When to move chicks outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dsmchickens, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. dsmchickens

    dsmchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Des Moines, IA
    I have some 6 week old pullets who are starting to outgrow their border. We have highs of around 45 and lows of 28-30 for the next two days. This weekend it's suppose to warm up with highs of 50+++ and lows of 40++s. this is only my 2nd batch if chicks and the others were in the summer so my question is- is it safe for them to move outside now @ 6 weeks? Should I hold off?? And what day should I move them out? They are mainly of the heat source and seem to be doing fine without it- no huddling etc.

    Thanks for all help.
     
  2. Brechin

    Brechin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2012
    East Bay, CA
    Having lived in Alaska and now California, I can say that chickens are very tolerant of most conditions, even at a young age. The main question is, how many of them are there? And of course, where will they be kept if moved outside? [​IMG]

    If you have 6 or more then you might be just fine putting them out with the others. All chickens, even the babies, will roost all snuggled up together at night to stay warm. They will especially be fine if you have a nicely enclosed coop that will keep them out of direct drafts and outdoor weather. I am assuming that because of your location you do not have an open air coop, so I think your babies might be OK outside in a nice warm coop all roosting together.

    Now, in the Alaskan winters I used to put out my pullets between 6-8 weeks old. For especially cold nights I had insulated curtains that I would close. These covered all of the windows and doors and simply velcro attached to the door frame and window frames. But these were for temps in the 15 through -20 range. [​IMG]

    In your case, I would make sure the roost bars are well under any windows or draft spots and put a heat lamp out there if it makes you more comfortable. I always recommend heading to Petco or Petsmart and picking up a Flukers Dimmable Clamp Lamp and a red or purple night time heat bulb, these are all found in the reptile section. The base is rated for over 1000 watts, if you take off the hood, and you can dim the lights for more or less warmth. Mine go from the home made incubator, to the brooder, to outside (if needed).

    Hope this helps! [​IMG]
     
    3 people like this.
  3. dsmchickens

    dsmchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Des Moines, IA
    It is 11 chicks and a warm coop with an insulated roof and draft free. When I move them out they will be combined with the older 7 laying hens. What feed should I feed all of them together? Thanks for your help and advice
     
  4. dsmchickens

    dsmchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Des Moines, IA
    thank you very much! i think i will move them outside. now one more quick question- what food should i give both them and the laying hens? thank you very much.
     
  5. farmboy22

    farmboy22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2012
    At 3 weeks of age, chicks are resistant to freezing temperatures, so your chicks should be fine. I put mine out fully at 3 weeks old in late march last year. However I had 24 chicks
     
  6. Little Wing

    Little Wing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 19, 2012
    Houston, Texas
    I have not had good luck moving chicks in with hens because the hens pick on the chicks bad.
     
  7. dsmchickens

    dsmchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Des Moines, IA
    even if the chicks out number the hens?
     
  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    3 weeks is too young to be without a supplemental heat source. Chicks should be at least 6 weeks old and fully feathered out before putting them outside.

    Hens may pick on the chicks, or they may not. You will have to watch them closely at first.

    You can feed an all-age ration such as Flock Raiser, or a grower/finisher ration. Just be sure to keep calcium available free choice for your laying hens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Mr MKK FARMS

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sep 27, 2012
    I have fifteen week old barred rocks, and I'm about to put them outside!
     
  10. Brechin

    Brechin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2012
    East Bay, CA
    When I add new pullets to my laying flock I just put everyone on the youngest pullet's feed. Laying hens can eat the young lady feed as long as you provide lots of free choice oyster shell (nice and high for only big girls to reach easily) to give them the extra calcium needed. *Never* feed your young pullets laying feed as the extra calcium and protein levels can damage their growing organs (kidney's and such).

    As far as the older hens possibly picking on the younger ones, everyone has a different story. You will never know unless you try, just keep a very close eye on the interactions when you introduce. A couple things that might work for you if you have the space and time:

    -Set up a chicken run along the fence line of the main run for the babies to be in. That way the older hens can see the new ones and decide how they feel.
    OR
    -If you free range, introduce the new chicks to the coop very late at night when the hens are sleepy or asleep. In the morning, let everyone out immediately to free range.

    The most important thing I have noticed is to make sure that the young ladies have a place to run in case they do get pecked on. As long as they can run and hide they can avoid the pecking until your older hens calm down and accept it. By then your little ones will be old enough to turn around and give a "KNOCK IT OFF" peck in return. And make sure you provide a few extra food and water spots in the run or throughout the free range area so there are no squabbles over resources between old and new chickens.

    GOOD LUCK! AND HAPPY CHICKENS! [​IMG]
     
    3 people like this.

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