[This series is a diary of our experience raising chickens for our home flock. To see all articles in this series, please visit Home Flock Series.]
Today, we took all of the chicks out of the brooder and brought them out into the yard to let them forage while we replaced the bedding in their brooder. We’ve been using hardwood shavings, which are absorbent, easy on the chickens’ feet, and easy to remove and replace. We carted the old bedding out to the compost heap.
The chickens’ seemed to really enjoy being out in the yard. At first, they stayed very close together but soon they began to spread out more. They found bugs and other small things to eat.
My two youngest children watched the chickens and kept them from venturing too far while my oldest son cleaned out the brooder and added fresh bedding. This Americana flew up onto my lap to perch as I sat in a folding chair taking photos.
Click any photo in the gallery below to see a larger view.
How do you collect all the chicks to bring them back in? I have 50 and we just let them go out side in a big dog crate..I connected 2 together…. My guineas are the hardest to catch.
I just love your website and blog! I follow it daily. I just purchased 25 baby chicks from you, 26 with the extra one but one of them didn’t quite make the trip. Otherwise they are exactly 2 weeks old today and all are doing wonderfully!! We have them penned up in our back room under a heat lamp until they get a little bit bigger, then we’ll put them out with the bigger chickens. Anyway, we just wanted to say thanks for your website, etc., we find it very informative!!
Thank you, Christopher. We’re sorry to hear that one of the birds in your order died during shipping. Please call us at 1-800-456-3280 so that we can credit you for your loss.
I love your blog! My babies are almost four weeks old now, and they love running around the yard every evening for a few hours. Being in South Texas, it is warm enough for us to brood ours outside during the Spring. We make a small pen within our coop with everything they need so when they come in from foraging in the yard they are going into the coop. Our coop is pretty large, and at this age we have opened up their small brooding area so they can run around the whole coop, but they can still go into the brooder if they need to.
Thank you, Shelly. That sounds like a good approach.
This is the perfect time of year to raise chicks. They can go outside in the sunshine. I was too hasty when I purchased my first set of day-old chicks in February one year. They shared my bathroom until April because it was too cold outside. Also, I discovered the best way to hard-boil fresh eggs. Get water boiling first, then lower each egg into pot with a spoon, making sure water completely covers eggs. Boil them for no more than 12 minutes, then immediately drain and cover eggs with cold water and ice cubes. When they’re cool enough to handle, smash the shell and peel. It falls off perfectly!