7 1/2 week olds...quick question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kuntrychick, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. kuntrychick

    kuntrychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 10- 7 1/2 week olds (yeah, not "babies" anymore, but wasn't sure where to post but in this section).

    According to the "decreasing temperature by 5 degrees each week until they get to the normal outside temperature" rule, I believe they would be to where they should be kept at 60 degrees (or a little less since they're almost 8 weeks old), which hasn't been an issue here with our recent temps here in NE Alabama.

    However, tonight is supposed to go down to freezing or a little below...dry, no or very light wind, so frost is predicted.

    Do I need to give this age chicks heat on a night like tonight?

    Does the 5 degree temp reduce rule still apply to this age chicks?

    I am not planning on supplementing my older flock with heat this winter (after reading here). These "babies" are not in the coop with the older chickens yet (but will possibly be this weekend if hubby gets the coop finished).

    This is my first time having young chickens & therefore I wasn't sure this time of year what to do.

    Thanks so much! [​IMG]
     
  2. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do they have a draft free area to safely snuggle together?
    If so, I would let them go, and quietly observe as the temp goes down. They will complain if they get too cold. I have had mamahens dessert 8 week olds, altho that was during the summer. Our older chicks usually huddle together in a bunch for a few weeks.
     
  3. shelleen

    shelleen Out Of The Brooder

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    How well are they feathered & what kind of housing are they in?
     
  4. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    Very good question. I have always been told that once the chicks are fully feathered (And by 7 1/2 weeks old they most likely are) they should be able to go outside and will not need a heat lamp anymore. But where you said that the temps will get below freezing tonight is what worries me. Are the chicks inside your house/garage where the frost won't bother them as much? I think that I would probably keep them where they are for tonight (assuming they are in your house or garage where it will stay warm). I personally, wouldn't chance exposing them to such low tempatures at such a young age. [​IMG]
     
  5. sallihennipenni

    sallihennipenni Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd play it safe and hang a heat lamp in with them. Don't put it too low....about 2 ft. from the ground. They'll gather under there if they need the heat. If they don't they'll go to where they're comfortable. This is assuming the shelter they're in gives them the option of not being right under it if they're too hot there. Freezing temp is quite a drop for them.
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    This time of year, it is best to let 8,9 or 10 week old chicks endure the cold nights. It sounds harsh, but much colder nights are surely coming and they are going to come more often. Nature will prepare the birds. Cold weather in Fall forces them to feather out more fully with heavy and abundant down underneath. Do not short-circuit that process by artificially stalling the feathering with heat.

    Best thing on the whole is to "harden them off" as they used to say. Mother Nature knows best. Winter is coming.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  7. kuntrychick

    kuntrychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sunny & the 5 egg layers :

    Very good question. I have always been told that once the chicks are fully feathered (And by 7 1/2 weeks old they most likely are) they should be able to go outside and will not need a heat lamp anymore. But where you said that the temps will get below freezing tonight is what worries me. Are the chicks inside your house/garage where the frost won't bother them as much? I think that I would probably keep them where they are for tonight (assuming they are in your house or garage where it will stay warm). I personally, wouldn't chance exposing them to such low tempatures at such a young age. [​IMG]

    They are on our back porch in a watermelon box brooder....LOL. (outgrown it BIG TIME) They are only in there at night for now until hubby finishes coop (hopefully this weekend). They have a dog kennel "playpen" during the day & free range with the older chickens. Just have nowhere to put them at night until hubby gets the coop built, so their watermelon box is their temporary coop. It has a lid made of PVC & hardware cloth.

    They are feathered out really well, just didn't know if they needed heat or not at this age with those temps. I also don't want it to be a shock to them when they're out in the coop with no heat after being pampered/spoiled to the heat then left to be in the cold.

    I think just to be safe, I will give them heat tonight. Should I use the actual 250W red heat lamp or I have a 150W brooder bulb (which is not red), or should I just use a 100W regular light bulb? It will be laying on top of the hardware cloth & the watermelon box is probably 2 1/2-3 ft deep.​
     
  8. shelleen

    shelleen Out Of The Brooder

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    I think 250w would be overkill. I only use that on -20 to -40s temps. If they are in tight quarters, they shouldn't need heat. If it makes you feel better, just use a low watt bulb (25w or 50w). I think they should have enough feathers & body heat to keep them toasty.
     
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You have to do what you have to do, but the inevitable awaits you in the future. There will be many more cold nights. They will be just fine, especially if you threw some kind of blanket over the cage.

    On what basis can we make such predictions? Nature. What is natural for them? What does a mother hen do? She broods them only for a month or so, then she ignores them, kicks them out from under her. She no longer "heats" them. They are large enough now to huddle up with their flock mates. They are large enough now not to smother each other, like baby chicks can do and the Mother Hen knows this, at an instinct level.

    If you wish to help transition them toward the future, and still wish to make tonight say, around 45F to help in that process, use a lower watt bulb than a 250.
     
  10. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been doing a lot of reading regarding cold weather and I think like Fred if you don't prepare them for winter how will they handle it. Just make sure the vents are open in the brooder to circulate the air. Your birds are fully feathered at 8+ weeks relax a bit they will be OK trust a bit and have faith.
     

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