Your cute little fluff balls scurrying around in the feed bins at the local farm store seem tiny. You bring them home, put them under the lights and go to sleep. The next morning, you swear they look bigger. They are.
Chickens grow fast! They go from tiny three day old fluff balls to 6 week old birds resembling hawks. If you think you’re going to wait until they are “big enough” to look at getting a chicken coop, you’ll be late.
In addition to growing in size, they also grow in stink. As their body develops, their digestive functions “change”…and some of the changes are not super welcome in the family room, where they were cute as little chicks.
Before you purchase your chickens, know how and where you will house them when they get to the chicken stage. At the feed store, you’ll see cute little chicken coops on display advertising for “4-6 chickens”. Don’t kid yourself. Unless your chickens are a banty breed, they will need more room than those miniature toy chicken coops offer. (See our How Much Room do my Chickens Need article)
When you first brought your chicks home, you set the heat at 85-90 degrees, to keep them warm. By moving the light farther away, and lowering the temperature of the brooder by 5 degrees per week, you should be close to outside temperatures now. If it’s cold in your area, you may want to put a heat source in their coop for another week or two. But your chickens will be feathered out enough by weeks 5-6 to be ready for the big coop.
One of my favorite parts of raising chickens is the move to the new coop. Watching the “chicks” turn into “big birds” as they explore the immense space they now call home. The first scratches in the dirt, picking up twigs and leaves. Chasing bugs on the ground.
This is why we are chicken people.