What's the prime time?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cluckmecoop7, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Songster

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    Hi everyone!

    I have a question about chicks and the outdoors. well, let's get right to it! My question is: What is a good age to start letting your young chickens sleep outside in the coop and, well, live in it? I am going to be very nervous the first few nights they are outside at night, any tip's? I also don't want to put them out to soon because they could die in the cold winters I have here. (There's snow on the ground right now.) If you please, I don't want to be given a link to anything, I want YOUR advise. So, what age do YOU recommend?

    Thank you for your replies and to take the time to read this. :bow

    Also, please help me, I don't know what to do when my chicks get old enough! :confused: Thank you! :highfive:
     
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  2. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Songster

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    I don't have them right now, I am talking about when I get them. I will be moving them outdoors around June, that's when they will be about ready... I think?

    Do you think you can answer what age?
     
  3. thecreekhouse

    thecreekhouse Songster

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    I wonder about this too. My coop isn’t wired for electricity and I live in East TN where it can get pretty cold. Do I basically just wait until they’re fully feathered to put them out?
     
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  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Assuming you're not planning to brood outside (i.e. no electricty) and it's reasonably warm (you said June?) I'd put them in the coop at around 4-5 weeks.
     
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  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing

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    8 weeks old is when you can move them without heat and without much concern over how cold it is, as they'll be fully feathered. Prior to that, it's weather driven. Overnight low's in the 50's doesn't bother me when they're 4-5 weeks old and going into an insulated and draft free coop. Younger than that is when you could lose them quickly to cold.

    The more of them that there are, the better they can huddle together for warmth.

    Watching their behavior tells you a lot. I have 4-5 week old babies out in the barn (with a heat lamp) and the high today will be 15, the low will be -2 or something. I'm worried, but they're not acting cold. There is a loud peep they'll do, they'll fluff what feathers they have and huddle into each other and they'll just sound tragic if they're too cold. Mine are out and about, not crying. I wrapped the stall in plastic to block wind, that barn isn't draft free.

    In June, temperatures should be warm enough to move them out by the 4-5 week mark. They're hardier than you think!
     
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  6. Doc7

    Doc7 Songster

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    Day of hatch is a fine time for them to be outside, with a mama heating pad or their mother hen.

    I never plan on chicks living inside my house. My first batch of chicks were outside in their full coop In June the day they came as 3 day old shipped chicks with overnights in the 40s. They had unrestricted 24-7 access to the coop and run with open pop door at 3 weeks old once I confirmed they were using the ramp and going in and out for food and water. I would do it even in the teens knowing what I know now.
     
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  7. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    You can also search on here. Use the term “brooder” or “brooding”. You can find some good info this way.

    Chicks need feathers to stay warm, so around 6 weeks they are usually good to go. But, certain breeds, like silkies, do not tolerate cold weather very well.

    We built a 6’x3’ brooder on wheels and used it in the garage where we had power till they were old enough to be outside. It snowed as late as April 9 last year, when they were about 5 weeks old. When they were about 6 weeks they got outdoor time during the day and did fine. Once coop was done, that’s where they slept at night, no heat.
     
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  8. Doc7

    Doc7 Songster

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    I disagree with the sentiment that there is an age above hatch that they “are old enough to be outside”.

    Yes, there are different ways of chick heat need management. But chicks are old enough to be outside their entire life cycle, from birth to death.
     
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  9. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    Of course, but without a momma hen, they need artificial heat. Without electric providing the heat, they would be too cold without feathers to keep warm. In addition, chicks can get lost in too big of an area without a momma hen to help. Even WITH a momma hen, the chicks we had (raised entirely by momma hen) were unable to figure out how to follow her up a short and low ramp into the brooder from the outdoor area. We had to place short/wide pavers that they could manage. Also, even after a few weeks of age they had trouble finding their way back to her if they wandered someplace new and couldn’t remember how they got there. Until they are feathered they do need a source of heat, or need to be in a protective environment that keeps them safe, and draft free so they can be warm.

    The OP is going to buy chicks and does not have a momma hen. OP needs to responsibly provide warmth for them till feathered.
     
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  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Depending on your temps June could be horrid hot! You might just need to provide them a bit of heat at night.

    At hatch they need a spot to warm up that is about 99F, but they need to be able to run to a cooler area, but not be able to run so far that they get lost.

    At start/after hatch I like a 2 x 3 foot enclosure or similar.

    That heat can be reduced by I think it is 1 degree a day. I am sure it is written somewhere, :confused: but I just play it by ear.

    Like @mandelyn said if you listen to them you will know right off if they are too cold.

    And I at times brood inside, and at times outside in a tractor, and at times in the coop, depending on what space I have available.

    I just keep them with heat until they look comfortable without the heat.

    :lau yeah, scientific.

    But if they are in my tractor, and whenever I check on them there are a few under the heat lamp, then I keep the heat on.

    When I go out there and check and they are all running about investing the grass and ignoring the heat lamp/warm spot then I start to consider taking out the heat. I will check them at night, and see if they like up under the heat at night, but not in the day. If they do that for 2 or 3 days in a row I will turn off the heat during the day, turn it back on at night until they start to sleep in cooler spots at night. Then you know they are done with the heat.

    This might be when they are only half feathered in a hot summer, it might be when they are 3 months old if I was stupid enough to hatch chicks in November. :rolleyes:

    However, the half feathered chicks have less "covering" so I watch them closely even after taking away their heat in a hot summer incase a spell of sudden cold weather rolls in.


    That was kind of rambly... hope it was clear enough.
     
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