When can chicks go outside?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
Sorry, I know this has been asked a million times but I don't feel I fully get the answer. When can chicks go outside? Only been a chicken mom for a year. Last years chicks were 12+ weeks old before I put them outside. Embarrassing. The answers I see for this question are: when they are feathered, 6 weeks, 8 weeks....... Does weather matter at all? Can 6 week olds go out in any season?
We live on Vancouver island in British Columbia, Canada.
It is April 14th, our day time temperatures are around 14-22 Celsius and our night time temps drop to around 6-8 Celsius (43-46 Fahrenheit for you American friends )
Any help is always appreciated!!!!
Well you get a range of answers because there isn't one answer. It depends on a number of things and yes the weather absolutely Matters! Chicks can go out much earlier in July/August than they can in December/January. It also depends on the size of the chicks and the number of them. A single bantam silkie is going to need to be older than 3 dozen Jersey Giants. There is added warmth in numbers. You can huddle together and be fine where a small single bird will freeze. It also depends on where they are going. Is there a flock of full grown birds in the coop already? If so then they need to be big enough to defend them selves. Based on these factors chicks can go out any where between 4-12 weeks. So you have to look at your situation and make the best judgment call you can. Watch carefully the first few days and be prepared to bring them back in if it isn't working. Hope that helps.
Thanks. That gives me more to go on. We have a large coop for all our big girls but the chicks first go into one of those store bought 3x5 coops that are designed for a few birds. About 4 will go out together at a time as my ages are all staggered. They are standard size. Black copper marans, olive eggers and barred rocks.
What will tell me that they are not doing ok and to bring them back in?
Thanks so much!
Totally agree with the above. We have put ours out at 6 weeks, 5 weeks and this last batch will be about 4 weeks because the weather is so nice. They won't be mingling with the older chickens till they are older though, for their safety. I always try to transition them so their bodies can get used to the outside weather by putting them out for a few hours during the warmest part of the day and increasing their outside time more and more, till they finally spend the night. This usually takes at least a week because outside temps are usually 20 degrees or more cooler then what mine are used to.
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If they are in with the flock you would be watching to see if they are being injured at all. There will be some pecking while they establish a new pecking order. If any of your chicks are being injured I would say they are not big enough to combine with your older flock yet.
As your chicks have their own space I would watch how they act during the day when it is a bit cooler. So if the sky is cloudy or it is a little windy do they still run around and play and eat and do normal chicken things? If not are they all huddled in the corner trying to keep warm, or do they have their feathers puffed out? If they seem ok and the weather isn't taking a sudden dip then they should be fine. Also watch how they act after staying the night outside. Are any of the birds puffing out their feathers? Do they go in the run or do they stay in the coop and are they eating and drinking? If they look and act normal then they are OK to be outside.
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These are some of my chicks I put outside last February
when the sun was up and took them in at night after the sun
went down but 40F + for tethered out chickens seams resizable ..
the biggie I have found is keeping them out of any drafts at night
and in a safe environment ...
I moved 2 week old chicks into the coop last week (with a lamp) because it was really nice. I made so the chicks could get out of their cage into the main coop, but the grownups couldn't get into the cage, in another week or two, I will turn the cage to make it easier for the chicks to get in and out, while still keeping the big girls out of the way. I'm using a large wire dog crate, and the bottom is large squares it has a tray for the dogs, that I took out so it wouldn't be slippery.

I will make sure there are hiding places outside for the little guys, once I see them venturing that far.
Thanks everyone! I put them outside yesterday, then at 1145 at night, woke up my husband to help me bring them in. omg he puts up with a lot!!!! put them outside again today, seem to be doing well, in and out of the coop, no overly puffed up feathers. Will try to leave them outside all night tonight.
Hi my situation is a little different i have a broody with 2, 2-day-old-chicks, they're running around all over the place for a few mins then huddle back under momma (in a small house) im wondering when she will take them outside? The pop door is always open in the day..

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