When to let my babies out full-time?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hoping4better, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. hoping4better

    hoping4better Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    Alright, I know I have weeks to go, but I like to be prepared. I've also read that at about 6 weeks they can have the light off and roam when it's warm, but that time will be near winter, so when should I let them out and put them in a coop? Right now I've got 20 dominique, and something else muts. They're almost two weeks and already nearly have full feathered wings and tails and their backs are getting feathers as well. They were in a small 3 by 5, but nearly a week ago I noticed they were cramped, so now they're roaming a 4x8 space in the living room. The kids love it and they won't leave them alone - good and bad I suppose.

    So anyway, I need to know when I need to go out and build a coop for them. Basically my coop plans are to have a solid bottom and solid sides only about 12" up. Then in a tall arch using PVS or wood as a support I will stretch chicken wire over the top. Over this I plan to stretch tarps for weatherproofing. Floor space will be about 8x8. I'm thinking for free ranging birds this should be enough floor space. Fully covered nesting boxes will be at the back of the coop. My coop plans are planned this way to keep it light enough that it can be moved regularly and use material on hand to keep costs down.

    Any suggestions, guidance etc is VERY welcome. I'm only just over a week into this and trying to learn absolutely everything I can. I just bought the little critters the Saturday before last at three days old and now they're all healthy, chirping and happy and have nearly doubled in size!
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They'll be ready for weather when they are fully feathered. Usually 14-16 weeks. In warmer climates they will be ready earlier. Not quite sure why you are telling us about your coop -- do you have concerns about it? First thing everyone will say is it won't be predator proof, which it won't.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  3. JennyDillyAnna

    JennyDillyAnna Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2010
    Durham, NC
    My big suggestion is to start building now. The weeks fly by fast and having that many in you living room for the next few weeks when they practically double in size every week. Oh and the flying! Mine started flying out of the 22" tall brooder at week 3. I'd be afraid. 20 chicks digging in my rug looking for bugs, constantly putting them back in and securing the top. Escape artists.

    We only have three chicks, but the ladies out grew their indoor brooder quick. Looked cramped but not pecking and irritable, they would just give me the sad chicken face look. We were building all the time prior to their arrival. The morning after the paint cured, DH went down and was shocked to see how big they looked at 5, 6, and 9 weeks. I have a lamp for the real cold nights, especially because the coop is large and there is only three birds.

    What you have in mind for plans sounds doable. Just do everything you can to predator proof the top with the tarp. No chicken wire, use hardware cloth.
  4. hoping4better

    hoping4better Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    Good to know about the flying. I hadn't thought about that even though they are already jumping and flapping constantly. The top of the brooder is covered at about three feet, so it shouldn't be too big of a problem. They will probably outgrow the brooder in just a couple of weeks I guess. Constantly building eh? I guess I'll be doing the same with as many chicks as I've got.

    I did mention the coop because I was hoping for other input. Thanks for the tip on the hardware cloth, I guess some critters could reach through the 1" chicken wire? The cloth will be sandwiched between the solid side and another board with screws through it, so I couldn't imaging anything short of a bear getting in. Maybe I'm underestimating the coyote's or dogs that are in the neighborhood?

    In case you hadn't guessed, I grew up in the city (los angeles) and am new to the country life, so any tips would be appreciated. I'm loving every minute of it though.

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