Keeping chickens in a coop can be a great way to bring some entertainment and excitement to your backyard. And if you’re a first-time chicken owner, you might be wondering when it’s safe to let your chicks outside to explore their new surroundings.
Well, timing is everything. Knowing when to let your chicks outside can have a significant impact on their health and safety, as well as their growth.
So, when can chicks go outside in the coop?
Chicks can typically go outside in the coop once they are about 6 weeks old and fully feathered.
However, it’s vital to consider other factors, such as weather conditions and predators in the area, before letting them outside.
Factors to Consider Before Letting Chicks Outside
Here are some factors to keep in mind –
1. Age of Chicks
- One of the most important factors to consider when letting your chicks outside is their feather growth. Chicks need their feathers to keep them warm and protect them from the weather, as well as to help control their body temperature. Fully feathered chicks are better prepared to go outdoors. While newly hatched chicks needed 95F.
- The age at which chicks have full feathers can differ depending on their breed, and most chicks can safely go outside in the coop between 4-8 weeks of age.
2. Weather Conditions
- When letting chicks outside for the first time, wait for warm and dry weather. Chicks can easily become sick if they are exposed to cold, wet conditions. It’s also necessary to confirm that the outdoor temperature is right for the breed of chicks you have.
- Keep an eye on the weather and be ready to bring your chicks inside if the weather suddenly becomes wet or cold.
Chicks are weak to a variety of predators, even during the daytime. Make sure your outside area is secure for the chicks. Your outside area should be surrounded by a fence or wire mesh to keep predators out.
4. Behavior and development
- Before letting chicks outside for the first time, observe their behavior to ensure they are healthy and active. Sick or weak chicks should be kept inside until they are fully recovered for the outside view.
- Start with short periods of time when you are allowing chicks to go outside for the first time. Slowly increase the length of time they spend outside each day. Thar will help them adjust according to their new surroundings and reduce the risk of stress or illness.
Best times of day to let chicks outside
Chicks are most comfortable when temperatures are mild and moderate. As such, the best times of day to let them outside are typically during the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Avoid letting chicks outside during the hottest part of the day, as they may become overheated and dehydrated.
Furthermore, chicks require sunlight to stay healthy and grow properly. However, too much direct sunlight can be harmful to them, causing sunburn and heatstroke. It is recommended to let chicks outside when the sun is less intense. You can go in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun’s rays are not strong.
Preparing the Coop for Chicks to Go Outside
Before letting chicks outside, it’s vital to entirely clean and disinfect the coop and outside run. That will help prevent the spread of disease and parasites, and create a healthier environment for your chicks.
Remove any old bedding and debris, and scrub the walls and floors with a non-toxic disinfectant. Allow the coop to dry completely before adding new bedding.
Ensure that the coop and run are secure and free from any possible risks. This includes repairing any holes or gaps in the walls or fencing, and ensuring that there are no exposed wires or sharp objects that could harm your chicks.
3. Food and Water
Make sure that your chicks have access to fresh water and food in the coop and run. Moreover, keep the food and water containers clean and free from debris, as this can attract pests and bacteria.
Chicks are sensitive to temperature changes and require a warm environment for their growth. Ensure that the coop and run are at the right temperature for your chicks, especially during the first few weeks after they are allowed outside. You can use heat lamps or a heating pad to maintain the temperature in the coop.
Benefits of Letting Chicks Outside
- Chicks that are allowed to go outside have more space to explore and get exercise, which is vital for their physical and mental well-being. Outdoor space allows chicks to engage in natural behaviours.
- When you let chicks go outside, they get to breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sun’s rays. This can help make their immune system stronger and help them grow healthy and strong. Just like fresh air and sunlight are good for us, they can be good for chicks too! Sunlight is also important for vitamin D production, which is essential for healthy bones and immune function.
- When chicks are allowed to go outside, they have the opportunity to socialize with other birds, which can help reduce stress and promote healthy social behaviour. This is especially important for chicks that will eventually be introduced to a flock of adult birds.
- Outdoor environments provide a wealth of sights, sounds, and smells that can give a mental push to chicks, which can improve their overall health and well-being.
Allowing chicks to spend time outside in their coop is an essential aspect of their health and growth. However, it’s vital to ensure that the chicks are of the right age, the coop is properly prepared, and the surrounding is safe. By following these factors, you can help your chicks enjoy the benefits of fresh air and natural light while taking care of them.
Remember that each chick is unique, and some may take longer to adjust to outdoor life than others. Be patient and take the time to observe their behavior.
Moreover, providing a safe and suitable outdoor environment can encourage healthy growth and socialization. With proper preparation and care, your chicks can thrive and grow into happy, healthy adult birds.