When to let chicks out of coop into their yard?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by noelalala, May 18, 2010.

  1. noelalala

    noelalala Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    Hi there!
    I'm new here and new to chicks.
    I have guineas, but assume there are some differences.
    My 12 chicks are about a month old -- moved out to the coop with heat lamp -- temps generally in the 70's and 80's most days now.
    How long should they stay in their coop in order to make sure they're safe and that they learn that this is their home?
    When is it appropriate to let them out into their fenced in yard (which is about 50' x 100')? It's in the woods with lots of leaf litter rather than grass.
    And when I let them forage, I believe I'm hearing that I need to sprinkle "grit" in their food???
    The feed store owner says to wait until their "gizzards"?? are fully developed -- 10 weeks???? But I know chicks raised by hens don't have this restriction.
    I do need to learn more about my little chicks. : )
    Thanks very much!
    : )
    noel
     
  2. fastpat

    fastpat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:How will you prevent them being taken by hawks? They're daytime predators that simply adore chicks at a month old.
     
  3. noelalala

    noelalala Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    Well, they're currently just in their coop.
    So I'm interested in learning about when it's appropriate to let them out.
    When I do let them out, their chicken yard provides some degree of protection from hawks since it's in the woods.
    : )
    noel
     
  4. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    I believe that if a hawk can fly through the trees then they will not be safe. Sometimes hawks have been known to land on a post where they can get down through an opening in netting to get at chickens. They don't necessarily swoop down onto their prey. With little ones I'd be careful or at least cover the top of the run with netting.
     
  5. esthermgr

    esthermgr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2009
    I let my chickens free range at a month old, but only with supervision. If I couldn't be outside with them, I put them in a smaller pen and covered the top with netting or a big sheet of cardboard. That way they could jump, flap, and scratch but be safe.

    I think your feed store guy is way off in his rec that you shouldn't free range them til 10 wks. Mine have been eating grit free choice and foraging for food since they were three weeks old. As long as they have grit free choice, they'll be fine. You do want to keep them away from freshly mown grass, as they can easily get sour crop from the long strands of fibrous material. You can buy grit and sprinkle in food or provide it in a separate tray, or you can do what I do- just let your chickens free range in an area with some sandy pebbly soil and let them eat what they want. A good quality natural chick feed with some slightly larger pieces and some cracked grains in it (not all of it, just a small percentage of the feed) stimulates the gizzard, I've heard. I use Countryside Natural starter feed and have been very very happy with my chickens' growth and health on it.
     
  6. noelalala

    noelalala Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    Thank you!
    By grit free choice, do you mean a choice between food with grit and without?
    If so, offering grit on the side makes good sense. Like you said, so they can get what they want.
    Is there a magic age at which they need or can tolerate grit?

    : )
    noel
     

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