When to move pullets out of the brooder?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 3, 2013
Lexington, MA
It has been posted on BYC and at other online sources, that somewhere between 6-8 weeks is the time to transfer your pullets from the brooder to their permanent living quarters. I have four, six week old pullets that are in the brooder and I have a couple of concerns about moving them outside to the coop and run.

This is why: all of them were hatched at the same time BUT three of them are fully feathered and getting to be rather big-too big to be in the brooder. The fourth one we will call a late bloomer-smaller than all the rest and has maybe a quarter of her feathers. All four of them eat and drink their fill. Upon handling each of them, I can feel their keel bones but not their rib cages. Seems to be some muscle on either side of the keel bone but not much.

I live in Massachusetts and it is now autumn, where temperatures are in the low 40's at night. Should the pullets have more muscle on either side of the keel bone before being moved outside?

Should the one who has not feathered out remain in the brooder until fully feathered? I am a little concerned about keeping just the one pullet in the brooder alone. It would likely be stressful for her to be separated.

Can anyone please advise if they should be moved soon or if it would be better to wait to move all of them together in a couple of weeks; and if the weight is normal for birds of that age?

Thank you!
I will assume that there are no other chickens in the coop. Move them now, even the one without a full coat. It will hasten growing its feathers, while the weather isn't too cold yet and they will still huddle to keep each other warm and company, They are young yet, and unless they are meat birds they will still be thin.
You're supposed to be able to feel the keel bones on layers, that's normal. I agree moving the slower bird may help her feather out faster. Lots of times I think we keep birds too warm in the brooder and inhibit their feather growth. My broody raised babies always feather out a lot faster than my brooder babies.

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