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When can my babies go outside? and some other questions...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jasminty, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. jasminty

    jasminty Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2008
    CA
    Hi,
    I am new to "raising" chicks. In the summer I adopted two ole' gals, but lost one in the fall to internal laying. So of course I had to get more friends for her...

    I have six 5 week old pullets in a playpen in my living room. They have now out grown this arrangement (at least for 24 hour purposes). They are starting to pick at each other a bit, which tells me they are bored and too confined. My problem is, I can't afford to built something to put them in the garage... and I have a whole run and coop already in the back yard.

    I was thinking I could put them outside during the day, and bring them back into the play pen at night. (The other chicken free ranges the yard and could stay separated)

    I'm in Cali, so its not freezing by any means. Temps right now are ranging from 55-40 during the day, and it has gotten down to 27 at night but that's unusually cold.

    When are they old enough to stay outside, for the day? And then when can I leave them out all night? They look pretty well feathered, but they aren't very fat girls... just awkward teens.

    Also I have been spoiling them by leaving the ceramic light on and a heat lamp during the day (this was our stage two brooder, but now the top is "open" so the heat escapes quite a bit). I'm guessing I would want to stop giving them heat now so they can acclimate to their inevitable move to the out of doors. I don't really know what I'm doing!! LOL

    Other things I concerned about is my one lonely girl will only roost at night... never goes in the coop except to lay regardless of the weather (the run is covered). We have broom handle perches which will soon be changed to a 4x4 to she can more easily keep her feet warm... but should I be tucking her into the coop on the nights it gets down to 27ish? She seems fine, I'm probably just being a overly worried mommy, but some mornings when she comes to the back door for a morning hello/treat her little feet look a bit pinkish (and usually muddy) so I assume its probably just from her digging in the cold moist dirt... but cant help but to be concerned.

    And I read somewhere citrus is bad for chickens? Is this true and why? I have an apricot, 1 lemon, and 1 orange tree. I don't want to fence it off as they enjoy the bug supply in the area, they are my pest control!....

    Thanks for helping the newbie!!

    Oh and here's some pics of the girls so you can see how feathered and how big they are... and well how cute and awkward they look!! This was their First day outside ever! LOL

    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  2. A.J.'s

    A.J.'s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 11, 2008
    Tennessee
    Are you serious, or are you joking around?

    I see that you dont like to rely on logic to make your decisions, but just this time you m ight give it some th ought.
    Would you be cold out side with a coat on as nice as theirs? Have you ever gone without a coat in this kind of weather?
    I know that all the time... all the time in our winters the chickens run around in the snow and in the cold rain and dont give it a thought. That makes me think that they are ok with the protection they came with.
    Your chickens are fully feathered out and they woudl be fine outside in any weather at this stage. In fact. sweetie, I suspect they are suffering with your over protection and over doing the heat and care.
    I put my 4 week olds out in an old dog house here with a heat bulb dimmed to very low. the dog house is inside a dog pen and they were fine in zero weather. I turned the light off in the day time because they were outside the house running in the dog pen and pecking at the grass that has survived. They grew more in the first week outside than they did in 3 weeks of being inside the house in a big box and I know they are much happier outside.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  3. jasminty

    jasminty Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2008
    CA
    A.J.'s :

    Are you serious, or are you joking around?

    I'm totally serious.

    Is it ridiculous because they are in my living room in a playpen like spoiled brats?

    Or that they are way too young to be out in the winter?

    LOL​
     
  4. Catalina

    Catalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2007
    Minnesota
    Cute Chickies!
    And a pretty variety! [​IMG]
     
  5. jasminty

    jasminty Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2008
    CA
    A.J.'s :

    Are you serious, or are you joking around?

    I see that you dont like to rely on logic to make your decisions, but just this time you might give it some th ought.
    Would you be cold out side with a coat on as nice as theirs? Have you ever gone without a coat in this kind of weather?
    I know that all the time... all the time in our winters the chickens run around in the snow and in the cold rain and dont give it a thought. That makes me think that they are ok with the protection they came with.
    Your chickens are fully feathered out and they woudl be fine outside in any weather at this stage. In fact. sweetie, I suspect they are suffering with your over protection and over doing the heat and care.
    I put my 4 week olds out in an old dog house here with a heat bulb dimmed to very low. the dog house is inside a dog pen and they were fine in zero weather. I turned the light off in the day time because they were outside the house running in the dog pen and pecking at the grass that has survived. They grew more in the first week outside than they did in 3 weeks of being inside the house in a big box and I know they are much happier outside.

    Well I do know a full grown chicken is fine, even where it snows.
    I just didnt know at what point they are considered fully feathered (they are still patchy a bit in some places), and considering that they where hatched in late fall rather than early spring (as they would in nature), It's not like I'm just following the natural order of things....

