Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside

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Kluck

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Hi, I'm new to this site  :)

I have 3 chicks - a RIR and 2 Copper Black Marans. They are now 6 weeks old, quite big, got most of their feathers and are causing havoc in our utility room! They are in a very large dog cage, kicking their bedding everywhere and generating lots of feathers and dust (and poo!)

I have turned off their electric hen over the last week or so, so they have no heat source now. I have also been putting them outside into their walk in run (with coop inside the run) by day when the weather has been reasonable to allow them some freedom and the chance to acclimatise a bit.

Anyway, Mr Kluck is pushing for them to be outside full time now, but i've been hesitant. I tried leaving them out on 2 occasions this week but when I checked on them when it got dark, I had hoped they might have gone into the coop to roost, but they were huddled in a corner of the run looking a bit put out! So I brought them back inside. Then bad weather came with lots of rain and wind and I was worried in case the weather would get too cold for them overnight (prob no lower than about 12 degrees).

OH! What to do?! By day they so need to be outside because they are getting bored and fed up indoors, but I worry that they will be too cold by night  :wub: Mr Kluck reckons I'm being too soft

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2012, 23:25 »
Hi Kluck. welcome to the forums!

6 weeks is a decent age for the chicks to be in their coop, but they are used to the utility room being 'home'

Is their coop big enough for them to have food and water inside?  Put them in there and leave them for a day and night, hopefully they will get used to the coop being home from now on.

The only thing that would worry me a little is with all this rain, if they are not fully feathered, could they get chilled.  Is there anyway you can cover their run over the top to keep the rain out, unless that's already been done????

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isobel

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Re: Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2012, 23:40 »
I had a clutch of 7, two of which were rejected by the mother and so I had to hand raise them from 4 weeks onwards. I did have them indoors for a week but certainly by 6 weeks they were outside in a covered little run on grass with access to a cosy hidey hole for sleeping. I covered the whole thing up completely with an oil skin table cloth every night so no drafts could get in, and used lots of wood shavings for the nest. They are 11 weeks now and bonny and plump! Maybe if yours don't recognise what they are meant to be doing at night you could just lift them and place them into "bed" and I am sure they would get the message pretty soon. They learn amazingly quickly anything that is to their advantage!

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ANHBUC

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Re: Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 11:17 »
You could try them outside gradually during the day and back indoors on a night.  I think that once they have been outside though they will love it so much you might not need to acclimatise them.

An old table is always a good shelter for them in their run, mine love their 1m x 1m old Ikea table.  :)
Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens!
Bagpuss RIP 1992 - June 2012, 1 huge grass carp (RIP "Jaws" July 2001 - December 2011), 4 golden orfe, 1 goldfish and 1 fantail fish (also huge)! plus 4 Italian quail, 1 Japanese quail, 1 Rosetta quail.

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Kluck

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Re: Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 13:45 »
Thanks everyone. I feel reassured that they're not too young! The coop is a Devon coop from chicken coops direct so is plenty big enough (think its designed for up to 6 hens) to put feed/watering overnight if needbe. The run is large (about 12 sq metres) and is fully covered with corrugated see through plastic panels (poor Mr Kluck spent a fortune and age making it!) so hopefully they wouldn't get too wet other than from side wards rain   :wub: and the coop has been raised so they can go underneath for shelter too. Ive put woodchip on the coop floor (its a pull out dropping tray type so i can't make it too deep) and for now i have put a football in each of the next boxes to deter them from sleeping in them when older, as someone advised me. So I hope I've done the best I can for them. The run is on concrete flags so I'm experimenting with floorings - currently using Easibed woodchip but keen to try compost.

So you think it's warm enough for them? I'm such a mother hen  :D

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Chick Chick

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Re: Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 14:36 »
I have 6 week old's that have been outside a week now....they seem fine in fact they look very happy  :D

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carolbriar

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Re: Am I/they being too soft? When to put chicks outside
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2012, 19:37 »
I have a broody who hatched a chick and she had the chick outside from day 3.  Having the mummy hen obviously keeps the chick warm but the chick is now two weeks old and is outside all day.  She still goes under the broody's wings for warmth occasionally but most of the time she is out and about.
2 Springer Spaniels, 1 Speckled Sussex,  1 Cuckoo Maran, 1 Light Sussex, 1 Welsummer, 2 Barnvelders and 2 silver Pencil Wyandotes.



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