5-week Old Barred Rock Chicks Ok To Be Outside in 50-Degree Temps?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Cheesay, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Cheesay

    Cheesay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all, first time chick raiser. I have 4 barred rock chicks going on to be 5 weeks old that I have in a dog crate in my basement with a heat lamp on. They don't seem overly cold or hot with it. I want to let them outside, but with the cold, I didn't want to risk it. They're now calling for temps to be in the 50s during the day. I have a super tiny coop with a little caged run area that I plan to use to transition them to outside living while I work on the main coop. Would they be okay outside in that small coop during the day at those temps? They're mostly feathered from what I gather, having never raised chicks before. One is a little slow with some fluff still on her head.

    I read through other threads saying they should be fine at that age, but most were during the warmer months or warmer regions.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Start to prepare them. They cannot go from being under a 250watt heat lamp to 50F in one fell swoop. Dial down the wattage. Step them down with a 100watt bulb like this for a week and allow them to finish feathering out.

    The weather is still uncertain and 50 one day may mean 35 a few days later.

    These are just painted, flood lamps. Lowes, etc. These are my go to step down bulbs for weeks 4-7.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    If you are around to observe them, try it and see how they behave. If they huddle up and give a loud distressed peeping they are cold. If they are playing normally, they are fine.

    Mine have gone through nights in the mid 40’s when they were 5 weeks old. I’ve had some go through nights with lows in the mid 20’s before they were 6 weeks old. But my brooder is in the coop. I heat one end but let the rest cool off, sometimes a lot. The will spend a lot of time in the colder ends of that brooder so they get acclimated. When they get cold they go warm up on the warm end. Yours are not acclimated but you may be surprised to find they are not that cold. The only way to know that for yourself, to really believe it, is to try it and observe them.

    It doesn’t do much good for me to tell you this. The only way you will be sure is to try it yourself, so do that when you can observe. Then try to convince someone else how tough they really are.
     
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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Fred, I’ve never found those at my local Lowe’s. The local Ace Hardware has a good selection though. Funny how the same chains can be so different in what they carry. You'd think that kind of stuff would be standard at Lowe's.

    Cheesay if you had not said that you had a tiny coop, I’d have suggested just moving them outside with heat overnight if you can, but I’d be afraid of you overheating them in a tiny coop. That’s the advantage of my 3’ x 6’ brooder. If I keep one end warm enough or even too warm and let the rest cool off quite a bit they can find their own comfort zone. I don’t have to worry about overheating them. And with outside temperature variations one end can get really warm at times.
     
  5. PapaChaz

    PapaChaz Overrun With Chickens

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    ok I must have missed where it said the heat lamp they're using is 250 watts? Maybe it's not, the one I've been using is only 125, it's been set at the same height aimed at the same corner for all the time I've had my chicks. Of course my brooder is 8' long, so they have plenty of space to get away from it, when I came through there just now they were all doing their normal piddling about and scratching, eating/drinking........

    they're sleeping outside the main ring of light too, and the digital thermometer shows it's staying in the high 80's
     
  6. Cheesay

    Cheesay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks all. I do have a large, 2-dog doghouse that I'm converting to a coop, just not quite ready for birds yet. They're currently in an XL dog crate, which I think is like 4 feet long. I raised the lamp up a little. I had bought it last year, and I don't remember the wattage, but it said heat lamp on it, so I'm assuming it's the higher wattage. I only have it at one end, so they can get away from it, but they have just been laying wherever and don't seem overly cold or hot.

    I have taken them outside for short periods of time when I'm working on the coop and can keep an eye on them. It seems 50 degrees with sun is just right but 50 degrees with clouds is too cold.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    As others said it's best to acclimate them; ween them from heat. I do this by raising the light every week and then turning it off for a few hours at a time to finally no added heat. I brood in a part of the house were ambient temp is a steady 64 F. They stay in brooder with not heat until feathered enough and outside temps get high enough which to me is 50's during day and a night or two each week have touches of frost.

    Your basement if unheated is likely 55 F and a good temp to ween them from additional heat. After 3 days or more of no added heat they're ready for spring outside. Once you've witnessed hen brooded chicks you'll realize we all tend to coddle ours a bit too much. I've watched week old chicks pecking about with momma hen in 40 degree weather. They chirp when getting cold and she squats down to let them huddle under her for a few minutes then back to pecking the ground. They grow feathers much faster under those conditions.
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Mine went outside at 5.5 weeks - and it was 20 degrees at night and in the 40s in the daytime. The third night they were out it snowed. They did fine. I put a heat lamp in there the first night but every time I checked on them they were in a cozy pile by the pop door not even near the lamp - and I checked on them frequently! The second night I checked them once, and it was the same thing. So the third day the lamp came out. That was the night it snowed, and we got our last snowfall on the 6th of June. If I'd waited until the weather was perfect they'd have been in house until a month before they started laying!! [​IMG]
     
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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Sounds like you have a good handle on it. Let them tell you what they need.
     

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