Can I move them outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Goatmama123, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. Goatmama123

    Goatmama123 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2015
    I have 9 three to four week old chicks. Feathering very nicely. I am in the Pacific NW... temps at night with a low of 30 degrees. Day time around 45.

    Can I move these guys outside without a heat lamp? They have a stall coop so they are still indoors, just without a heater running in the area. Our house is usually around 65-70

    I am very against a heatlamp in the barn... too many barn fires for my liking.

    They are getting too big for their brooder...I am starting to feel like a bad chick mom. I have no other chickens. Not to mention they smell and make a mess.

    I turn the heat lamp off most of the day in the house. It is fairly high up when it is on.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That's a little young for those temps. When you do move them out, they'll need a smallish space they can squeeze into and keep each other warm.
    I'd say at least 6 weeks for 30F and that is only if acclimated.

    Can you make a bigger brooder or do you have another building that can have a bit of heat added?
  3. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2015
    Northern CA
    No no no! I live where the weather is about the same temp as you and I have 8 almost 9 week old chicks and I'm still not letting them outside because the forecast is all raining this week. I feel terrible cause even with an extension that we built for them in the garage they are still almost too big for it. But definitely not 3-4 week olds can go outside in that temp. without a heat lamp. I would wait till they are at least 5 weeks, even 6. If you want to start transitioning them bring them outside in the day and bring them inside at night. But that's just my opinion
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Transporting the chicks outside during the day and taking them back into the brooder at night would be the best way to solve your problem. It would acclimate them while at the same time giving them more space during the day when they're active.

    You would then probably be able to move them into the coop full time in another three weeks as they would be fully feathered by then and acclimated to the cooler temps. It's referred to as "hardening off".
  5. Goatmama123

    Goatmama123 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2015
    I do not have the space to make a brooder bigger than the pack n play diy brooder they are in.

    Do you have a heat lamp in your garage for them? Because my barn and garage are the same temp.

    If they grow at the rate they have been growing- they will literally have no moving room by 6 weeks.
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Make a "cuddle box" for them. One of the other members (and forgive me, I can't recall now but I think it was @aart ) puts a box with a cutout in it into the coop area. The chicks go inside and snuggle when they get a chill, but the rest of the time they are out exploring, growing feathers, and getting acclimated.

    If I'm wrong about that, I hope someone will correct me. I want to make sure to give credit where it's due. I just start my chicks outside no matter what the temps are, so I don't have issues adjustiing them to outside.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees that's too drastic of a temp change, I assume your house is pretty warm.
    You need to get them used to colder temps before putting them out on their own.
    Crack open a window in the room they are in to slowly exposed them to colder temps over the nest week or so.

    I am the one who uses a huddle box, but I slowly reduce them temps before putting them outside.

    Make them a 'huddle box', put it in the brooder after turning off the heat(you might have to 'persuade' them to use it) then move it out to the coop with them.
    Cardboard box with a bottom a little bigger than what they need to cuddle next to each other without piling and tall enough for them to stand in.
    Cut an opening on one side a couple inches from bottom and big enough for 2-3 of them to go thru at once.
    Fill the bottom with some pine shavings an inch or so deep.
    This will give them a cozy place to sleep/rest, block any drafts and help hold their body heat in.
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    There are many ways to secure a heat lamp or other heat source to prevent fires. That is a much better alternative than keeping chicks too closely confined indoors or subjecting them to too much cold too early.
    Rather than using a 250 watt infrared heat lamp, you can go with a 100 watt ceramic heat emitter well secured and no fire issues. Or you can use a heating plate that uses very little energy.
    You can also make a mini hoop tent with some wire fencing covered with a heat blanket covered with plastic.
    Lose the pack n play. Go to a big box store like Lowe's and get large moving boxes. They're about $1.40 each. 3 boxes with doorways cut between them taped together should be large enough for the chicks and give them some more interesting area to negotiate. Put the heat in one, food in another and water in the third.
    1 person likes this.
  9. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 2, 2015
    East Texas
    @Blooie @azygous

    I'm in similar situation with my 4-5 week old chicks as well. What do y'all think?

    I live in Texas where weather this week in mid 70s during day and upper 50s at night.
    Next week it's 50s as highs and 30s lows. Love Texas weather...

    I took a galvanized tube turned it on its side w/ back facing the North. I then placed hay in bottom and clipped a heat lamp w/ 250 watt bulb.

    They made it through the night, but I was worried sick. I'm a bit of a control freak...
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015

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