Transitioning Chicks to the Great Outdoors

At some point, your little fluff balls are going to get more and more messy (and stinky πŸ™‚ ), and less and less fluffy. Their new little feathers will be coming in faster than you can blink! Here’s what my little babies looked like at 3 weeks old:

As you can see, older chicks love to perch on anything…

I was ready for them to move out.

Now I’m not a chicken eggspert or anything like that, so take any of this with a grain of salt; but here’s the process I went through to get my little babies ready for the great outdoors:

When they turned three weeks old I began implementing a schedule to slowly take away their hot water can, or Henny Penny 3.0 as I like to call it. You can check out my other chick post here to see how I used a coffee can, filled with boiling water, and wrapped in a towel as a heat lamp replacement.

Anyhow, I had been filling it up 3 times a day, every 8 hours. To start the transition schedule, I neglected to refill it one afternoon. I left it cold another afternoon, then the next day I didn’t fill it in the morning either. I let them get used to that for another day, and finally I took away their nighttime water. They responded very well to the transition, and eventually I just took the coffee can out of the brooder altogether.

Chicken quality time…

In addition to the hot water removal schedule, I also began taking them outside on sunny afternoons for about an hour at a time. They absolutely loved it! πŸ˜€ The first time I took them out I provided a box as a shelter in case they got frightened or cold. After that it wasn’t really necessary.

Then, the day before I planned to move them out, I left them outside in the run all afternoon and evening until just before sunset. After letting the girls spend their final night in the brooder, I got up early in the morning and popped them in the big girl coop. I left them in there for about 24 hours, to teach them “home” so that they would know to return to the coop at night to sleep, then let them out the following morning…or at least tried to. They ended up staying in the coop almost all day. I didn’t force them to come out though, as it was pretty chilly that day. I’ve actually been having to lock them out on warm days–they’ll just stay in the coop all day if given the choice! πŸ˜‰ I guess I taught them “home” too well!

Meet Bubbles, my little sister’s chicken

I will note here, I did wait to move the babies out until the lows overnight were above freezing. I didn’t feel like they had enough feathers on their head to take that kind of cold…but I could be wrong. After all, I am just a spring chicken when it comes to chickens, LOL! πŸ˜‰

Hope this helps any chicken mommys out there!

Happy homesteading! ❀

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