When to Move Chicks to the Chicken House
Kevin Felts 08.10.17
When is a good time to put chicks with the main flock?
The answer is, “it depends.” There are a lot of factors that help determine if chicks are ready to go in with the main flock.
Are these late winter/early spring chicks, or summer chicks?
What are the daytime and nighttime temperatures?
Does the coop have electricity?
Do the chicks need a heat lamp?
How big are the chicks?
If the chicks are too small, a chicken snake will be able to eat them. A few weeks ago a rat snake got into my chick house. The chick house has wire all around it and I thought it was snake proof. So, if the coop secure from snakes?
Chicks need help regulating their body temperature, this is where the heat lamp comes in. Due to the summer heat, chicks bought in the summer need the heat lamp for a shorter time than chicks bought in late winter or early spring.
How big is the chicken house and run? Young chicks bunched in with full grown chickens will get pecked. I have heard stories of cramped chickens killing new chicks. The chick has to be able to run from the chickens.
If you have a starter cage, is there a roost in it? When the chicks start roosting, it is safe to say they are ready to go in with the main flock.
Chicks should have well defined tail feathers and be fully feathered. The feathers keep the chick warm on those cool nights.
Chicks will run around with their wing spread attempting to fly. When you see this, it would be safe to say they can get away from a full grown chicken.
Young chicks are not bullied, per say. If a chick is between a grown chicken and feed or water, the grown chicken will peck the chick in the head. The hen may chase the chick for a short distance, to make sure it is clear of the feed.
A lot of people ask if grown chickens will kill chicks. The answer for the most part is no. Grown chickens will not hunt the chicks down and kill them.
However, if the chickens are cramped and do not have enough room, the pecking could eventually kill the chick. Having enough room for the chickens to run away from the grown chickens is essential.