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Temps too low?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We have 7 chicks that will be 7 weeks old this Monday. They are still in their brooder in the house because we live in Michigan and it's 44-55 degrees during the day right now and in the 30's at night. Is it too cold for them to be out in the coop? We did try a week ago and found them all huddled in the corner together, brought them back in. TIA
post #2 of 5

It isn't really that cold for them, but just let them out a for a short periods oime and watch them the whole while. if they start to shiver or fluff up, take them back inside.

post #3 of 5

Are these chicks still in a heated brooder? If so, you need to first turn off the heat source. Following that, open a window and gradually make the room cooler, slowly acclimatizing them to cooler temps.

 

Take them outside for daily field trips to get them used to outdoor temps, increasing it each day.

 

Over the span of one week, doing this, they can be moved into the coop, and begin their lives outdoors where they belong.

 

If you've been decreasing the heat over their first four weeks by five degrees each week, they should no longer require any extra heat at the end of the fourth week. If they were raised in an environment of very cool ambient temps during the first four weeks, they would be ready for cold temps already.

 

Check out my article on outdoor brooding where my chicks grew up from day one in temps getting down in the 30s at night and no higher than in the 50s during the day. They were off their heat source at the end of four weeks and living in the coop. It's linked below under "Articles".

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Chicks are out in the coop & doing great. They are separated from the grown up six hens we have. But they can see each other. When do I let the chicks who are now 8 weeks old out with the rest? Will the grown hens accept the members of their flock?
post #5 of 5

Have you read the article I wrote on outdoor brooding and the part about integration using the panic room?

 

I would set up a panic room. I don't know how you have the chicks separated from the adult hens but make some chick size openings from it to the rest of the coop. I made my portals exactly four and a half inches wide and seven inches high. My run is broken up into several spaces separated by partitions. On each partition, there are portals so the chicks have full access to all the run but cannot get trapped anywhere and not be able to get back to their safe space very quickly. My article has some pictures of it.

 

After your chicks have spent about a week observing the adults, they will have absorbed into their memories the temperaments and ranks of the adults and will understand which ones are perhaps more of a threat than the others. When I raise my chicks alongside the adults, I wait until they've reached three weeks in their overall development before I let them mingle. But yours are farther along in their development and shouldn't require that long to get to know and understand the older chickens.

 

On the first day you open the portals, and make as many as you can, just let the chick mingle for a short period. They will get chased and maybe pecked, so this will be a real learning experience, but you don't want them to lose their courage by subjecting them to it for too long.

 

On the second day, increase their time to an hour. The following day a bit longer. After a week of this, you should be able to leave the portals open all the time and let the chicks begin to explore wherever they wish to go.

 

When they eventually venture out of the coop, it may involve teaching them to go back into the coop the first time since it will look alien to them from the outside. Your chicks may figure it out on their own, but a night light in the coop will help them find their way back into it for the first few nights. They could require you to get inside the coop and coax them in, too.

 

It might be a good idea to rig up a small panic room out in the run, too, with their food and water inside so they don't have to compete with the adults for those. You'll just need to see how it goes. At any rate, the chicks will figure out the panic room and learn how to get back to it in just minutes.

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