Can I put Chicks outdoors?


9 Years
Mar 6, 2010

I'm new to the list, and new to raising chicks. Kind of. Anyway, I just bought 12 chicks, black sex-links and golden sex links, and I plan to buy another dozen next week, some buff orpingtons and black australorps.

So here's my question: We live in a REALLY small house right now, and I have a lot of small children. I'm concerned that having the chicks in the living room might not be healthy. I've heard they create "chick dust". There's no where else in the house to keep them at all. My plan had been to keep them inside for two weeks while I'm getting them a really warm coop area set up, but now that we're getting them in two separate batches, I wonder how that's going to work out.

At what point do I need to worry about the chick dust? Can I put them out sooner if need be? Our temps here have been unseasonably warm, by the way. It's getting up in the fifties during the day, and I don't think it goes below freezing at night. I thought if I built them a snug little house in their coop, and stack some straw bales under and around it, and kept the heat lamp in it, maybe two, that might be enough.

What do you think?


p.s. I was also going to get some adult hens later this week, hoping for at least one broody type. I know they'll need to be housed separately, but I've read that sometimes a broody hen will adopt some chicks on her own. Any thoughts on that?
First off, welcome!!! Glad you have you here on BYC.

Second, yes, chicks to create a lot of dust. I have a brooder in my coop that is totally enclosed and draft free. I have housed many chicks successfully in that brooder, even with temps. in the freezing range. The trick to it, no matter where you house them (indoors our outdoors) is to make sure that the chicks are in a draft free area with the heat lamp low enough to keep them warm. I am not a fan of straw and chickens, so I would personally not use straw. I'd enclose them with wood, but that is my opinion. Many people use straw with their chickens, I just prefer not too so as to avoid impacted crops.

As far as housing chicks with a broody goes, sometimes it does work but I wouldn't hope for a broody right off the bat. Chickens are creatures of habit and once their routine is thrown off, like moving them to a different home, it takes awhile for them to settle back in.

Hope this helps!

Thanks! We're going to build the coop this week. The only thing I'm worried about is that they'll be outside, and it will be harder to keep an eye on the temperature, to keep them comfortable. We lost one chick today.
I don't know what happened, I just saw it laying on the floor in the middle of the brooder box. It looked a bit smashed, like the others had been sitting on it, but it's possible they just walked over it. They had all looked fine earlier. I was worried it overheated, but we had just raised the lamp, and it didn't feel anywhere near 95 degrees in most of the brooder. None of them had been panting recently, either. I don't think it was any of my kids, either, as the brooder is in a tall box up on the table, and they didn't have a chair up to it at all this morning.

I guess it's a mystery,
but it makes me sad. I've raised chicks twice before, once when I was living off grid in a really cold situation (used bottles of hot water to keep them warm) and never lost a one. I'm also thinking that if I somehow neglected them because I was busy, or if the kids did do something, then I should order a bunch more chicks. We really need at least twelve chickens to keep us well supplied with eggs. We only have 11 right now. I'd rather have more than less.
:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy But hopefully this was an isolated, unavoidable incident.

One thing I did notice, is that the dead chick did seem to be a bit puffy on its upper chest. I'm wondering if it ate something it shouldn't, like some pine shavings. I tried using newspaper strips instead of pine shavings, but they just tromped those down, so I put in the shavings that came in their box coming home, then bought some shavings today. I did notice that the pine shavings bag said it had a little bit of "other wood types" mixed in, to "more efficiently make use of forest resources". I know that cedar shavings are bad for them...should I be worried about that? It looked like most of the shavings were all the same color.
Welcome to BYC! And i'm so sorry about your chick.

As far as worrying about the temps when you move them outside, you will be fine as long as you keep the lamp fairly low and on one end of the brooder. This allows the chicks to regulate their own temps. They will settle down in the spot that is most comfortable for them.
Again, welcome to BYC! Dust probably won't be a problem for the first week or two...hopefully enough time for you to get your coop sectioned off with a draft free brooder. I would use wood to make a draft-free section with the heat light above it. Put a thermometer at chick level in this area, and adjust the height of the heat lamp as needed per age of your chicks. I used shavings as bedding after the first 3 days. At first it was shavings covered by layers of paper towels. Just make sure your waterer is chick proof (not deep water so chicks can drown....add marbles to holding area if needed). Good luck!
Hi, welcome ..

I brought home 3 peeps this weekend and the brooder ( a rubbermaid tub) is setup in my barn aisleway. The heat lamp is hung above and I have checked the peeps and even with my night time temps at 39 they seem comfortable and when I checed them in the wee hours (2:30am) they were sleeping peacefully. The key is to keep them warm and draft free. A friend of mine has her stock tank brooder in her car port.

Our temps probably don't get as low as y'all's, but my brooder is a modified wooden shipping crate that is always outside. One of the smartest things we ever did.
I like having them outside, the rubbermaid tub was handy and in the barn loft
but if I do this again we have discussed getting a 10.00 piece of ABS plywood and making a brooder box on wheels so I can move it later .. my DH makes everything way too heavy.

I am having a hard time justifying a 100 stock tank for 10.00 in peeps
My main flock is 7 mature hens but two went broody and hatched a few peeps but with my luck I bet they are roosters so I hedged my bets and brought home the 3 peeps LOL!
first off

and you can get a 55 gallon rubbermaid tub,use it as a brooder, take a sheet or something and cover the top of the brooder
if your gonna do that, get a hook on the celing, get a hanger hanging on the hook, wrap some of the sheet on the hanger, and the rest will drap around the brooder
we're doing that
looks like were raising Rose-Mary's baby

good luck!
also, how warm is it outside???

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