Our mixed breed chicks are about 3 weeks old now, and they are big and active and outgrowing the make-shift rubbermaid "brooder" I had them in. I'm wondering if I'm doing this too early, but I've been taking them outside and letting them spend the daylight hours in the run of our tiny coop. I'm not really sure for how long they need the extra heat of the lamp?
The weather has been dry and sunny, and between 50-70 degrees, and the coop is partially under a tree so they get nice moderate mottled light, and no full sun to scorch them or full shade to chill them. The coop is small and janky, but bigger than the rubbermaid bin, up off the ground and fairly secure, though not secure enough to leave the chicks in it over night at this age. (We do have raccoons around after dark). They don't seem cold, they aren't huddling together or anything and really seem to be having a lot of fun in the coop watching the sparrows, scratching in the hay and checking out our other hen, Henrietta. AND they get to stretch their wings since they've got a nice high ceiling!
So basically, they've been outside in the nice weather each day for 10-12 hours, and then back inside with the heating pad under one end of the tub at night. My intuition says they are fine, because they seem so calm and sweet and contented in there but I wanted to know if there were any concerns with leaving them out at this age without a heating lamp. Thanks!