Originally Posted by DawnSuiter
Like PortageGirl, I would ask the chicks...
try it and see if they are happy.
If they are not... then they are not.. it should be easy to tell.
When my last clutch hatched a couple of days ago, I tried giving them the 90-95 degrees I normally give new hatchlings.. but it was TOO hot
they prefer 85 degrees or so.. right out of the shell.
They are all different.. the temperature recommendations are a guide, not a rule.
Edited by HEChicken - 10/23/09 at 9:13am
I am so glad to hear someone say this! My four chicks are also 33 days old (same hatch perhaps?) I started with the heat lamp at 95, then reduced to 90 after one week and so on, just like the recommendations. But I found by the beginning of week three, they spent most of the their time at the cooler end of the brooder. Around the same time, the weather turned REALLY cold here and being a cheapskate, I didn't turn the heat on in the house. It was getting down to 59 in the house at night so I left the heat lamp on, but found they STILL didn't spend much time under it. After a few mornings of finding them at the cool end of the brooder, I started leaving the light off at night and they seemed happier not to have it on, to be honest, and be able to utilize a more "normal" routine for birds - awake when its light, sleep when its dark.
So at 25 days of age, when the weather warmed up, we started giving them stints outside that started at 2-3 hours and increased to all day when they were four weeks old. A couple of 75 degree days and they were thrilled to free range around the backyard. They spent their first night outside on a night that was supposed to get down to 60. The next night was a little cooler but they stayed out and seemed to do fine. Yesterday it cooled way down - the high was only 46 degrees. I was really concerned about them being outside and kept checking on them several times an hour, all day long. They have a little area where they can get out of the wind and they stayed around there but were active and moving around all day long - never once huddled together in a corner. They ate, drank, ran around, chased bugs and seemed to be having a grand time. The low for last night, due to overcast clouds, was only a few degrees cooler than the daytime high, so I left them outside (in a cat carrier in the coop, with a towel over the cat carrier to retain heat). Honestly, I didn't sleep much worrying about them but I checked on them a couple of times and they really seemed okay. This morning they bounced out of the cat carrier as excited as usual and today, at 41 degrees, are again just happily free ranging around the yard. I've just been out to see them and they are talking happily to each other, not huddled together at all.
After everything I've read, and hearing that people still have heat on chicks of the same age, I do worry, but I will say that my chicks developed feathers much earlier than others apparently have. I saw a pic this morning of some 4-week-old chicks that were still only semi-feathered, with lots of fuzz still showing, whereas mine have been fully feathered since they were about three weeks old. I'm sure the feathering makes a difference. (Also, there are 7 older birds in the coop to distribute heat. The little ones are still being ostracized and that's why they're together in a cat carrier in the coop, but they still benefit from the heat given off by the older birds). I've considered bringing them back into the house many times but they had reached the point they were bored in the brooder, seem very happy outside, and with winter approaching, they do need to acclimatize to be outside, so I keep monitoring for any signs of distress, but as long as they seem happy out there, I guess I'll let them stay there.
Edited to correct typos