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Will it be okay to free range 8-9 week olds with adults?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kat w, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. kat w

    kat w Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2011
    I have 3 8-9 week old chicks and 2 adults. The 2 adults are currently in a coop - no run, and free range in my backyard situation. The chicks are in my laundry room and I want them out. I could put them outside in a box and heat lamp. However, I am noticing that the chicks are happier when they are not in their box when I let them out in the backyard once in a while under supervision.

    The 2 hens (1 especially) do try to peck and jump on the chicks, but I have noticed that the chicks try to avoid the hens. I am thinking about a coop for the chicks that has a entrance for the chicks that the hens can't fit through and letting them free range. Would the hens continually hound the chicks or do you think they will get pecked/jumped and then left alone? So far, I have shoo'ed the pecking hen away after an initial peck/jump. If I wasn't there, do you think the hens would cause bleeding injuries?

    If I free range them together, I'd spend some time monitoring the situation trying to teach the chicks to go into their coop/box if they are being particularly harassed and then let them go unsupervised.

    Bad idea or not?
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    In what area do you live? Have the chicks been acclimated to outdoor temps? What's the size of your chicken coop?
    I'm asking these questions to get a better idea of what to advise.
    But yes, letting them free range together is a good idea, under supervision for several days. With enough space, the chicks will just run if a hen goes after them. I'd make sure there is more than one feeder available so the chicks can eat (and remember, you don't want the chicks eating layer feed) without being chased away. I doubt a chick would be killed in a free range situation.
  3. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Kat, I made a chick hide-out out of some scrap 2x4 welded wire. It is about two feet wide (and tall) and three feet long. It only has three sides and I attach it to the wall in a corner so that there is a top, front and one end (it's like a box in the corner.) The half grown and grown birds can't get in there but the chicks can. I use it inside the coop so that the chicks can get in and out and the older ones can get used to them. The chicks can get pecked but soon learn to stay far away from the bigger ones. I put water and chick starter inside the hide-out so they can stay all day if the hens are especially mean to them. If you want, give it a try and let me know if I can help.
  4. kat w

    kat w Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2011
    I live in a suburban area, sort of. It's the city of Tucson -- but it's not urban in the conventional sense. The chicks haven't been acclimated to outdoor temps completely -- but it's around 55 at the lowest in the day (we're experiencing a cold spell atm) but usually higher. It can get to around freezing at night, but I intend to use a heat lamp if they're outside. Currently, my laundry room gets around 55 at the lowest, usually 60 and they do not have a heat lamp. My thought is that they can go inside the coop if they get too cold.

    The size of my chicken coop is tiny -- I think maybe only 4 square feet. It will need to be expanded, but not much more, when the other three gets fully integrated. I used to have a very large coop (around 50 square feet) but due to noise complaints, the coop is now in the tool shed...so...more space will need to be dedicated to coop space soon. This tiny coop is why the chickens are free range.

    But I'm happy to hear that I may be able to free range them as two "separate" flocks in the same area until they are old enough to be cooped up with the adults. I am getting tired of them in my laundry room and I think they are getting more than tired of being cooped up in a box, which, may be big enough "at minimum" is not nearly big enough to not be bored in. And they can't stretch their wings.

    Hopefully I can set something up this weekend. If I have any problems, I know I'll be back to ask!

    (Thank you for my advice!!)

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