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Can I put young pullets from garage to coop in middle of winter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by IndianaHomestea, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    Hi all, I bought 25 baby chicks about 2 weeks ago. Here in Indiana the winter has just started, so by the time these guys and gals are big enough to go outside it will be the middle of the winter.

    Half are RIR's and half are light brahma's. I know the brahma's are more cold hardy.

    But I wanted to get the opinion of a few people with more experience than me, as this is my first shot at raise baby chicks.

    If I put them out from the heat lamps in my garage to free ranging outside in the dead of the winter, is that a recipe for disaster or do you think they could tough it out and make it through?
     
  2. cubbysan

    cubbysan Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am a newbie too.

    I just moved my 2 1/2 month old chicks from my garage to their new coop Saturday. The temps Friday night were below 30 here, when I moved them outside it was mid 40's with the next two nights in the 30's. We are now on day 5, and seem to be thriving.

    I haven't used the heat lamp for probably two months, did not use it very long because when we got them the outdoor temps were still in the 90's. The past couple weeks, I have been keeping my garage door open so that they can get used to the colder weather.

    I do have 8 of them, and they have been cuddling with each other in the coop, but outside they are very active.

    I am curious what the experienced people will say. I think as long as they are feathered out they will be okay. When I was carrying them down to the coop one by one, I was amazed how much body heat each one was producing.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are a few things to consider. What does the coop look like you are putting them in? If it has good draft protection where they are sleeping and decent ventilation, you are a long way toward being OK. The way I accomplish good draft protection with good ventilation is to have the ventilation openings over their head when they are sleeping.

    Another important consideration is age. Yours should be fully feathered out by the time they are 5 weeks old. Once they are fully feathered, most of your worries are past.

    How warm is your garage without the heat lamp? How is your brooder set up? I keep my brooder in the coop from Day 1. My brooder is fairly large and well ventilated but I can provide good draft protection if I want to. In the heat of the summer I don't but in cold weather I do. I heat one end and let the rest cool off as it will. Sometimes with very young chicks that gets down in the 40's Fahrenheit at night. I would not worry if it got even colder as long as I have the heat at one end they can go to. Many people on this forum would be shocked to see how much time they choose to spend in the cooler parts of that brooder, just going back to the heat to warm up when they need to.

    I do think mine get better acclimated with the time they spend in the cooler parts. Last fall, I took the chicks out of the heated brooder and put them in an unheated grow-out coop when they were 5 weeks old and overnight temperatures were in the 40's. When those chicks were 5-1/2 weeks old, the overnight temperature hit the mid-20's Fahrenheit. Those chicks were fine.

    When you put your chicks out, they will probably not roost at night but will sleep huddled down in the bedding in a pile. They do that in the heat of the summer too. It’s not to keep warm, they just like the company. With yours, the added benefit will be that they do stay warmer, both from the insulation from the bedding and their body heat.

    I’d leave them locked in the coop for a week or so anyway when you first put them out. It helps tell them that the coop is home but also keeps them out of the worst of the weather until they get a bit acclimated.

    I don’t know if your garage is attached or detached or how cold it gets in there. Don’t be afraid to give them some time in colder weather in there if you can. Turn that heat lamp off some, especially during the day, to help them get used to cooler weather. If they get cold, they'll let you know by their distress peeping. When you hear distress peeping, you recognize it. Before you put them in the coop, you should leave them without heat in the brooder for a few nights, even if it gets cold in there. And definitely let them go through a few days without heat.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Acclimating them to the colder weather is very important. Hopefully you can turn off the heat in the garage or turn it down to 40F for a near a week to get them ready for the colder weather that will be outside. Slow staging down of temp will get them to feather faster and acclimate to winter conditions. Starting at 95F first week then knocking down 5 degrees every 5 days, at near 4 weeks no added heat but the garage temp at 60F and then turn down the heat in garage to get them ready.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  5. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    For those interested: I put them outside just a few days ago and they're thriving... loving it! Of course, it was a miracle that it's been in the 60's and even up to 70 yesterday here in Indiana, but I believe I acclimated them well. I had the lamps off for the past few weeks and was leaving the garage door open even when it was down in the 40's.

    So far so good. Today the high was in the upper 40's and they were out and about, not even huddling up, so I think they're going to be just fine. They are exactly 7 weeks old today and all feathered out.
     
  6. Druidess

    Druidess Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2012
    Thank you, Indiana, for starting this thread, and for all who answered. We're getting ready to put our 10 week old Barred Rock girls out into the big coop this weekend as the garage is getting stinky and they're getting restless in the baby pen. I just wish I'd read it a week ago so that I'd have started turning off the heat lamp in the garage...but I'll do that now, and hope they're okay.
     
  7. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    Glad to help. Wow, 10 weeks :) I think they will do just fine. Mine are 7 weeks and doing just fine out there. At 10 weeks they are 100% feathered out AND have more meat on their bones, so I think they'll not only be ok, but they'll be happier out there.
     
  8. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Overrun With Chickens

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    My chicks are 10 weeks old in the garage also but only because I was working on finishing the coop. Coop is done now and they will be moved outside in a few days. My chicks have been off heat completly though for a few weeks now and have had full access to outside since 4 weeks old So they are fully acclimated to the cold outside temps. Chicks are a lot hardier than people give them credit for. I cant wait to move mine out of the garage, they make such a mess agh.
     
  9. Druidess

    Druidess Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2012
    Thank you, Indiana and Chicken Pickin. Well, we put them out in the coop, but with the bottom closed for now, letting them in and out the door manually as they get used to that part and their new home. We did hook the light up out there for now until they get used to more space and the cooler air. We'll have it off during the day starting tomorrow, but turn it on at night as the temps drop drastically then right now.

    Chicken Pickin, where in NH are you located? I'm originally from there, Brentwood then Rochester, and my parents live in Ossipee now. We're planning to move to Laconia within the next couple of years.
     

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