Brooder temperature

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by EmilyM, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. EmilyM

    EmilyM Just Hatched

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    I have seven day old chicks and I never raised chicks at this time of year. Should I slowly start lowering the temperature in the brooder to prepare them for the colder temperature outside? If so, at what age and how much should I lower it at a time?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Redsoxs has given you a great link. IMO, its just as easy to observe the behaviour of your chicks. If they huddle together and chirp, they are too cold, so lower heat source. If they avoid the heat source, even at night, then they are too warm, so increase the distance between brooder and heat source.

    Bear in mind that the brooder is not supposed to be an even temperature. The idea is to mimic a mother hen and chicks, i.e. chicks will run under momma to warm up, and then scoot out and enjoy being chicks until they feel cool, when they will run under momma again. One area of the brooder should be warm, the rest should not be affected by the heat source.

    Depending on the temperatures where you are, chicks should be able to manage without a heat source once they are feathered out - any time from 4-5 weeks onwards. You can "harden them off" after this time by putting them outside for short periods of time during the day - increase the period of time that they are out each day. Again, observe their behaviour - huddling together and chirping means that they are cold.
     
  4. EmilyM

    EmilyM Just Hatched

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    @redsoxs @CTKen Thank you guys! Both of you were very helpful!
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    You are most welcome [​IMG]
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I also urge you to consider the heating pad method or the wool hen. The advantages to the chicks are a natural means of warming themselves similar to a real broody hen, and they will automatically condition themselves to steadily cooling temperatures. You only need to lower the heat setting as they grow in feathers.

    Most people mistake the brooder temperature guidelines to mean that the entire brooder must be kept at a uniform temperature, sort of like an oven where you plan on baking a cake. The reality is far from this impression. Chicks need and benefit from a cool environment apart from having a heat source under which to warm themselves, the purpose of which is to help the chicks replace lost body heat. The surrounding environment can be any temperature, even close to freezing.

    This ideal state of brooding is best achieved outdoors in your coop or run rather than an indoor brooder. There are many other advantages to brooding outdoors, even in the coldest temperatures. You can read about them by going to the link on outdoor brooding below this post .
     
  8. EmilyM

    EmilyM Just Hatched

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    @lazy gardener @azygous Thank you for the links and advice! I didn't even know what a wool hen was until now. I thought it was literally a hen made of wool and wondered why when I googled it before, I could never find it. Haha. I always wondered how that would help but now that I know what it is, I'll look into it more. Are you able to buy it anyway or do you have to build it?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Both are home made fabrications! Ideas abound re: MHP on Blooie's thread. And, Wool hen can be made up using what ever you have available for the frame, as long is it is safe and will provide an anchor for the fabric strips. The beauty of these items is that you can put them together in an afternoon, and aside from the cost of the heating pad for MHP, you will most likely already have everything available = FREE. If you can wire a lamp with instructions you can also make an incubator for very little cash lay out. Plans abound for those as well.
     
  10. EmilyM

    EmilyM Just Hatched

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    @lazy gardener awesome! Maybe I could turn one of my chicken boxes into a wool hen because I have more boxes than hens.
     

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