Are my chicks too cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Swea2011, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Swea2011

    Swea2011 New Egg

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    Nov 18, 2011
    Hi everyone!

    I have been reading everyones posts and questions for a few months now. It was about time I joined.... :)

    I bought my first chickens in April but unfortunately lost some to predators. I have now enhanced my coop and bought some new chicks to add to the gang. My new six Plymouth Rock chicks are 6-7 weeks old. I recently decided to put them out with my two 8 month old hens....it didn't go that well. After reading some threads I created a small area only for the chicks so that they could escape from the big girls if needed. Now, my big chickens sleep on top of the coop instead of in it (before they slept inside all night) and my small ones huddle in their safe area through the night. It is starting to get cold and even though I have surrounded the little ones with hay (they are literally surrounded... :)) I am afraid that they are cold...... I live in MA and we have been lucky with the weather but the last two nights it has been freezing.....

    They are eating and drinking so I know that they are getting enough food and water but I am worried that they are cold. Should I just put them all in the coop at night and hope for the best or will they be fine huddled together in their hay castle? I am grateful for any help/input I can get.

    Swea2011:)
     
  2. bambi

    bambi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If your chicks have fully feather out they should be just fine. IMO and experience you don't want to keep them warm instead you want to harden them [​IMG]. I am sure others will give you more advice.
     
  3. darin367

    darin367 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    as soon as it gets dark, start putting them all in the coop..... i've found that they seem to call a truce at dark.....
     
  4. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would put them in the coop as well. Doing it at night is a VERY good idea.

    I would also stick around in the morning and if the older ones pick on the little ones, smack the crap out of them. Let them know YOU are the boss and that is unacceptable. There is nothing wrong with allowing them to establish the pecking order (they will do it anyway) but over or heightened aggression should not be allowed as a behavior. I believe removing the little ones does not change the behavior, it just changes the situation. This group we have had a couple of really aggressive NH Reds. Me and My wife both watched and waited till it got mean and then 'interacted' with them. Worked out pretty good for us. Think about it, it might work for you too.

    I personally don't think you need to worry about heat, yes they may be cold for a few nights, but will adapt very quickly. keeping them warm now will only delay the process and they may not be prepared for when it does actually get and stay cold. Lots of different philosophies out there though. Pick the one you like the best, adjust it to your personal situation, and trust your judgement. There probably is no right answer, just the one YOU make.
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sorry, but I think this is quite pointless. You're not going to "teach" a chicken anything by hitting it, certainly nothing that is going to prevent it from engaging in natural behavior when you're not right there to stop it by hitting it again.

    The reason it's recommended not to integrate younger chickens in with adults until they're about the same size is to mitigate the natural aggression that occurs when you add new birds to the flock.

    If I understand the original post, the adult chickens are not sleeping inside the coop right now. I'd actually be more concerned about that. Do these chickens have protection from rain and drafts sleeping on top of the coop?
     
  6. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well you may thunk it is pointless, but it works. We have set the pecking order and we are on top. Our little partridge rocks were getting creamed until we stepped in.

    Like I said, it worked for us, just something to consider in the OP's decision to remedy their situation.
     
  7. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I agree with elmo that the immediate concern would be the aggression from the adults towards the chicks. There are many posts about chicks getting hurt when introduced to adults, sometimes even being killed. I think keeping them separated until close to the same size is the best option, if possible.

    As far as the cold- that is a choice. It runs the gamut from do nothing, to bringing them inside or heating the coop. The key is a dry draft free coop; and being aware of how your chickens are faring.

    Just this morning I've read different threads about radiant floor heat in a coop, chickens walking in snow, and finding that their chicken's combs froze during the night.

    Imp
     
  8. Swea2011

    Swea2011 New Egg

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    I was very concerned about the big ones not sleeping inside their coop since the small chicks was put out. They don't really have any kind of protection from anything. Tomorrow I will try putting them all in the coop after dark. I will be around Monday morning to check things out. However, not sure if I am comfortable with "smacking the chickens". Don't think that should be necessary...... hopefully they will figure out the pecking order themselves.

    Thank you for all your input. I should probably not be worried about the cold. Hopefully it will all work out when they all sleep in the coop.....

    Swea2011:)
     

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