When can chicks make the move?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Mel Lloyd, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. Mel Lloyd

    Mel Lloyd In the Brooder

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    We currently have 4 chicks in a 5'x2' trough in a room in the house.
    3 weeks old
    we wanted to move the entire brooder out into the garage and put a heat lamp above them.
    how long until they can be transitioned to an enclosed coop/house within our chicken run to start introducing to the adults? don't want to put light on them in outdoor House, it's too small and afraid it'll catch fire.
     

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  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, depending on weather, my chicks go outside during the day with a huddle box they can stay warm together in, no heat lamp. That's anywhere close to 50 degrees. And that would be anytime from about 1 week on.

    Otherwise for over night, I wouldn't be comfy with NO heat until between 6-8 weeks old (our overnight lows are often around 40). But day time ventures start as young as possible here, with a look but don't touch set up. And most my birds are ranging with the bigs by 8 weeks... this year being the exception because I have had heavy hawk predation. So they are still in their set up... just not getting practice avoiding the ladies and with boundaries.

    Some people use a heating pad to provide heat without the fire danger.

    My daytime huddle box is simply a card board box with no bottom and the opening to enter facing south for the sun. When a bunch or few chicks get in there it retains their own heat and blocks any breeze. Under 10 mph breeze is irrelevant here. But much beyond that and it's a tad uncomfy.

    If you haven't already done so... bringing a plug of dirt/grass clump from your yard will let the chicks be entertained and give them some exposure to the microbes in your soil to help them build some immunity before being tossed out full time, in addition to providing some natural grit. :)

    So in your instance, I might take them to their daytime location and return to the brooder for evening until your transition is complete.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Hi Mel. My chicks are brooded with MHP system in an outdoor coop starting almost immediately after they come out of the incubator. (you might want to review @Blooie 's articles and thread on the system for future reference) Outside temps at the start are in 20's at night. By the time they wean themselves from heat at 4 - 5 weeks of age, the night time temps may be down to low 30's, with day time temps 50 - 75*.

    By 3 weeks of age, your chicks should be weaned from supplemental heat if they are in your house. They should be exposed to increasingly longer periods of time outdoors. By 4 - 5 weeks of age, they should be fine in an outdoor coop that is dry and draft free. As PP states, a huddle box (or even a wool hen) can be employeed to bridge the gap between no heat and their "big girl" status.
     
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  4. Mel Lloyd

    Mel Lloyd In the Brooder

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    Thanks so much! We have one of those chicken houses you can buy at Tractor Supply that is set up within the main chicken run, which is approx. 50' x 35'. so in this mini-house, could we put the littles in there and let them go freely inside the house if they choose, without heat? And what is a wool hen and where could I get one ... It's still fairly cold here in Williamstown, KY (6" of snow today, which is unusual, but that's how unpredictable our weather is.) I just hate the thought of artificial heat (lamp) for fear of fire in the small house ... your insight is so appreciated! We're new parents as of a year ago, and the adults are doing very well, just first time with chicks!
     
  5. Mel Lloyd

    Mel Lloyd In the Brooder

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    Thanks so much! Very helpful! It's still pretty cold here, 6" of snow today, and although that's pretty unusual, our weather in this part of the country is extremely unpredictable! That being said, I'd like to try the huddle box if necessary, but if I put them in our little mini-coop (which is one of those houses/pens that you get at Tractor Supply), which is within our 50'x35' chicken run, couldn't they go inside at will to keep warm? And then I could put them in their evening brooder with heat lamp at night? Thoughts? We are new parents to chicks, our adults we've had about a year and they're doing wonderful
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Mel, given your set up, and weather patterns, this is what I would recommend: Move them to the garage for now. Work on weaning them off heat there during the day, starting with a few minutes at a time, increasing to an hour at a time and so on. They will tell you if they are cold. Can you give them a bigger brooder space in the garage? The heat lamp should only provide a tiny little foot print of warm space. You can do a thread search for huddle box and wool hen. By NEXT weekend, they will be much more ready to move out. If you have been successful at weaning them in your garage, and they are using the wool hen or huddle box, you will then be confident to move them out for good. And they can take their wool hen or huddle box with them. I would not want to put chicks out in unsettled outdoor temps until they were 4 - 5 weeks old without their MHP. Either way, moving them to the garage will get your house back! And even if you take your time weaning them, they will not be filling your home full of dander. I've had good success brooding chicks in the garage b/c I can open the door on nice days, so they get lots of sunshine and exposure to ambient outdoor temps. If you can "marry" some 1/2" hardware cloth to an appliance box, that will give you a nice big open fronted brooder in your garage! Simply use zip ties to attach the hdw cloth to the appliance box.
     
    EggSighted4Life likes this.
  7. Mel Lloyd

    Mel Lloyd In the Brooder

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    Great advice, and thank you so much! Tomorrow we move the littles!!! That is, to the garage, with heat lamp only in a tiny corner of the pen. Open doors on nice days, and move to big coop next weekend. My question is, if they are in their "mini-coop", that's within the big run, not accessible to the adults but within eyesight, would they be ok to go into the little house on their own if they're cold ... it has a little ramp up to one of the access doors. that way they can somewhat interact with the adults, but are safe from the pecking order until they're a bit bigger. but they're still outside, and have protection. I just don't know how "smart" chicks are and if they'll go in the house on their own ... I don't want to put a heat lamp in the little house because it's just too dangerous ...
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    IMO, they will not be smart enough to go into the little coop on their own. You will just have to supervise and see how it goes. Can you show a pic of your set up?
     
  9. blackdog043

    blackdog043 Crowing

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    For the first few days or so, you will probably have to put them inside the coop at night, until they learn.
    They will also be wary of the new set up. If you put them in the coop to start, they may a while to come out and go down the ramp to the run, but they will get the hang of it.
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    I agree they won't yet know how to use the ramp or yet recognize the new warmth location. My chicks usually take several days, depending on the size of brood. Larger broods have more adventurers so goes faster. Smaller broods are way more cautious.

    But usually within a few days of moving and usually *some* training.... That might be the one time I put feed inside the coops, when I'm first training chicks to their new home/ramp. And I might even put little treats on the ramp itself to encourage their curiosity. Meal worms are a hit.

    And I will note that we use the term smart enough too, but really it's more like experienced enough. :cool:
     

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