Chick Update at Four Weeks

by Texas Homesteader ~

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About four weeks ago we took the plunge and bought six baby chicks. We’ve never raised chickens before so this is a brand new endeavor for us. We were told when we purchased them that they were only a day old or so. Awwww…. Here’s their baby picture. Weren’t they cute and fuzzy?

The Ideal 236 hybrids are known for their large white eggs. At 4 weeks the Ideals are turning white #TexasHomesteader

The fuzzy yellow babies are called “Ideal 236” hybrid chicks. We were told they grow up white and that they’re known for their large white eggs. They still have some yellow baby fuzz on their heads but their feathers are coming in white. Although some chicks are larger than the others they are all growing well and they seem healthy.

We also bought three “Black Minorca” chicks. At four weeks they are substantially larger than the white ones – we were told the Minorcas were a larger breed and they were right! As I had previously researched they are striking with their red/black combination.

When we brought them home we kept the baby chicks in a large bucket under a heat lamp to keep them warm. As they grew larger we moved them into a purchased coop that we’re temporarily keeping in the garage to keep them safe until they’re a little older. Of course they loved their new digs and all that two-story space!

Our plan is to eventually move this portable coop outside yet keep it close to the house while they are still young. We’ll use the coop as our mobile chicken tractor – moving the chickens to fresh grass each morning.

We’ve been asked to share which coop we bought for the benefit of others that are considering the chicken tractor idea – we decided on a portable * chicken coop enclosure.  A photo of ours is below.

Portable chicken coop for our hens. #TexasHomesteader

Anyhoo, today was a warm sunny day with no wind so we wanted to allow our little chickies their very first outside play-date. We borrowed a small portable dog kennel and set it up in the back yard, placing wire fencing over the top just in case these babies took flight. Then one by one we placed them in the enclosure – they loved it!

We stayed out there with them just to keep an eye on things. They got to be outside for quite a while before we had to bring them back inside for the evening. Our hope is that we’ll get many more non-windy days to allow them to be safely enclosed but outside so they can play chicken for awhile.

The chicks will enjoy the kennel pen on a temporary basis, then while they’re still young we’ll move the chicken tractor outside and they’ll be moved daily but stay safely enclosed. In the meantime we’ll be reinforcing our 1880 barn’s chicken coop and they’ll get to call it home when they’re grown.

1880's Barn Chicken Coop. The Ideal 236 hybrids are known for their large white eggs, the Minorcas are a larger breed. At 4 weeks the Ideals are turning white & the Minrocas are larger #TexasHomesteader

So far we’ve gotten lots of enjoyment out of these chickies. We still have lots to learn about raising chickens. There was only one that was banded as a female and we suspect two of the three black ones are males just based on their looks and behavior – we’re hoping the others are all hens. I wonder how old they have to be before you can tell?  Hummm…


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12 thoughts on “Chick Update at Four Weeks

  1. Carol J. Alexander

    We put our chicks outside under an over-turned laundry basket with a brick on top. The dog lays guard right next. Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop. Please come back and see us this week: /the-self-sufficient-homeacre-hop-2

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Carol – An over-turned laundry basket? How clever – now you’ve got me thinking of alternatives too. Humm…. ~TxH~

  2. Ewa

    They are so very cute. My dream to have wee chicks on y own one day!

  3. Carmel

    We have the same coop. I would like to move it around the lawn also, but my husband doesn’t think the construction will stand up to it be moved often. Please post how that works out!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We’re amending as well as reinforcing the coop to make it move-friendly and more predator proof. I’ll be posting about that (including pictures) so check back soon! ~TxH~

  4. Kathy

    The white one with the more pronounced comb looks like a rooster. Their tails get larger and more stand upish. We have 2 roosters, it’s not ideal but it can be done. Three is iffy unless you are looking for meat birds or to keep more than one area going for special purposes: eggs, meat, mixed, etc.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks for the info Kathy, we’ll be watching these little guys to see if we can tell rooster/hen in the coming days & weeks. ~TxH~

  5. Janet W.

    You’ll know for certain what chickens are males when they get those big tail feathers and they start crowing at all hours of the day and night. They settle down a little later and aren’t so vocal.

    Janet W.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Some of the chicks are starting to grow their tail feathers, but nothing that looks blatantly rooster-ish. I’ve also read that the black roosters feathers will be iridescent & two of them are but the third black chick is so far behind them in development I don’t know if there’s a difference between them or not. One of our little black chicks is very patchy in its feather growth, almost looks mangey (is that a word??) I don’t see mites or anything on it though and it acts healthy and happy, just not very pretty right now. Learning every day… ~TxH~


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