7 week old chicks in the fall...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by newchickenista, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. newchickenista

    newchickenista Chirping

    Jan 25, 2012
    Southeastern, Oklahoma
    Hi all!

    I have a question about brooding chicks in the fall. I have only ever, before now, brooded chicks in the late winter/ early spring. In that scenario the weather is warming up as the chicks age, so they hit a pretty steady pace at about 4 or 5 weeks (I am in southern Oklahoma) and by 8 weeks I don't have to worry about temperature, they don't need any kind of alternate heat source even at night and they go right in their coop.

    This is my first time to brood in the fall. I have 29 chicks that are 7 weeks and 2 days old and I still have them in a brooder type pin with a heat lamp going at night, I do turn it off in the day, but I've left it on recently and even in the mid 60s they still are setting right under it, enjoying the warmth.

    Here is our forecast for the next several days/ weeks:

    Today 11/13 High 68 F / Low 42 F
    Sat 11/14 64/ 48
    Sun 11/15 58/49
    Mon 11/16 68/61
    Tue 11/17 65/41
    Wed 11/18 61/41 **Chicks are 8 weeks old here**
    Thur 11/19 67/ 44
    Fri 11/20 68 / 41
    Sat 11/21 57/37
    Sun 11/22 52/ 39
    Mon 11/23 55/40
    Tue 11/24 57/43
    Wed 11/25 57/38 **Chicks are 9 weeks old here**
    Thu 11/26 56/37
    Fri 11/27 55/36

    About a week or week and a half ago we woke up at about 4 am, looked out the window, and realized the lamp was off, the light bulb had burnt up. When we went out to replace it, they were all huddled really close together trying their hardest to get warm, and they low was mid to upper 50's that night.

    I guess my question is at 8 and 9 weeks old, is it ok for them to be outside in 35-45 degree weather with out an alternate heat source?

    Also, I know, that the cold itself probably won't kill them at this point and that their bodies create more heat than I realize. What I am most concerned about is with 29 chicks huddling trying to keep warm would they smother each other at this age?

  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I have new day old chicks outside brooding in a pen within the run when it's in the teens and twenties. I think if you read this it will answer some of your concerns, as it goes into what age I put mine out last year (5.5 weeks) and how they did with temps in the teens. I even had a chick brooding outside in the run at 4 below zero, although I don't recommend that.


    At this age yours should be more than ready to go out. Yep, they'll huddle, but it's more for security than warmth. Remember that at this age Mom wouldn't be able to cover them if they were being brooded by her, and she'd have already had them on the roost.
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    I've had chicks outside with no supplemental heat at 4 weeks old. They were almost completely feathered in, and night time temps where in the low 40s. They were fine.
    Once they are feathered in, there is no need for additional heat. At the age your chicks are, smothering isn't really a concern.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It sounds like you are brooding outside, which is good. I brood in the coop. The brooder is big enough that I keep one end toasty but when the temps are below freezing the far end might have some ice in it. When it’s that cold the chicks end to stay in the warm end. But when it’s not that cold they tend to play some in the far end. They acclimate themselves to the cold that way.

    I’ve seen chicks with broody hens go through temperatures a lot colder than most people on here think possible. I’m talking about when the chick gets separated from the broody and can’t get to her for warmth. I’ve turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the nighttime heat off at 5 days, but that was during a ridiculous heat wave a few years back. Where you are you probably remember that heat wave.

    In fall/winter I’ve had chicks go through below freezing temps at night just after they were 5 weeks old with no supplemental heat. The grow-out coop had good wind protection and great ventilation, but no heat. At seven weeks as long as your coop has decent breeze protection and decent ventilation, yours should be good to go.

    I’ve raised several broods with numbers similar to yours. I agree they will not smother themselves trying to stay warm. Until they start to roost mine tend to sleep in a group regardless of temperature. It’s for comfort and companionship, not to stay warm. If they are cold, they will give a plaintive peep to show that they are in discomfort. It’s a pretty distinctive peep. You can tell by the tone that they are uncomfortable.

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