Time flies when you are raising baby chicks and our little floofies are 1 month old. They are just entering the awkward teenage stage and their personalities are starting to shine. It’s so entertaining watching them chase bugs and take dust baths! Here’s an update on our 4 week old chicks and 3 important things we’ve learned about them.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
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The chicks are starting to lose their baby fluff and their feathers are growing in. They are in a funny awkward stage and I have to say they aren’t looking their best lol! you can see what they looked like at 1 week and 2 weeks, they were sooo cute!!
There are so many things to learn about raising chickens, but these are the 3 most important things that we have learned about caring for 4 week old chicks!
Our chicks are not quite ready to go outside yet. They are still living in their brooder with a heat plate to make sure they are warm enough at night. When they are fully feathered they will move out to the coop, but for now they are still indoors.
The chicks need to be fully feathered before they are moved outside permanently, usually after 6 weeks old. It also needs to be warm enough outside. Follow these temperature guidlines to make sure that the chicks are warm…
Their brooder is simply a large cardboard box with pine shavings and food and water hanging in small feeders.
At this point, we could take them outside if it’s warm enough during the day and let them run around on the grass and eat bugs, but only for a short time with supervision!
Our chicks are always hungry! They empty their small feeder at least once a day and are chasing any bugs that happen to fly into their brooder. We chose to feed them an organic all-in-one feed we found from a local farm here in Alberta Farmstead Life. We started them on the non-medicated starter feed and now that they are 4 weeks old it’s time to switch them to the pullet grower feed. They will be fed that until they are 18 weeks old and it’s time to switch to layer feed as they start to lay eggs.
They also require lots of fresh water and we sometimes need to fill their small water feeder twice a day now!
The short answer to this one is that you can’t! We have our suspicions, but at this point we have no idea which chicks are boys or girls. We likely will only keep the hens, so we are really hoping we don’t have a large number of roosters in the group!
You can sometimes tell by behaviour, size of combs or wattles, or the shape and type of feathers, but the easiest way to tell is just by waiting until they are mature. The hens start laying eggs and the roosters start crowing!
Roosters will have longer, more exuberant tails, can sometimes have larger or more brightly coloured combs or wattles, or pointed saddle feathers on their backs. They will also tend to be more dominant and aggressive and may stand up straight, puff their chests and feathers and kick with their feet.
We think Hoot may be a rooster, but only time will tell!
We are heading out of town for a while this summer. When we get back the chicks will be so much larger. I will have another update then and hopefully the coop will be finished as well!
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