We are definitely in need of some advice. How old should our chicks be before we leave them outside overnight in their coop? We live in South Florida where it is very warm. Our chicks are approximately 5 weeks old. They are just now loosing their down and growing tail feathers. We have an old playhouse that we have enclosed in coated chicken wire and turned into our coop. We just went outside...again...to check on our chicks and see how they were doing their first night in their real home and off of the porch. They were going crazy and one of them was flopping around. I thought we had startled them and it had run into something. As soon as I picked it up, I realized there was a small rat snake wrapped around our little chicks neck. I was unable to wrap the snake fast enough and our poor little chick was killed. Needless to say, we have moved the other two back onto the porch where they are safe from snakes. When are they old enough to fend off a predator as small as a 12-14" rat snake that can fit through the chicken wire? Thank you for the help.