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Anyone brooded outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by FirewifeJess, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in WA state and have a rabbit hutch in my covered run with access to electricity. As long as there's no draft in the hutch and I can get a spot warm enough with a brooder lamp, should I be able to brood a few baby chicks out there instead of in the house? I'm asking because I'd like to reserve some day old chicks for my broody hen but if she doesn't accept them I will be hand raising them. I have everything necessary to do so, but didn't know if it was a bad idea to keep them outside in the run. Thanks!
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    As long as you can keep their brooder temperature at around 95* degrees for the first week at least they should be O.K. You can lower the temperature every week by around 5*, but it's very important that they stay warm for the first 2 weeks. After that they will be tougher and by 6 weeks they won't need the heat so much any more.
    If you introduce chicks to you broody do it in the evening when she's sleepy. It's not guaranteed that she'll accept them, but it's it's easier done this way. It also helps if she'd been sitting for at least 2 weeks. Good luck!
     
  3. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I plan to cover the wire front (if I have to brood them myself) most of the way with some fabric to keep out drafts, and have a heat lamp out there. We did this last year with the chicks in the basement but I don't ever want chicks in the house again, they're filthy! [​IMG] So if my broody doesn't take these chicks we'll keep them outside; I like that idea anyway because my hens are really sweet and generally pretty accepting of new flock members, so just hearing the babies outside in their run for a few weeks before being introduced should make that part easier too. [​IMG]
     
  4. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hopefully your hen will accept the little ones. Covering the front just make sure they don't get too hot being enclosed. Better to have a nice warm spot for them (simulating under the hen) and let the temp in the rest of the brooder be cooler(out from under mom). They will be healthier and feather faster if they have a variation in temperatures. I think being overheated is probably the most common cause for us losing chicks.
     
  5. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah we did chicks last year and it was no biggie. I never, ever regulated the temperature. I just left a hot spot and made sure the other side of the brooder was cool; the chicks did all the work regulating their own temps and it was super easy. I don't see why people think they have to cook their chicks like that, it's not normal like a mama hen would do :(
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    True. I had 2 broodies hatch chicks over winter. In the mornings they'd get up and walk around and the poor chicks was out and about in freezing temps. The hens stood still now and then so the chicks could crawl under them and defrost, but then they were off again with the chicks in the cold. They were fine! I'm sure they didn't enjoy the cold, but it didn't harm them, being exposed for short periods like that. They had a heat source (mom) handy when they needed it. I keep my chicks in a huge brooder with heat in less than half the space, so they get everything from hot to cold with cooler spots in-between.
     
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When I ordered chicks last year (in Feb, so not too far off from where we are now), I kept them in my house for a week before the dust made me kick them out. They lived in a hutch that's pretty open after they went outside. We had some pretty horrendous weather last Feb-cold, VERY windy and snow. I wrapped the hutch in a shower curtain and prayed the chicks would be alright. They were just fine, even with us losing power for a while. Hopefully your broody will take them, it would make things much easier for you!
    Nikki
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I exclusively brood outdoors in a small coop. I got kicked out of the garage and well house due to chick dust. And the DH won't allow brooding inside the house.

    Here is my brooder - and yes, there were day old chicks in it when this picture was taken.
    [​IMG]
     

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