When to move fall chicks into coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mr.hutch23, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. mr.hutch23

    mr.hutch23 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    WE are in Northern Vermont. It got down to the teens last night and will probably be down into the twenties most nights this week. I've got 13 eight week-old chicks (mostly dominiques) in the basement and I'm wondering when I should move them into the outdoor coop. I've got a well ventilated, 8x14 coop with 6 hens in it now. Should I move them out there now when they are 8 weeks old and the nights are relatively mild or wait until they are 12 weeks old but they might have to instantly deal with sub-zero temps? I'm not leaving them in the basement all winter.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Move on out!! It isn't going to get any warmer, as you say. 8 week olds are mighty "active" and well, all the rest, to have indoors any longer. It is as warm as it is going to be until March, so the choice is yours. Move out now, or wait until March. [​IMG]
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    So, what is the plan on integration? You know there will be horrors from chicken politics. Can you put a temporary netting in the coop? Subdividing it so they can see each other for a few days?
     
  4. mr.hutch23

    mr.hutch23 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    THey've spent some time in the yard together and the older hens (Australorps) are pretty mellow with them. I think I'm going to put the little ones in the coop and the hens in the basement, then reintroduce the hens back into the coop a couple at a time for a few days. What do you think?

    I'm leaning toward moving them into the coop sooner rather than later but my wife worries that they are not old enough to deal with these temperatures at 8 weeks old. Thoughts?
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Plenty old enough. There is nothing to be gained by waiting. They are as feathered as they are going to get. The only thing waiting will get you is the possibility of even colder December/January temperatures.

    It is possible removing the dominant female hen will help. But if you leave her out of the flock for very long, the order just has to get re-established all over again anyhow.
    The size and maturity difference is huge. It does concern me. I'll pm you a video link to my "division" using a chunk of netting.
    The flock you see, both flocks, are now integrated. It took a few days. I always wait until they match up in size better, but you don't have that luxury. Winter is coming.
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    mr.hutch23 :

    THey've spent some time in the yard together and the older hens (Australorps) are pretty mellow with them. I think I'm going to put the little ones in the coop and the hens in the basement, then reintroduce the hens back into the coop a couple at a time for a few days. What do you think?

    I'm leaning toward moving them into the coop sooner rather than later but my wife worries that they are not old enough to deal with these temperatures at 8 weeks old. Thoughts?

    If they're fully feathered out, and your coop is draft free, then they are old enough. And I like your plan about moving the hens out temporarily to give the little ones some confidence, and then putting a few hens at a time back in... I would consider adding hens back in at a time when you can be there to supervise pretty closely...perhaps over a weekend???​
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  7. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    If you worry about warmth you could always set up a heat light in the coop at night so that they can snuggle under it and get warm. By 8 weeks though they should be fully feathered and ready for any weather. I have a group of 8 weeks old as of this upcoming weekend who will be moving from my hay room into the coop so that they can get some outside time. They don't really seem to want to go outside though they would rather play in the barn and jump on each other lol.
     

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