Am I being mean?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HappyPlace, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2011
    Middle of the Mitten
    I just recently moved my chicks outside to their coop and run. They are only 3 week old bantams, but seem to be doing quite well. I have to put them to bed at night but they get themselves up and out of the coop in the morning.

    My parents think I am being too mean, though, by not having a heat lamp on at night for them. They really are doing fine, I think; there's 19 of them and when they are all cuddled together (which is how they still sleep), they warm each other up quite well. We live in Michigan and it has been getting colder and the grass is wet in the morning, but I would rather they got used to the weather as it's only going to get colder.

    Am I being mean by not giving them a heat lamp at night? [​IMG]
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    With 19 of them, I think they can keep themselves warm by snuggling together. Are they fully feathered yet? I'm in Ohio, so our weather is similar, and I've always kept them indoors in a brooder until they were fully feathered, then I put them out into the coop with no heat lamp.

    I think it's actually smart to allow them to get used to the weather naturally, as long as you're sure they will stay warm enough at night. If you get them used to a heat lamp, and then you lose power in the winter months, they can really suffer.........

    As long as your coop is draft free, and doesn't get wet inside, you should be fine.
  3. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    You are running the risk of them piling up and someone suffocating. You should offer a heat source for a few more weeks.
  4. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Three weeks is a little young---You may want to put some heat source out there. They'll be healthier if the weather suddenly gets cold.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'm north of you a couple of hours.

    The temp's at night haven't been that bad, and you haven't suffered any suffocation issues to date, right?

    But here's the thing. The lows the next two nights will be near 30 in your area. Upper 20's here. THAT is indeed too cold for three week chicks. I completely agree with your plan to "harden" them for what comes later, and it will come. But it is too soon. Have some heat at night, for another couple of weeks. Then, they will feather up and be just fine.
  6. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    I'm personally moving toward trying to do without heat lamps at all (By summer brooding/using hot water bottles early in the brood), but I'd say in this case, they need it at night for now. If anything, if you want to harden them off, turn the light off for a few hours in the daytime, when it's warmer, and work up from there.
  7. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Chickens a pre-historic..... Tell them that in the pre-electric days they did not throw warm rock from the fire into the chicken coop to keep em warm. Your girls are good until it hits below the 30's with that many to bundle with.


  8. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2011
    Middle of the Mitten
    I really do appreciate the input, and I am not trying to argue, I just worry...

    They have feathers everywhere now but their heads (quickly feathering in, though) and under their wings. I have not had suffocation issues yet and I do check on them to make sure that this isn't happening. It can be a touch drafty in the coop as the pop holes are just that - holes, but the wind really only hits just inside (rain is the same). I made a nest for them in a corner out of the drafts. The shavings are piled high around the edges and there are three old hand towels for them to cuddle up in. When they go to bed, this is where I get them to sleep (and they do stay there for the night). It's actually pretty draft free in their "nest". Sitting inside the coop, also (which I have done), it's actually not that bad.

    I don't want to be unneccesarily mean, but I'm kind of leary about using a lamp out there. This isn't my first year in Michigan (14 years now) and I know how fickle the weather can be. I worry more that my chicks will be too used to the lamp and suffer worse with the weather. I think things are going fairly well right now and I don't want to ruin their progress.

    I'm very on the fence with this...
  9. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Quote:This is very true, but if we are pointing out their natural needs we should note that chicks are supposed to be kept warm by their mother, especially at night. They do not necessarily need the constant heat of the lamp (usually chicks dash in and out from under the hen to get their heat needs for however long they feel cold), but they do not have the ability to generate enough on their own until they are fully feathered.

    Because there is no hen involved to serve their needs naturally, the OP would be best served by providing a lamp at night. Better safe than to wake up in the morning to a coop full of crushed chicks that got too cold and tried to pile up.
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I say again, tonight and tomorrow night's low is forecast to be around 30 degrees. That's a little tough for the little ones. Providing some night time warmth when the lows dip to 30 isn't going to pamper them. I also agree with the previous poster about a mother hen's role and what it is we, in husbandry, are mimicking.

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