4 and 5 week old chicks need heat still?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by OCeggs23, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. OCeggs23

    OCeggs23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2017
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    Hi! I have 3 EEs (4 weeks old) and 1 Welsummer (5 weeks old). We live in Southern California and have been using the MHP method for warmth for our chicks. A week ago we moved them outside to their coop and had the MHP plugged in out there as well.
    They seem to have feathered out quite a bit and evening temps have been in the 50s at the lowest.
    Do you think we still need to have the MHP plugged in for them?
    Here are some pictures to show how much they have feathered in...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine were outside with no heat at 3 weeks, so I think they should be fine without it!
    They are very cute![​IMG]
     
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  3. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I generally agree--provided they are kept quite dry and have some protection from wind.

    I had some 5 week olds outside once in a moveable pen when some freak rain came through during the night. it rained so hard that they were sitting in water, drenched with spray, and soaked to the skin even tho they were under cover. It was only in the sixties, but we had to bring them in under a lamp to warm up after losing one in the night.

    But when in doubt, the cost of running a heater is preferable to losing chicks. And sometimes it just makes them more comfortable even if not strictly "necessary." I always watch the behavior of the birds themselves and take my cues from them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
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  4. BIggoMamma

    BIggoMamma Out Of The Brooder

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    I would put a baby chick warming light on at night only when it is in the fifties or below and not during the day. You can get them too hot. Also make sure you are putting electrolytes for chicks in their water. The electrolytes are a supplement sold very cheaply in foil envelopes at farm supply stores. In southern cal you should not have to warm them but another coupla weeks.
     
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  5. OCeggs23

    OCeggs23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2017
    Orange County, CA
    Thank you for the advice!

    We have had some amazing rain (well, for us) and are going through a nice dry spell at the moment. I will try them without the heating pad tonight and see how they do. Then hopefully if all is well, we'll keep it off permenantly (barring another storm moving in or a dip in the evenings)!!

    Here's a pic of them enjoying my broccoli that has started bolting thanks to the sunshine!
    [​IMG]
     
  6. OCeggs23

    OCeggs23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2017
    Orange County, CA
    Also, here is their coop... There is good ventilation. Hopefully not too much yet?
    The whole thing:
    [​IMG]

    Up to the coop area from the mini run:
    [​IMG]

    Some added ventilation holes for a cross breeze:
    [​IMG]

    The "front door" has a mesh insert:
    [​IMG]

    Inside (PDZ on the floor, the shelf is what the heating pad was on and I left it so the chicks can easily get onto the roosting bars (there are 2)):
    [​IMG]

    Think it will be too drafty? We will close the door from the ramp at night.
     
  7. BIggoMamma

    BIggoMamma Out Of The Brooder

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    That is not a coop that is a chicken palace. However I do not see any nesting material in the pictures. Do you put bedding or straw in it? They have to have it to stay warm.
     
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  8. BIggoMamma

    BIggoMamma Out Of The Brooder

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    Surely you are going to put more than just 2 chicks in that Hilton of Chicken coops.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    What I do is turn off the heating pad at around four weeks. And my temps are much colder than yours, 50s during the day and 30s at night. The chicks continue to sleep in the heating pad cave for a few nights in the coop without it being turned on. Fully feathers chicks do not need heat, unless it's waaay below freezing. I brood my chicks right outside in the run, by the way, so they've already been acclimatized to cold temps.

    MHP transitions them to sleeping in the coop, and after they've become accustomed to the coop as home and have learned how to go in at night from their run, I then teach them how to roost. Usually by six weeks they've got that wired.

    You do need wood shavings or straw in the coop. It cushions their dismount from the perches and prevents feet injuries. It also absorbs poop so they aren't slipping and sliding around in the stuff.
     
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  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Never ever think you have too much ventilation....even here when it's in the range of 20 below zero and even colder I have vents, windows, and their pop door to the run open 24/7. Our run is a hoop run and we partially cover it with greenhouse plastic that is mesh reinforced, but the south side is a separate piece that can be rolled up or down like a window shade, depending on which side the bad weather is coming in, and the north side has a big gap in the plastic above the people door. I didn't do that the first year - I sealed that puppy up tight! Then we had condensation dripping from the "ceiling" onto our heads and down our necks, and running down the walls. The birds were damp, the litter was wet, and every surface in there had some kind of moisture on it. Not good! Opened it up and that problem was finished....even though it took time for it to dry out!

    There is a huge difference between drafts and ventilation, and it took me forever to find that. Think of the difference as like a great down coat you bought. Now, if you are wearing that jacket outside, your pretty comfy. But if that zipper breaks, all that warm air that was trapped between your body and the outside is gone! It's the same with chickens. Their down and feather insulation does a pretty doggone good job of keeping them comfortable. But if they are in a feather ruffling draft, where is all that trapped warm air going? So you want good air flow without it being so drafty that it moves their feathers.

    As for moisture, that needs to get out of the coop. It settles on combs and wattles and can be a major contributor to frostbite on those areas. So ventilation up above their heads moves that out. It comes from everywhere...from their waterer if you keep it in the coop, their respiration, and their droppings, not to mention what's in the air when it's raining or snowing. Ever put 4 people in a cold car and drive off? What happens to the windows? Yep, condensation from those warm bodies in a cold enclosed space and from their breath as well.

    So put as much ventilation as you can in the coop. If you use operable vents and/or a window, you can always have something open above their heads so stale, moist, ammonia laden air can escape. Good luck!
     
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