Am I coddling? Help, please!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by notreadyforthis, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. notreadyforthis

    notreadyforthis New Egg

    Nov 22, 2013
    Okay, so I am a coddler. I know this about myself. I have worked hard over the years to curb this tendency, but am not always sure when I need to, so I am seeking guidance.

    I am in the Piedmont of Virginia and we are having a colder fall than we typically do. I am a first time chicken owner and stupidly choose to start with day olds in the fall. My girls are now 5.5 week old pullets and have moved from the brooder to their roost very well. I have been researching on this site and others the debate about heating the coop or not and really understand the not heat point of view, so I have been slowly raising the heat lamp and have only been using one of the two we have. Last night was our first night cold enough to freeze their water, and it only warmed up to about 35 F today. When I checked on my girls, 10 of the 11 were acting well enough (walking around eating, flying onto the perch) but had cold feet. My one little leg horn run, however, was shivering. So, I caved in and put in the other heat lamp. Although I feel fairly confident this was the right choice for my runt I now have two concerns.

    1. Have I ruined my chances of accommodating them to the cold weather for the winter? Should I even try this winter, or are they still too young?
    2. Is this choice detrimental to the other girls, or is it a reasonable choice since they had cold feet?

    Any and all guidance appreciated. And Happy Thanksgiving all.
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 7, 2011
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Hello & welcome!
    Personally, I would leave the heat on until 8 weeks, gradually lowering the temp. Then change over to a 40w light bulb, preferrably on a timer so it can go on at 5am (ish) and then off around 9am. Amazingly, that lonely little light bulb provides quite a few degrees of heat.
    The girls will acclimate well enough - I have two 11 week old Marans' who are doing well in 6F temp this morning!
    Keep an eye on the cold feet, but they probably need to feather out a bit more, Sue
  3. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2013
    I'm not sure what your 5 wk olds look like, but young chicks need to be fully feathered out before they can stand the cold with no supplemental heat. Usually chicks are fully feathered by 8 wks old, so I would keep the extra heat in the coop for now. I made the mistake of moving four wks olds out with six week olds earlier in the year and even though there was a heat lamp, I think they were too scared to get under it and must have not been eating well either because within a week they were almost dying. I immediately brought them back inside to nurse them back to health and waited a couple of more weeks before trying again. The stress and the cold will kill a chick quick.
  4. notreadyforthis

    notreadyforthis New Egg

    Nov 22, 2013
    everyone for your input. I thought that they all looked feathered; however, being new to this there is clearly a difference between being "feathered" and "fully feathered." I was concerned about my runt the first night, but after a couple of nights with heat everyone looks happier, and little "Baby Jane" even looks bigger. Thank you again everyone!
  5. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2013
    keep them outside with heat, slowly decrease it as they get to 8 weeks or even 10 weeks old :)

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