What age should I move my chicks to the coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by phxmike, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. phxmike

    phxmike Hatching

    Nov 8, 2015
    I have 3, 3 week old barred rock chicks that I am keeping in a brooder box inside right now. When should they be ready to go out? We are in Phoenix,AZ and the nighttime temps are dropping into the 40's and high 60's to low 80's during the day. I know they're still too young right now, but just curious what the right age is. Thanks in advance!!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    That’s going to depend a bit on your chicks and a bit on your coop. I only deal with “regular” full sized chickens, no bantams and not the decorative breeds. I don’t think there is much, if any, difference but I don’t have experience with bantams or the decorative breeds.

    If the coop offers good wind protection yet has good ventilation, they can go out earlier than in a really drafty coop. They always need good ventilation. In the winter I like ventilation up high so any breezes are over their heads yet you get good air movement to exchange good air for bad.

    Most chicks are fully feathered at about 4 to 5 weeks of age. Once they are fully feathered they can handle really cold temperatures. With the lows in the 40’s they should be able to go out at 5 weeks.

    I’ll add a condition to that though. Your chicks are probably seeing nothing but tropical conditions inside your house. It can be rough going from tropical to cooler temperatures. At three weeks your house is probably warm enough they don’t need any heat in the brooder anyway. I suggest you turn off any heat in your brooder to see how they react. Do that at a time that it is not dark. If they are not used to dark that can upset them some. If they can handle the temperatures during the day, if they get upset in the dark at least you know is a dark problem and not a heat problem. (I told OGM I was going to steal that idea.)

    If you can manage to get them outside in cooler temperatures for a while that will help then acclimate plus it will give you confidence in what they can really handle.

    My brooder is in my coop. I heat one end and let the other cool off as it will. During winter if it is below freezing there may be ice in that far end, though the end they are in is toasty. Once they get a bit of age on them they do play in the colder temperatures, going back to the heat when they need to warm up. Mine are acclimated to the cold. I’ve had 5 week olds go through nights in the mid 40’s with no supplemental heat, in a wind protected coop with good ventilation. I’ve had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through nights in the mid 20’s with no supplemental heat.

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