hatch next week, so the chicks have to move on to independence in a timely fashion. lol
     
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine started at 3 days. Just as soon as mama took them out. I've got some due to hatch the 4th of April. I've going to try a deal and fix it so they can go out and back in as they choose. The light will stay on for their comfort but if they want to go out, so be it. I'll find out if that works. [​IMG]
     
  7. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    Mom hen takes them out to the secure run at 3 days old. Under close supervision I'll let them out to free range for a bit in the evening. I don't let chicks totally free range until they're at least 2 months old.
     
  8. horseshowmomnv

    horseshowmomnv Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We took ours outside at 1 week for a few minutes, yesterday at 5 weeks we took them out for about 45 minutes. With 26 chicks it is hard to manage, we waiting for coop to be finished, otherwise they would be outside alot more.
     
  9. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your feedback everyone. :) We haven't had predator problems so far so that wasn't a huge concern. I let them out yesterday evening for a few hours and they had a blast. I watched them almost the whole time, though come roosting time I did have a scare. Out of 17 chicks, only 16 could be accounted for. I found the Redhorn (RIR/Leghorn) wedged behind the 2-3 week olds brooder. I thought he was dead, but he was just stuck and had fallen asleep. Not a scratch on him. My little sister let them out this morning, thinking they were supposed to be completely free-ranged now. I didn't fuss with them. They have been fine. All except the bantams noticed that Crooked Beak, our cross beaked chick (we are so original =P) was deformed. I found them cornering him in the coop, pecking at him. He has a small sore on his chest, but he'll be okay. We just have to keep an eye on him now to make sure he sin't being bothered. They have enjoyed themselves today and so far, they are doing fine outside. :)
     
  10. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    If the weather in warm I take my chicks out in the garden for a scratch around. They love it. I have always done in with chicks after they are 2 or 3 days old and recovered some strength after hatching from the egg.

    Its what they would do with the mother hen! Just sit with them so no predators will dare come and snatch one away. You can tell when they have had enough as they will either decide to have a sleep, or just get less excited and lively and start to snuggle. Then take them back to the brooder. I carry them from and too the brooder is a plastic box. Handling them so often makes they super tame too!

    I love it when they are about a week old and they have some wing feathers. They look so funny jumping and flapping about like little jumping beans.
     
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