Building and Migrating to Coop in Winter - Advice for a Newbie

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sillyillyondra, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. sillyillyondra

    sillyillyondra Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2013
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    I am a brand new chicken owner with 4 adorable little babies - 2 buff opringtons, 1 australorp and 1 light brahma.
    I live in the Sacramento area and it can get as cold as 30 degrees in the winter and as hot as 110 in summer (low average in winter is 38 and high average in summer is 92) . Given my climate, are there any special considerations when building their coop? The coop will be facing NW with our home blocking all SE exposure.

    When my chicks are about 6-8 weeks old and have feathered, I'd like to move them out to the coop. The average temps here during that time are 58H/42L, do you think I am safe to move them? If not, I currently do not have a solution for keeping them inside until they are 5-6 months old and our temps start to raise again. If I will need a light in the coop I need to consider that now while planning the build for my coop. Like I said, I am a brand new owner so any amount of advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC! You can gradually reduce the temperature in the brooder (the recommended decrease is 5*F per week), until your chicks are around 5-6 weeks old when you can start turning off the heat during the day and also putting them outside during the warmest part of the day for an hour or two. This will get them used to being outside and wean them from the heat. Gradually increase their outside time and time off the heat until they are not getting extra heat during the day or nighttime. Once they are used to this they can move outside full time. When removing the heat watch the chicks' reaction. They will likely be distressed and scream and shout for a while, but watch how they behave otherwise. If they pile on top of each other and huddle together for warmth they are too cold, if they spread out and move around comfortably, they are fine. Let that behaviour guide you and try not to cave in when they yell at you :)

    Also see this thread for winter tips for chickens and coops: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/822765/winter-is-coming-checklists-tips-advice-for-a-newbie
     
  3. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine got booted out at 4 weeks old with no heat in the coop. They had stopped sleeping near the heat lamp at 3 weeks. They were feathered with the exception of some spots on their heads. Night time lows were reaching about 50 degrees F with daytime temps in the 70's. I would say 5-6 weeks at max before moving them out.. A draft free coop will go along ways to making them comfortable. Mine slept huddled in the shavings on the floor till the weather warmed up considerably before they started roosting. Probably 3 months old so I'm guessing they just liked sleeping together.
     
  4. sillyillyondra

    sillyillyondra Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2013
    Orangevale, CA
    How about the heat? Are there any special considerations when building our coop for the winter lows of 30+ to summer high's of 100+? Will my chicks tolerate those lows and highs?
     
  5. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Plenty of shade and water in the summer. My coop has extra ventilation I open in the summer for them. I also add a tarp to the top of the run to provide more shade. They are already in a shady location but the tarp adds to it. Spring and Fall I remove the tarp. Winter it goes back on along with one on the west side to block the wind. The north side is blocked by the house. The east faces a covered patio. Living in Texas I know about hot summers. Actually our temperature ranges are simular but I probably have a longer summer. I use cheap carbiners to hold the tarps in place. Takes only a few minutes to put up or down.
     

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