    Also I have read that they can/will? (don't quite remember) start out with their baby down, then get their feathers, then have a light molt and get heavier feathers. Since they are slightly patchy, I didn't want to put them out in the cold even if mild, only to have them molt outside in the winter. I find some feathers in their pen..

    I know they aren't suffering from over heat, They are just overly spoiled. (in my house its barely 60 degrees), and they fluff up and cuddle at night and often stay under the heat source. I have always made sure to keep a heat at one end, and a cooler spot at the other so I will see they are trying to get closer or away from the heat and can adjust accordingly. However they are at this point beginning to suffer from lack of space and boredom, which why I wanted to check before they get they go out because clearly they cant stay as they are.

    But now they are all spoiled I am wondering if I should turn the heat off and keep them in for a week to acclimate before putting them out? Or just throw then out and let then fend for themselves.
    There's no electric run to the coop, so they will not longer get any heat at all....​
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I put my babies out at a week old to an out door brooder, they get a 100W bulb and lose it at 6 weeks old. They start to free range at 3 weeks old. Day highs in the spring are in the upper 30's low 40's, night temps are in the 30's. They just go in when they get cold. This past year, it snowed 8 inches when they were 3 weeks old. They did just fine. Just acclimate them slowly and make sure they don't pile. Draft free and no piling will be fine.

    Don't worry about citrus, if they don't like it, they wont eat it, unless bored to tears. Potato peels are supposted to be bad, but mine just pick through them and leave them behind.

    Don't worry, they are tough.
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    Mine are out in the barn in their brooder at three days old with a brooder lamp. At a week old I put them out in a chick tractor. I also have a brooder lamp on it and have a cover for it if it's too cold out. At four weeks they get moved into the nursery coop where I also have a brooder lamp for the colder nights. I live in Florida but when the weather is predicted to get to around 40 I put their lamp on. Actually I have it on a timer.
     
  8. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I don't think you're ridiculous at all. Those are all very good questions, especially if you are new to chickens.
    Your girls are beautiful. That EE in the middle looks just like my Robin (who has grown into a STUNNING hen!).
    My first round lived in the house for four weeks. By then the weather outside was warm enough to move to the enclosed run and coop. I didn't let them freerange for a while and even then I was a nervous wreck. After living in the house they were pets and I was terribly worried! They did fine though and now range around like little troupers. [​IMG]
    Trust your gut about the weather. If it's too cold where you live, then it's too cold. They are remarkably hardy little critters. I have a hen that hatched out four about a week and a half ago. The temps outside were down into the teens (and one night at 9deg!). I was terribly worried as I don't have a heat lamp in the coop. They're fine! Even being so tiny and fragile, those four are going strong. Mama had them out in the cold and rainy run after a few days and they ran around like crazy. Granted, on the super cold days they run around for a few minutes and then dive back up under mama to warm up. But the point is that they are thriving and they don't have feathers at all. Just fuzz. Your girls will be okay.

    Is your coop insulated? Is it draft free? As long as they can't get wet or chilled, they are fine. They will huddle up together and be snuggley fine. You will likely be a nervous wreck the first night you leave them out but they will be okay. [​IMG]

    Oh, and welcome to BYC. Ignore the hateful, snarky people. Most folks here are really nice and totally helpful!
    [​IMG]
     
  9. jaybme

    jaybme Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]

    I suffer from over-protectionitis also!

    I am trying to get over it also, by letting my 6 week old chicks outside in the day time and I put them in the garage overnight. I shut their light off during the day at 4/5 weeks, and entirely off last week. This week they go outside during the sunny days, and into the garage at night.

    Probably this weekend I will introduce them to my other chickens (evil silkies lol), and then next week I will put them out for good.

    I KNOW I keep them in too long, though. My sister lives in the central valley in California ( cold winter and hot summer) and she puts her chicks out without heat/light THE FIRST DAY! They are fine and live well, so I guess I reaalllyyy over do it.

    No matter what, it makes sense to "wean" chicks from warm indoor temps to outdoor temps over a week or two depending on temps, IMO.

    Good luck!
     
  10. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Now I am really confused!! The info on the forum for raising chicks says that you should start with brooder heat at 95 degrees and reduce it by 5 degrees per week. That would mean that by 6 weeks, the temp should be 70 degrees, 50 degrees by 10 weeks.

    However, this thread suggest that you can throw them out in the cold much sooner!!!

    I need to know how much time I can give my DH to build the coop (or not get chicks until the coop is almost done!!!)

    Also, how long could you keep 6 chicks in a 50 gal container or a Extra large Dog crate???

    I also live in California (SF Bay Area), so below freezing temps are usually gone by the end of January.

    Thanks!!

    Cindy
     

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