When to move chicks to new quarters?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ObamaBrahma, May 18, 2011.

  1. ObamaBrahma

    ObamaBrahma Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2011
    I live up in northern Canada. Although we can still be prone to frosts until early June, the night-time termpatures are hovering around 3-5 degrees Celsius, or 38 to 42 degrees Farenheit. So, I'm wondering if it is okay to move chicks to an area brooder within our outdoor coop (I obviously would move the heat lamp)

    I picked up 25 chicks about a week ago (20 barred rocks, 4 buff orpingtons, 1 buff brahma). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get chicks of all the same age. At the moment, 10 are about 1 week old and 14 are 2 weeks old (we lost one young one to some sort of illness). I think the 2 week-old chicks are ready to be put in a brooder in the coop (size and feathers are really starting to come in), but I'm a little concerned about the 1 week-old chicks. Their primaries are just starting to develop and they are quite a bit smaller.

    So far, everyone gets along great. Just a little bit of pecking, but I thinking that's just to develop the pecking order. The little guys still feed and drink and they all sleep together (ie they don't segregate based on age). I don't want to mess with this dynamic by segregating them for a week and then putting them back together.

    So, I guess my questions are:

    1) Are these guys ready to go to a brooder within the outdoor coop? I will make an area brooder within the coop, so that they don't have full reign of the coop yet. I will obviously move the heat lamp with them (250 W).

    2) Should I just move the 2 week old chicks and leave the younger ones in the indoor brooder for another few days until they are a bit bigger? I know it's not ideal to have different aged chicks, but the woman I got the chicks from felt that they were close enough in age that it wouldn't matter. So far she's been right.

    Also, an unrelated question...

    3) Is it okay to feed the chicks earthworms? I caught a few ants the other day and I have slowly been feeding them to the older chicks. They love it and it is highly entertaining to watch them play keep away. I know grouse chicks eat insects as they develop, so I assume it's fine for chickens. I just wasn't sure about earthworms.

    Thanks so much. Clearly I have lot's to learn...
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'd move them all. I almost always have chicks a week apart in bunches. (just what happens when you buy some feed store chicks, they are rarely all the same age.)

    Sounds like they need more space and the coop will provide it. I brood out in the barn successfully. I brooded this batch, this spring in March and early April and we have nights in the 20's on the Fahrenheit scale. The trick is simply to have a draft free environment. I also use multiple lamps to create two or even three circles of heat. I use a 250, a couple of 150watt bulbs. There is a failsafe in that if one bulb burns out, there is still a couple giving heat.

    I don't think you'll have any problems at all.

  3. Farmer_Dan

    Farmer_Dan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    It's ok to brood wherever as long as you keep an eye on the temperature of the brooder. Make sure it's age-appropriate (or at least close). If they live near the other chicks, that's the best as they get to gossip and chat about the weather. This chatter inevitably leads to friendship and potentially even courting and such, but I digress...

    Now, WORMS!! They love them, in fact, if you think it's fun watching them with ants, wait until they get a big long worm longer than they are tall! Now that's a site to see. I fed my 3 week old chicks a mouse the other day. It was practically dead, cat was playing with it in the yard. I caught it and tossed it in the brooder. WOWOWOW! They were running full steam around the brooder with it in their little beaks, dangling it from the tail, for the next day and a half.

    Fine fresh family fun! [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by