When to put chicks out
Hi All, We're new to the chicken world and we have 3 Rhode Island Red and 3 Brown Leghorns. Saturday we will have had them 4 weeks. We live in PA and are currently going through a cold snap. They are still in a metal tub with metal netting across it with a heat lamp. They are in a 70 degree indoor room in house. (Spoiled). I have two questions. I bought a chicken coop that is Amish made. Are they old enough that they can go out in coop only indoors without heat lamp as it is sooo cold? Thanks for the feedback
First of all, beware of trying to heat the entire environment, making both brooder and the room or coop all a toasty warm temp. You aren't doing your chicks any favors.
Ideally, a chick hatches under a broody hen in an otherwise cold environment. The chick, within hours, is running around exploring its new world at no detriment to it, and it scoots back under its 100F mama to warm up as it chills, only to be out and about again once it gets its body back up to a warm temp.
Chicks raised outdoors in this manner do not suffer and die of the cold, even well below freezing. Nor do chicks brooded outdoors with artificial heat. They behave just like broody-raised chicks, running all over the place and scooting under the heat source only long enough to warm back up, then it's off to the races again, even if the temperature is so cold you're standing there watching them decked out in wool coat and hat and gloves.
You only need to heat one spot in your brooder, right beneath the heat source. The more of the brooder you try to heat denies the chicks the ability to self regulate their body temps, and later on, it makes it hard to wean them off heat. By the time chicks are approaching their fourth week, they should only be needing heat at night, and by week five, they should be off heat entirely and ready to move outside to a coop.
People who coddle their chicks with heat for six to eight weeks, have chicks who are not going to find it easy to adjust to cooler temps, requiring tedious acclimatizing before being able to adjust to real life in a colder environment.
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