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5 week old chicks ready to go outside?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

From all of my research/internet browsing, I am seeing that most people let their chicks out and 5-6 weeks without any heat lamp, but most of what I am seeing is people writing around June, July, or August, when it is warmest.  I am new to chickens, so I am a bit jumpy to let them go without a heat lamp due to my inexperience.

 

I have 13 chicks that are 5 weeks old.  Since they were 2 weeks old, they have been in a 3x5x2.5 ft cage that I built as a post brooder box.  This cage is in a shed outside, with 2 good heat lamps hanging about 12-15 inches above my chickens heads now.  I am in southern AZ, so the daytimes are extremely warm (generally low to mid 80s).  The night is averaging about 48 degrees or so, but it still sometimes gets down to 40.  Is 40 too low of a temperature for these chicks to be out in without a heat source?

post #2 of 15

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40 IMO is a little low without a heat source. 

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post #3 of 15

There is no magical age or magical temp.   Even if fully feathered, it would be cruel (IMO) to suddenly make them undergo a large temperature drop. If they've been use to 2 heat lamps at night, take one away for a few nights, then raise the other way up or go with a much smaller bulb for a few more nights.  In other words, take a week or two to wean them away from their nightly dependence on the lamps.  Good luck!

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #4 of 15

When we had chicks a while ago, we let them out at about that time. Of course, it was warm and sunny and we were holding them most the time!tongue.png

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I am crazy about a lot of things. Chickens, reading, writing stories, and most importantly my King, Jesus. :D  

 

~Member of the Derperella Club- We're all just goin' round the rooster here! ~

~ Proud member of Team Snap!!! Chattin' on the very first chicken chat thread!!!~ 

 

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post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by teach1rusl View Post

There is no magical age or magical temp.   Even if fully feathered, it would be cruel (IMO) to suddenly make them undergo a large temperature drop. If they've been use to 2 heat lamps at night, take one away for a few nights, then raise the other way up or go with a much smaller bulb for a few more nights.  In other words, take a week or two to wean them away from their nightly dependence on the lamps.  Good luck!



This is good and the right advice.  Of course, chicks, which are feathered out, can take 40F.  BUT..... they need to be acclimated gently to it.  In our experience, it is better to gradually reduce the dependency on heat over a week to 10 day period.  

 

 

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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone, I appreciate your help.  I wish I would have known to start reducing their heat last week so I could have started, but I suppose it does not matter too much.  I am going to start reducing their heat tonight by taking away one of those bulbs I mentioned.

 

I am a little anxious to get them outside and out of that dark shed though.  Would it hurt to place them out in their coop if I run some extension cords and keep the heat lamp hanging down in a corner of it for about a week?  (the coop is roughly 12 feet long, 8 feet wide, 7 feet high)  I'm afraid they are getting too used to the dark of the shed, only relying on the red heat lamps for light.

post #7 of 15

Is this a run-type pen you're talking about?? Is there a shelter end??  That would work okay as long as there's a place out of any wind/weather where you could hang a lamp...  I still think I'd reduce to one lamp a few nights before switching to outside with a lamp.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #8 of 15

Can you take them outside for a few hours during the day?  I live in Washington and have taken my girls out for a couple hours a day when it has been warm enough for them and then brought them back in.  I put them in a basket and cover it with a towel to transport them.  It has worked for 3 outdoor excursions and they are tuckered out when we come back inside!

post #9 of 15

My 25 chicks have been out in the coop since they were 2 1/2 weeks old. They are now 2 days why of being 6 weeks old and still outside. I'm in Wisconsin and it gets 30's at night so I have their lamp still in the coop.

 

 

 

                                             

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post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Okay, thanks guys.  Will wait a bit before taking them outside full time.  Maybe I can just take them out during the daytime to explore the coop, and then round them up before evening falls.  

To answer your question teach, the coop I have for them, for lack of a better term, is more like a "stall".  It is out of the elements, but there is air circulating, particularly up high.  I am excited to see them in the stall next week. :)  They are going to be a little too big for the box I built them before long.

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