Hello! First time poster, long time reader...
We recently got our first flock of chicks--two Rhode island reds, a Plymouth rock, and an easter egger. They are not quite 4 weeks old. They still live inside our house in our brooder box with a heat lamp about 8 inches above the box.
Three are feathering in nicely--the plymouth is a little smaller and fuzzier at this point.
I've read a lot online about acclimating them to outdoor temps, but I'm probably more confused than I was before. Do I stop with the light at some point? Turn it off at night? move them to a garage? ...
Having fall chicks and living in the midwest (central indiana), I definitely don't want them outside too soon.
I've read that it's good to have fall chicks because they feather in better than spring chicks and they're ready to lay by spring.
But, how do I get them outside? Current temps are around 55-65 daytime and 40s at night--so too cold.
Also, we have a chicken tractor--will it be warm enough for them in the winter? Will they get bored being cooped (ha) up? We also have an old shed that I could convert into a coop. It's large and I was thinking it would be easier for us to access/clean and perhaps winterize? Or is the coop fine if I tarp it (with ventilation) and perhaps put hay bales around the exterior?
Our local feed store/chicken supplier says that people worry too much about chickens in the winter--that they're made for it. They said that I could move them outside about 5 weeks--but it's pretty chilly here. But now, having 4 cool little chickens, am also worried about them. (They also said that chick starter was only necessary for two weeks? But, I'm keeping them on it for a while longer...)
Thanks for any/all advice!!!!