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img: Keet transition from heating plate to roosting? (Incubation & Brooding)

by steve, Western Massachusetts, Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 22:42 (120 days ago)
edited by steve, Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 22:47

It's been a while since I've had brooder box keets - the past 2 or 3 years they were hatched and raised by hens in the coop, and then just flew up on the perches themselves one day when they were ready. Also these 25 mail-order keets I have now are in a nursery in the coop, not in a cage in my house that had perches built-in. So, my question is, how and when do I transition away from the heater plate and when and how do I set up perches for them (if at all).

I forget when they can start perching and when they need to do that to feel safe. Additionally, I have never had more than about 10 keets at once, and now I have 25!

So, I'm wondering how to even go about setting up some "baby" perches in their nursery if I need to, and what and how much I use to do that for this large a flock. There's a 6-foot-wide perch a couple feet off the ground waiting for them in the main coop when they're ready; but I wasn't thinking I would let them out into the main coop until they were about 8 weeks old.

Here's some pics from 2 days ago of the birds and their nursery. I'm using a Premier 50 chick heating plate. The space is about 48" x 28",

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I would add some perches now

by Barbara-NH @, Thursday, August 17, 2017, 00:51 (120 days ago) @ steve

They don't need to be very high off the ground. I would think it would be better for them (and for the heater) to be on a perch instead of on the heater plate. There must be some way you can mount the ends of the perches to the support posts or the fencing. If not, you could make a perch that is mounted to footed stands so it can be moved around to whatever space works best.

There is an age that some have discovered works best for integrating keets into an established flock. I think it is 6 weeks or up to 8 weeks, but I'm not sure I'm remembering it right. Apparently, the older the keets get, the more difficult it can be for a smooth integration. The thinking is older keets may not be as intimidated by the adults, and that can lead to more aggressive behavior by the adults. Younger keets (but not too young) should be more submissive and will withdraw (for the time being) rather than push forward. That helps the older birds to feel less threatened by the newcomers.

roosts for keets

by Heritage Hens @, Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:24 (114 days ago) @ steve

There are several makeshift perches that you could try. I first use a large clear plastic tote for the newly hatched. Then they go on shavings in the bottom of a large plastic dog crate, the kind you ship dog in on airlines. Because they are interested in jumping on top of the waterers and feeder containters, what I use for a perch in the dog crate is a curtin rod.

You can use two styles. The round extension rods and the old fashioned flat curtain rods. Both pull apart. You can thread one across at one end of your cage, where they don't sleep and where they won't jump into the feeder and waterer. You can hang it down low at first and then raise it up to the next square in the cage wire, etc. Because both styles have either a knob or the curved end, they don't fall out. And the surfaces are small enough for their little feet to grasp easily.

Later on, when they go into the coop or outdoor nursery, what I use are clothes racks or towel holders. You can find the small white plastic clothes rack for underwear in Walmart type stores. They are sturdy enough for keets while they are small and you can move them around easily. The old fashioned towel racks also work well if you can find one that's cheap. THey are usually made of wood. I find them at yard sales. People used to use them to hang blankets on at the foot of their beds, or in bathrooms for free standing towel holders.

What is nice about these is that you can also put them out in the keets' run instead of installing poles or studs that you have to keep moving up and down depending on the age of the birds.

--
Heritage Hens Homestead

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