Find out when it’s time for your chicks to leave the brooder with Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
It seems like just yesterday you were bringing home your baby chicks. The little, fluffy chicks are growing to be “teenage” birds, otherwise known as pullets. Pullets are curious about the world outside the brooder. They’ll want to try out their new feathers by attempting to take flight. It’s important to know your brooder can’t hold the birds forever–and that’s why you need a plan for when they venture outdoors. With the help of Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet you can get your chicks ready to leave the brooder.
1. Chicks will have most of their feathers – After about five or six weeks, your chicks will start growing out their pinfeathers–making them look like adult birds. Pinfeathers do a better job regulating body temperature than the fluffy chick down feathers. With the added warmth of pinfeathers, pullets will be able to venture outside of the brooder.
2. Chicks have been acclimated – When you first bring the chicks home, the brooder should be set to 90 – 95°F. As the chicks grow, the temperature should be turned down each week until it’s close to the daytime temperature outside. For example, if your chicks are in the brooder at six weeks old, it should be around 60 – 65°F. Bring the birds back in the brooder at night, in bad weather or if the temp is fluctuating for the first few weeks.
3. Chicks have been introduced to existing flock – If you already have a flock, you’ll need to introduce your pullets to your existing hens. Your resident flock can be potentially aggressive toward the new birds. Take a few steps to introduce your chicks to your current flock. It’s also important to feed your young birds and existing flock chick starter until the youngest bird is 16 weeks old. The extra calcium in layer feed can be harmful for young chicks. Read through our chicken feed buyer’s guide for more information on picking the right feed for different stages of your birds’ life.
4. Chicks are ready to move to treats and grit – Start giving treats to your chicks a few days before you first let them out of the brooder. This way, you can use treats to lure them back into the coop at night. Once you start feeding treats, you’ll need to incorporate grit into their diet to help with digestion.
Chickens are a fun addition to any backyard or hobby farm. At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you’ll find everything you need to care for your chickens. From chicken coops to chicken feed, you can trust the animal experts to have you covered. For more tips on caring for your flock, visit our Hobby Farming blog.