When to let the chicks out of the brooding area

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HennyPenny5, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. HennyPenny5

    HennyPenny5 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 6, 2012
    Ok, here's the scene. The chicks are 3 weeks old today. They have, for the most part lost all the fuzzy down and got their feathers. They have more than tripled in size and seem to be getting anxious to get out of the brooding area we have set up for them. Since they were all raised together since they were 1 to 2 days old, I wouldn't think there would be too much of a problem with putting them all in the "yard" area at the same time. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? We are considering giving them their freedom this weekend.
     
  2. Becci

    Becci Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2012
    AL
    Once they have their feathers you can work on getting them outside. If it's cold out you'll
    need
    to gradually get them used to the colder temperatures, even with their feathers, drastic
    temperature changes would be a huge shock for them. Maybe put a heat lamp in their coop,
    just for the time being. Lower the wattage of the bulb every week until you're down to no bulb.

    Quote:
    If you're asking about separating them or putting all of them out at once - keep them all together.
    They need each other to huddle with.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Generally speaking, three weeks is a little young to be out in a cold climate. It's not just feathering, but body mass as well, that keeps them warm. Small birds have more surface area per volume than larger birds.

    If you decide to put them out at this age, make sure that they have a draft-free place with a low ceiling to help trap body heat. Of course, if you are in a 70+F degree environment, then it should not be a problem no matter what you do.

    I have always waited until six weeks to let them out.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    As long as you can provide a warm spot for them to go to, to warm up, as needed, where they are is irrelevant. A brooder is merely mimicking a broody hen. She would have had them outside from the get go. Many folks brood outdoors, weather permitting.

    There have been chickens in the wild, or feral chickens, that no one ever provided them a brooding "box". Use your best judgement and they'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  5. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    True, but mortality rates of wild animals is higher than most backyard chickenkeepers would tolerate.
     
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  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I have confidence that HennyPenny5 will provide for the chick's security. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. HennyPenny5

    HennyPenny5 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 6, 2012
    Thank you all for your advise. Yesterday we put them all in the yard. They love it! They look so happy, walking around stretching their wings, and scratching. Some even made the "I found something over here" noise, but kinda low key. We did put the brooder light over on that side with them so they will stay warm. Now to build the laying boxes...
     

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