7 week-old chicks - can they move outside now in MA?

yoma

In the Brooder
Dec 20, 2020
4
2
11
Hello,
I've been brooding chicks inside and am ready to have a dust and ruckus-free home again. I had read that once chicks are fully feathered out, they're fine to go outside but then after I got them, a local farmer said I would have to keep them inside all winter! Then I learned here about the Heating Pad Mama Cave. It's currently in the 30's during the day and teens at night - is it safe to put them in the coop if I put one of these in there? Current house temp is upper 60s.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
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Florida
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:welcome :frow At 7 weeks at your temperatures I wouldn't put them out. They may have some feathers but not fully feathered out. I would wait for another 3 or 4 months. They molt several times during their first year. What is the temperature in their coop? Good luck and have fun...
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,337
29,415
901
Florida
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My Coop
If you can keep the temperature around 65 they should be ok. But birds that young need someplace to get warm. They aren't equipped yet to handle 30ºF and lower temps. I do have a coop for my chicks where I do have a couple of heat lamps for when I need them. They can get under them to warm up but not close enough to anything to cause a fire. You can try. If they huddle together then they need more heat. Again, good luck...
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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If you can put them outside with the option of a heating pad, I'd do that, and let the chicks regulate their own temperatures. Or if the garage is cooler than inside the house, but warmer than the coop, you can use that as an intermediate stage for 1-2 weeks to get them acclimated to colder temperatures outside.

I would have 7 week olds out without heat, but difference is I brood outdoors so they acclimate to outdoor temperatures faster and it's simply a matter of removing the heat source once I'm ready for them to join the flock.
 

ThatTeowonna

Songster
Oct 12, 2020
277
580
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Columbia, SC
If you can put them outside with the option of a heating pad, I'd do that, and let the chicks regulate their own temperatures. Or if the garage is cooler than inside the house, but warmer than the coop, you can use that as an intermediate stage for 1-2 weeks to get them acclimated to colder temperatures outside.

I would have 7 week olds out without heat, but difference is I brood outdoors so they acclimate to outdoor temperatures faster and it's simply a matter of removing the heat source once I'm ready for them to join the flock.
Hey @rosemarythyme. Can you tell me more about brooding your chicks outside from the start? I have 15 coming in a week or so. I will use the mama hen heating pad. I’m in SC and it gets in the 30s at night and 50 in the day. How can I make this work? Should I set them up in the coop portion or run?
 

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RoosterML

Make Ameraucanas Great Again
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Hey @rosemarythyme. Can you tell me more about brooding your chicks outside from the start? I have 15 coming in a week or so. I will use the mama hen heating pad. I’m in SC and it gets in the 30s at night and 50 in the day. How can I make this work? Should I set them up in the coop portion or run?
Keep them locked in the coop. You will really need to keep a close eye using mhp method. I personally would use ceramic heat bulb. Cut down the area in the coop also for a few days. Until they know where heat, food and water is.Good luck
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Hey @rosemarythyme. Can you tell me more about brooding your chicks outside from the start? I have 15 coming in a week or so. I will use the mama hen heating pad. I’m in SC and it gets in the 30s at night and 50 in the day. How can I make this work? Should I set them up in the coop portion or run?

Probably going to be tough in that set up, as you would likely need to keep them in the coop portion full time for the first few weeks (which I'm guessing isn't going to hold 15). Do you happen to know the measurements for the coop part only?

You could do it in the run portion however some insulation would probably be required due to the fact that it's cold and potentially stormy, i.e. hay bales surrounding most of it to block drafts.

If you look at my brooder, the reason why this set up works for me is because the side with the heat pad (on the left where the white wire is) has mostly solid walls on 3 sides, and they provide enough draft protection that 3-4 chicks can easily shift to the left side to stay warm, or to shelter from wind or rain, and then shift back to the right when they don't need heat or weather protection. Also I've tested (and improved) my set up against rain so I know it stays 95% dry inside even with rain storms.

brood2.jpg

With your set up and temperatures, what you could potentially do is move the entire unit into a garage or shed, raise them in there for the first couple of weeks, and then move the entire unit back outside when they get a little bigger and more feathered out, and can be trained to use that ramp so they can take advantage of the whole space.
 

ThatTeowonna

Songster
Oct 12, 2020
277
580
171
Columbia, SC
Probably going to be tough in that set up, as you would likely need to keep them in the coop portion full time for the first few weeks (which I'm guessing isn't going to hold 15). Do you happen to know the measurements for the coop part only?

You could do it in the run portion however some insulation would probably be required due to the fact that it's cold and potentially stormy, i.e. hay bales surrounding most of it to block drafts.

If you look at my brooder, the reason why this set up works for me is because the side with the heat pad (on the left where the white wire is) has mostly solid walls on 3 sides, and they provide enough draft protection that 3-4 chicks can easily shift to the left side to stay warm, or to shelter from wind or rain, and then shift back to the right when they don't need heat or weather protection. Also I've tested (and improved) my set up against rain so I know it stays 95% dry inside even with rain storms.

View attachment 2485607

With your set up and temperatures, what you could potentially do is move the entire unit into a garage or shed, raise them in there for the first couple of weeks, and then move the entire unit back outside when they get a little bigger and more feathered out, and can be trained to use that ramp so they can take advantage of the whole space.
Thank you. I will try to do what you suggested a while ago... close in the run (leaving some ventilation at the top, and add a floor... make the whole thing a cop. I should have time to do this before they arrive. Thanks again for the good advice.
 

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