Those adorable little chicks you scooped up at the local feed store are going to be too big for the brooder all too soon. It’s kind of a bittersweet moment when it’s time to move them from the brooder into their new house. Our little birds have hit that awkward teenage faze mom calls them velociraptors, so we moved them out (watch the video HERE)into the coop we built (find the tutorial and see pictures HERE or check out our other design HERE)
You probably caught our cutest chicken coops post a bit ago (If not catch it HERE), so this time around we are going to share what you need to know about keeping chickens at this age.
The first thing you need is a chicken coop! When picking out the perfect coop for your feathery friends ready to leave the brooder, find something that will work for your weather. We live in the south, which means we have hot muggy summers, our winters are pretty mild compared to some states up north. Our coops have to have good ventilation so it doesn’t get super hot in them (and be able to stand up to Tennessee storms).
They also have to be able to keep wandering critters like raccoons opossums, hawks, and even neighborhood dogs out and our birds safe and sound on the inside. Chickens are little Houdinis, experts on finding their way out of the coop. If there is a way out, they’ll find it.
Chickens should have at least 2 feet of floor space (but the more the better!) and enough yard that they have room to stretch their wings, get some sunshine and dust bathe. Every coop needs someplace to roost, secure doors (we use clip locks and padlocks to ensure no critters or people open them), ventilation and one nesting box for every three chickens. They’re also going to need access to shade for hot summer days.
Chicks should be fed starter feed from hatch to 16-20 weeks, then gradually switch (like how you would change a dogs food). Chicks should have access to food and water all day.
We use wood shavings and sometimes straw or leaves in our coop. Our old neighbor was a gem and would rake all of his of his lawn and bring them over in big trash bags for my coop. Coops have to be cleaned regularly, we put it in compost bin until its aged enough to use on the orchard or in the garden (chicken manure is higher in levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium than other animal manure, it takes about a year before its cool enough not burn your plants).