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when to put chicks of different development outside

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by egglicious, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. egglicious

    egglicious Songster

    May 7, 2011
    I don't know if my title makes much sense so let me explain. I have a mixed flock of banty and standard chicks. The standards are darn near feathered out and I expect will be ready to be outside soon. But the bantams will need a little more time, especially this one little silkie who seems behind the others. I want to put them all outside at the same time, but will the standards start to lose it if they have to wait? It's important to me to keep them together as I don't want them to forget each other since there is such a size difference... thanks in advance!

  2. mk4lh

    mk4lh In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2009
    If the weather is warm enough you can let them outside for short period of times. Just keep a close eye on the ones that aren't fully feathered out yet.
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If your weather is warm enough, I might put them out together for several hours during the day, and bring the bantams in at night for another week or two. That way they'll stay use to one another from daytime exposure.
    If your weather isn't warm enough for the bantams to be out for a few hours each day, the as long as your brooder isn't tiny, the bigger chicks won't know any difference, since they haven't had that taste of freedom yet. You could always grab a stove or fridge box from some home improvement store if your brooder is getting tight and you want to keep them all in for a bit longer. There are people (late fall through early spring) who brood their chicks for up to 6 weeks, so they'll adapt.
  4. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    Keep them all together until your ready to move them outside at once. Otherwise, you will have to go through an integration process. They will forget each other just in the matter of days and the integration could be a nightmare. You might have to make adjustments in the brooder, like putting the lamp in the far corner. Good luck.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't know enough from your post to give real specific answers. How many total chicks you have, your weather, your current brooder set-up, or what your outside set-up looks like. I'll try to help.

    Many hatcheries will only ship several chicks together, 15 to 25, so they can keep each other warm in the box while being shipped. The more you have, up to a point, the more they can help keep each other warm. Its not a huge issue but it helps to have more.

    The main thing with your weather is how cool it gets at night. There is a conservative, very safe rule of thumb to start your chicks in the temperature range of 90 to 95 degrees F the first week and drop that temperature by 5 degrees every week. When the "recommended" temperature matches your night-time lows, they can very safely go outside. I'll give a chart.

    1st week - 0 to 7 days old - 90 to 95 degrees
    2nd week - 8 to 14 days old - 85 to 90 degrees
    3rd week - 15 to 21 days old - 80 to 85 degrees
    4th week - 22 to 28 days old - 75 to 80 degrees
    5th week - 29 to 35 days old - 70 to 75 days old

    So if your night-time low is mid 70's and they are 22 days old, they can go outside. Most chicks are fully feathered by 4 to 5 weeks old so they can pretty much go outside after 5 weeks anyway. Many of us with experience violate this chart but for someone just starting out, these are very safe numbers. For example, this year with the lows in the 70's, I had a broody take her 2 week old chicks to the roosts at night. Two or three did not make it to the roosts the first couple of nights, but slept together on the top of a 2x4 bracing on the side of the coop wall. By this chart, at 2 weeks old, they should have had 80 degree minimums, but they did fine in the 70's. They could not all sleep under her on the roosts anyway.

    Will the standards lose it if they have to wait? They could all lose it, not just the standards. It depends on the brooder. The problems are usually space and heat. If the brooder is hot, they can get a bad attitude. I can get kind of grouchy if I'm uncomfortably hot too. Healthwise, chickens handle cool better than hot too, with that down coat. But if you have a brooder where part of it is cooler than the recommended temperatures, they can find their own comfort zone. The other big issue is space. They grow very fast. I hate to give a square foot requirement since there is a big difference if you have three versus thirty, but it sounds like you have several. I've done OK with 1/2 a square foot (72 square inches) per chick until they are about 4 weeks old, but I had thirty, not three. They may have been OK a little longer but they were starting to look pretty crowded.

    The other issue is what your outside looks like. Your coop is probably quite a bit bigger than your brooder, so they will love the extra space. I suggest locking them in the coop with no access to the run for at least a week anyway to get them used to sleeping in the coop. That makes your life a lot easier. But if your coop is dry and pretty much draft free where they are sleeping, they can go outside earlier than in a drafty coop that might get wet if it rains. One on the ground is usually warmer than one that is elevated, but in either, if you have bedding they can snuggle dow in that to keep warm if they want to. That is not all that important though. They may sleep in a bunch on the floor, not for warmth but for comfort, or they may start to roost. As long as it is draft-free, it really does not matter that much. But the main thing is dry and draft free.

    Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!
  6. egglicious

    egglicious Songster

    May 7, 2011
    Thanks all! After reading all the responses I now feel comfortable leaving them inside until all of them are feathered out. There are ten of them, and the tank they are in is a huge livestock feeding tank and has the light on one side so that they can escape the heat if needed. I try to get them outside every day for a short bit but it's not always possible. I live in the Northwest and we are having 50 degree nights up here. It's cold! Anyway, thank again for such thoughtful responses. I really appreciate the help! [​IMG][​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011

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