Can I put my chicks outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MKing, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. MKing

    MKing In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2012
    I have 5 chicks that hatched out on September 13-15, about 3 1/2 weeks ago. They are feathering out pretty well but still have a little ways to go. They are currently in my garage with a heat lamp at night and in a run during the day as soon as it starts to warm up. The box is getting pretty small for them though and I don't really have a larger one. I am wondering if they would be okay if I put the heat lamp in the chicken coop instead and still let them out in the run when it warms up in the day. We had our first freeze last night but I don't expect it to freeze every night.

    I have 3 twelve-week-old pullets in the coop as well (I would put a barrier between them), but I thought the heat lamp might provide a little extra warmth for them at night too. I have never raised baby chicks; our last batch of hens we got as pullets in the summer so the cold was never an issue.

    Any advice/

  2. KrisH

    KrisH Songster

    My vote would be no for 2 reasons...

    1) risk of fire with heat lamp in chicken house

    2) would be better to wait until they are fully feathered at about 6 weeks

    But.. you gotta go what you gotta do.

    just be careful


    here is what I was advised at one point

    Week 1 = 95 degrees
    Week 2 = 90 degrees
    Week 3 = 85 degrees
    Week 4 = 80 degrees
    Week 5 = 75 degrees
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. HouseMouseHens

    HouseMouseHens Chirping

    Jul 31, 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    My Coop
    SOmething I don't understand about this is, how is a light in a coop any different than a light in a brooder in a garage?
    1 person likes this.
  4. DianeS

    DianeS Songster

    Feb 28, 2010
    I raised mine outside from their second day. I hung the heat lamp about a foot from the ground, walled in 90% of the sides so they had fresh air but no breeze, and checked on them a bit more than most people do. They did fine.

    With 12 week olds in the same coop, definately separate them from the heat lamp. I don't think a 3 or 4 week old chick could knock a heat lamp down, but a 12 week old definately could.

    And as a by-the-way, your 12 week olds don't need any "extra warmth". It won't hurt them to have it, but them also getting some of the warmth from the chick's heat lamp isn't a benefit, so don't consider it when making your choice of whether to move the chicks into the coop a little early.
  5. Druidess

    Druidess Chirping

    Sep 11, 2012
    We just got new peeps two weeks ago and they're starting to get their feathers, but still have a lot of down. The temperatures here have dropped down to the 50s in the daytime, but my husband wants to take the babies out to run around in the yard for a few minutes a day now. Is it too early for these colder temperatures? We have them indoors under a heat lamp during the rest of the time.

    Also, will they be able to have some yard time this winter, as long as it's not real cold and windy out? It's going to get interesting balancing yard time with the older girls (we got them last spring), these new baby girls, and our dogs...but it's doable. I plan on waiting til the spring to integrate all of the chickens, figuring the babies should be old enough and big enough by then, and that I'll do it with them all out roaming first, before I put them all in the coop and run together.

    We're new to this, so I'm open to advice!
  6. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    It isn't. In fact, I'd rather have the light in an outdoor structure because of the fire risk. Ask an old farmer sometime and he'll probably laugh at the thought of putting chicks in your house.

    I raised my chicks entirely outdoors with a heat lamp and a wood & hardware cloth box. I set it up so that they had protection from drafts with 24" walls but also ample ventilation (used a 50/50 wood/wire lid that I swapped for all-wire lid after the first two weeks). The box was very near ambient temperature at one end and plenty warm directly under the lamp. I was surprised at how much running around they did even when it was cold outside. Oh, and they were on a covered deck so there was protection from rain and easy access to an outlet for the heat lamp. I was even able to place them near a window so I could spy on them at will.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  7. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    A mama hen takes them for a stroll much sooner and in colder temps. But, since you don't speak chicken or have a fluffy backside, it's probably easier if you can move the whole brooder out so they can go onto the grass and then retreat to their heat lamp at will.

  8. mychickenbrood

    mychickenbrood Chirping

    Apr 12, 2012
    Central Valley CA.
    I would be concerned with letting chicks that are used to a light, being let out in 50 degree weather, even for a short time. They need to be able to return to a heat source if they get cold.

    I would not worry about putting three week olds into a coop, as long as the warm light source is available and they are protected from drafts and wetness. A smaller wood or metal box type enclosure should work. Be sure to put a thick layer of dry material on the ground to start with, to keep them from getting too cold from the ground temperature.
  9. chicksooner

    chicksooner Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    My chicks hatched Sept. 12 and I am ready for them to move out to the coop as well. The plan is to start the transition in another week or so and on the weekend so that I will be around to check them often. I have a big wood/chicken wire box I will move into the main coop with a lid on it. Big thing for me is letting my big birds get used to the littler birds for a while. I am already letting them get plenty of cool down time in the garage and a heat lamp at night. It has already been in the 30s here.
  10. Druidess

    Druidess Chirping

    Sep 11, 2012, I don't. Sadly, can't really do that either...however, I did take it as a cold signal when they all flew up on me and took them back inside. We'll wait for Indian Summer or for them to get a bit older to take them out again. Thank you.

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