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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CalicoPrairie, May 21, 2012.
Yes, finding that willing or already chicken trained sitter is gold!
I have found that chickens are not nearly as delicate as some people think. My chicks were out in the coop on day 1 (from the feed store) in a small brooder with heat lamp. At 3 weeks they were released into the coop still with heat lamp. Because I have staggard aged chicks, I left the heat lamp until the youngest were 3 weeks. When I discovered during my night time coop check that they were all laying as far from they heat lamp as they could (night time temps in the 50's) I removed the heat lamp. I have a basically open air coop so it's not like there was a lot of heat buildup in the coop.
The chicks huddle (now roost) together and keep each other warm. The youngest are now 6 weeks old. Since I cut the heat lamp night time temps here have ranged from the 30's to the 50's. Daytime temps from 40's to 80's. Even in the cold temps they still spend a lot of their time outside pecking around.
They would be fine out in your coop at that age. A heat lamp will probably make you feel better, just make sure they have the ability to get away from it if they become over warm.
I haven't moved mine to the coop just yet because I want to lay down fresh straw, but what I did was take some old deck boards and 2x4s and built a large square. It's not too deep , maybe 24" but I covered it with wire mesh. I put them in there in the afternoons after our weather warms up and they run around, scratch and chicken it up!
Gardendufus, I am glad to hear that! I started with 5 and wanted to get a few more, and I just keep thinking there is an easier way. I think my weekend project is to finish preparing my girls new home.
at 4 weeks old, my chicks have been outside and free-ranging for a little over a week.
They haven't been under a heat lamp since they were 2 weeks old. The longer they are under a heat lamp, the longer it takes them to feather out.
I always brood my biddies in the coop from day one. Here's mine at a few days old. I took there heat away at around three weeks. Now, there four weeks & I'm removing the cage in the coop. I will put a few on the roost every evening till they figure out thats their new place to sleep. Guess, everyone has there own way of doing things. But I do have 39 iddies so they can snuggle if they get cold.
Put them out as soon as possible. I try to get my birds outside at 2 weeks old. You can take the rules of temperatures (Start at 95 and 5 degrees less every week) and disregard all of it. Just watch the birds and listen. They will tell you when they are not happy. With an empty coop, you can also use your coop like a brooder. Just put your heat lamp in a corner. The whole coop shouldn't be the same temperature, they just need a warm spot to go to if needed. At 3 weeks old I took away the heat lamp. It was a warm spring. They are now 10 weeks old and doing fine. I also put 11 meat roos and 4 turkeys out at 2 weeks old with no lamp. They kept each other warm when needed. They are 5 weeks old and getting big. These chicks are tougher than we give them credit, and they are happier and healthier outside,in the fresh air with grass under their feet, away from unnatural light.
I have to say, day 2 of outside coop hasn't fared as well as I had hoped. We went out and bought a nite light to replace the flashlight, and they all pile up trying to get near it. They also have no concept yet that they have to go up the ramp to get to the sleeping quarters. They stand at the very end of the coop and just start screaming. I am holding out hope they figure it out soon. A couple have and go right up and roost, but the others just freak. It doesn't help that it's been damp and dreary for the 2 days they've been out there. They all seem to be ok, and everything else is good, just the night time routine isn't figured out yet
I never leave lights on in the coop. To get them to sleep on the roost I pick them up one by one right before dark & put them on their roost. Do this a couple of nights in a row & once you get one to do it they will all follow the lead. This works for me every time.
Wow, great info. I love hearing all the different methods everyone uses to raise their baby chicks.
It's really warm here, so I'm hoping the husband finishes the coop this weekend so we can move them in. We've got rabbits to move too, so it would be great for it all to be done a week before we leave on vacation so I can figure out how they do outside and train them and all that.
Lucy and Ethel are doing very well and are quite active and fun.
Thanks again for all the info, everyone! Maybe this thread should be stickied for all the novice chicken owners. It's been super helpful for me!