Another reason chicks deserve a mother is that with a mother, they get to go outside at a very early age. These chicks are just four days old and they are having the time of their lives scratching around outdoors with their mother. From now on, they will be spending most of their days outdoors. Farmers who raise their chicks without mothers would never consider putting such young chicks out to pasture. Most wait until the chicks are three, four or five weeks old before putting them outside. For example:
- Green Legacy Farms waits until their chicks are four weeks old.
- Jericho Settlers Farm keeps them indoors for three weeks.
- Stony Brook Farm puts them out to pasture after two, three or four weeks depending on the time of year.
- Earth Action Mentor waits three weeks, though if the weather isn’t too cold, they will put them out earlier.
What these farms are doing is understandable. Without a mother to guard and provide warmth as needed, putting chicks outside after just four days would be cruel, if not a death sentence. But with a mother watching over the chicks, going outdoors at just four days old, even in cool weather, is no problem. The earliest I’ve seen a hen take her chicks outdoors is at day two, and the latest at 14 days. Most of the hens have their chicks running around outdoors within a week of hatching.