Brooding outdoors in the winter?

Oct 13, 2019
1,114
4,112
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Longmont, CO
Hello all, haven’t been on here in quite some time, but figured I’d get some good ideas here.
Does anyone here brood outdoors year round in a cold climate? I’d love to hatch some chicks this fall to grow out over the winter like I did last year, except this season, I don’t have our heated workshop at my disposal. What I do have is two smaller coops and I’m trying to brainstorm how I could brood in one. I have 2 sweeter heaters and a variety of heat plates...I’ve read that air temp shouldn’t be below 55° when using a heat plate, but I have chicks under a broody right now and they have had no issues even when it’s dipped to 35° at night already.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear what has worked and not worked for you all. Cute pic of my best broody and her adopted mosaic baby.
 

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JacinLarkwell

Crowing
Mar 19, 2020
4,416
5,669
341
South-Eastern Montana
It hasn't worked well for us. This is even too late for my hens usually. We have one that is down 6 chicks in a week because of the weather. Just can't keep them warm enough outside
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
Sep 19, 2009
26,251
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Holts Summit, Missouri
I go all out with broody hens as they operate even power fails and they promote proper staying alive behavior in chicks. Last time I went into winter with just chicks was a major headache keeping them watered,

My stuff was outdoors. was
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,510
5,496
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USA
I have 2 sweeter heaters and a variety of heat plates...I’ve read that air temp shouldn’t be below 55° when using a heat plate, but I have chicks under a broody right now and they have had no issues even when it’s dipped to 35° at night already.
As long as you have an area sheltered from the wind, a pair of heat lamps would work just fine. (Two, in case one breaks or goes out.) I would put both heat lamps at one end of the space, so they make two overlapping puddles of warmth. That could leave the other end cooler, and the chicks can run back and forth and work on acclimating to the cold at their own rate.

Of course, heat lamps have a greater risk of fire--how much greater depends on details of your setup. So if you do use them, be careful.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
Sep 19, 2009
26,251
16,971
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Holts Summit, Missouri
I just put out 11 chicks about 3 weeks old. They have been kept in indoor brooder through today. They are getting chilled tonight with temperatures dropping into mid 40's F. I will check them a couple times through night to make certain all is good. Brooder is under an apple tree positioned to catch first rays of light at dawn. We are in a race to get feathered and weight on before first killing frost. Chicks with broody hens of the same age are having no problems with cold and have been outside since produced as eggs.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
Sep 19, 2009
26,251
16,971
786
Holts Summit, Missouri
I have yet to try heat lamps without cover of a building. I know they do not fair well in high humidity settings. Closest I have come so far has been to have heat lamp over a rabbit cage in a garage about 10 feet back from overhead door. There was a three week window where loss of heat lamp would have been lethal for chicks.
 

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