When are Chicks Ready

Question
When are Chicks Ready: I was wondering: How long does it take for a store bought chick that’s been hatched to go in to a bigger coop from its small warm more protective coop?

Answer
It’s good to keep chicks in a brooder with a heat lamp until they out grow it, either too crowded or the chicks are getting too tall.

When young, one of the most important things in their care is that they stay warm enough. Different breeds mature differently, so I couldn’t say at what age yours would be ready for an outdoor coop.

I like to provide a heat lamp for chicks until I see they never use it. Removing their source of heat, when temperatures are cold, or they can’t get warm enough, will cause serious and possibly life threatening health problems.

A group of chicks can help keep each other warmer, but not as warm as a mother hen or heat lamp.

Moving them to a coop has a lot to do with the safety there as well as warmth. Putting chicks in with adult chickens can be dangerous for the chicks.

They may get picked on and bullied and not do well. As long as they can get to food and water and heat and are safe from larger animals and predators, you could move them to a coop anytime you want.

Make sure there are no places they can get out of the area you want them in and that night predators like: rats, snakes, opossoms, raccoons, cats, dogs, or larger cannot get to them. With no momma hen to protect them, they are defenseless.

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Are they ready for outside coop

Question
Are they ready for outside coop: My buff chicks are about 6wk old and have most of their feathers.

We live in Ga. temp are in the 60's during the day so we allow the chicks to roam around outside during the day. Is it ok to permanently house the hens in their new coop?

Answer
Only if you have a heat lamp for them and there are no drafts. 6 week old chicks need at least 70 degrees F from a heat source to remain healthy. Night time temps are too unpredictable this time of year.

I always offer a heat lamp to young birds until I see them roosting away from it consistently and the night time temps are higher.

They have to maintain a certain body temperature or their immune system fails. They always seem to know how to accomplish that if they have a heat lamp.

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Outdoors for 8 Wk Old Chicks

by Carolina Moon
(Portland, OR)

Question:
Outdoors for 8 Wk Old Chicks: What kind of weather do 7 to 8 week old chickens need to spend their day in their outdoor pen? They haven't caught on to going up the ramp to warmer temperature in their coop.

Do you think 50 degrees outdoors is warm enough at this age? They have full coats of feathers. Thanks! (Their indoor brooder temp is 65-70 degrees.)

Answer:
50 degrees is a bit cool. I would recommend keeping them in the coop until temperatures are warmer out doors.

I find it's always best to introduce chicks and chickens to their coop first for a few days, then offer access to the outdoor pen. I would suggest they continue to have access to warmth from a heat lamp day and night.

When they no longer use the heat lamp you could assume temperatures are warm enough. Any breezes outdoors cause a wind chill factor and can blow warmth from their feathers, making impossible to stay warm.

At this age optimum temperatures are vital for growth and maturing of internal organs as well as their bodies. Temperatures that don't allow them to maintain optimum body temperature can cause long term harm to major organs and systems.

Chicks know how to stay warm enough, if a heat source is provided. I find it's best to allow the chicks to wean themselves from the heat lamp, rather than to rely on exact temperatures.

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Leghorns From brooder to ground

Question
Leghorns From brooder to ground: I would like to know how long before my leghorn chicks will be ready to go to the ground.

Answer
This depends on the outdoor temperatures or if you can provide a heat lamp for them on the ground. Young chicks are in need of protection from predators as well as from getting too cold.

If you can provide a heat lamp, and they are well feathered, transferring them from the brooder should be an easy transition.

I prefer not to mix young chickens with adults as the adults can be hard on them when they have no mother to protect them. Free ranging young chickens are at high risk of predation with no mother to protect them and not having much status in the flock that might earn them the flock’s protection.

When the night temperatures are high enough and they begin roosting away from the heat lamp, it should be safe to assume they no longer need it. I like to keep brooder chicks penned up safe until they reach adult size, bringing them grass clippings and some fruits to supplement their grower feed.

When they are big enough that a cat isn’t likely to carry them off, it should be safe to introduce them to an adult flock and set them out to free range.

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Baby Chickens

Question:
Baby Chickens: Our hen just had baby chicks. Do we need to take them out of the coop or just leave them in there?

Answer:
This depends on the reaction of the flock to the chicks and their mother. If they have plenty of room to forage and not be bullied by the flock, keeping all together is probably best. This will avoid possible problems when you might want to re-introduce them later.

Hopefully the pen has small enough wire at the bottom to keep chicks in, but another thing to consider is if predators can get to the chicks at night on the floor of the coop.

Until they are big enough to roost, any predator, from rats on up that could get into the coop at night, will have an easy meal of the chicks.

I like to keep a hen with her chicks in a good sized cage off the ground, where they are safe, especially at night, at least until they are feathered and able to keep warm enough without their mother.

A lot depends on what you plan to do with the chicks. If you plan to keep them and make them part of the main flock, keeping all together now will avoid acceptance problems later.

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