Can my babies go outside before winter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jarretts1, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. jarretts1

    jarretts1 New Egg

    Oct 28, 2015
    I have 6 week old chicks, all different breeds but I specifically looked for chickens that are ok in the cold when I bought them since we live in Ohio. Here is my question. Right now they are all in my Florida Room in a blocked off area. I would like to know when you think it is ok to move them to an outdoor coop? Weather here is 30's -50's at night right now. Within the next month or so we will probably start to see colder temperatures and eventually snow. Last winter got pretty cold. Should I put them out soon and give them a heating lamp as the days and nights get colder... giving them time to adjust as the weather changes or should I plan on just waiting out the winter with them inside and putting them out come early spring? Thanks for any advice you can give me!
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich True BYC Addict

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Some questions...
    How many are there?
    How is your coop set up and do you already have adult chickens in it.?
    Heating lamps always have to be used with caution in coops due to fire hazards. Make sure that you do it safely.
    If your chickens are not totally feathered out, then they will be cold. Putting them outside early will not accelerate their feather growth. If that is the case, are you able to keep them there over winter ??
    Post some pix of your setup and there are many here that can give you suggestions.
  3. BlackBriars

    BlackBriars Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2015
    I would start acclimating them by moving them outdoors during the day for the next ten days or so. By then they will be nearly 8 weeks old and should be ready for nights in the coop.

    Properly ventilated, the coop should not require heat.
  4. vajjslayer09

    vajjslayer09 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2015
    Southeast ohio
    mine are 9 weeks old today and been in their coop for two heat lamp now....they all laid in the corner huddled up the first few nights...i started putting them on the roost at night(tucking them in) but from week 3 til week 6 mine were outside in a brooder box with an option to go into heat lamp. are yours feathered out good and getting big? you could probably put them in the coop and just ration them with the heat lamp..eventually taking it all the way away from them
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    At 6 weeks, they should be fully feathered and fine to take the heat lamp away. I have a brood of 8 week olds, and they only had a heat lamp for the first 3 weeks. Well into freezing at night already, and they are perfectly fine. They have coats made of down ;)

    However, ventilation is key for preventing frostbite on combs, wattles, and feet. We don't want the humidity in a coop too high, or condensation from their breath will freeze their combs, etc.

    You can acclimate them gently by decreasing the heat lamp by an hour a day, or just pull it completely; they will snuggle together if they do get nippy :)

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Generally, they should be fully feathered out and ready for what the weather has to throw at them, assuming that they have a draft free but well ventilated coop. IF: they have been properly hardened off. You can't take chicks from the 70* house one day, and pop them into a coop with freezing temps the next day, even if they are fully feathered. By now, they should easily be doing all day, every day in the coop/secure run and only coming in at night. If you can give them a little hay box to snuggle down in and if there are enough of them that they can share body heat, they should be fine when you harden them off. I recommend the heating pad brooder. That way, chicks are in the coop from day one, and start getting hardened off on day one. No acclimation to outside temps required. They feather faster, they are more active (if that's possible, but it is!) They self regulate, and... IMO they are more intelligent, confident, friendlier, and grow faster.
  7. Gerard Dawn

    Gerard Dawn Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014
    6 weeks old I think they can go out during the day since they are old enough. Again at this age they can move to a coop. As you say your winter gets very cold, so incase the temps drop very low you can have some heater devices to heat up the room.
  8. mwdudley

    mwdudley Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2013
    Saint Joseph Missouri
    Hi I'm interested in this thread , so following , I have had trouble and have lost a few of my girls to a fox , soi hatched 14 on 2 of October and this will be my first time bring chicks in to a cold coop all advice will be welcome .
  9. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich True BYC Addict

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    LAZY GARDENER IN POST #6 WROTE .. I recommend the heating pad brooder. So that is one good IDEA. Now for security reasons, you need to have your coop well secured. Your run, should be secure as well. I don't know how your facilities are and so I just give general advice.. Some here have very weakly secured coops and no runs, just free range. Everyone has different situations, aspirations, facilities, desires, and budgets. Just trying to do the BEST THEY CAN........ Fox can get your chickens day and night. Raccoons, and they are EVERYWHERE in the Lower 48. usually get your chickens at evening time. Your coop can also be at the end of a raccoons daily tour, and so it may happen early morning. Hawks are daytime hunters, so you need to have secure run if possible. I notice that you live in the SHOW ME STATE. During summer, snakes are also a concern. There are ways to keep them out, but it does it does get involved. Maybe in your area they are minimal.[​IMG] ... So consider what I wrote here and by all means ask as many specific questions as you have.. The peeps here are more than willing to help with advice. [​IMG]
  10. mwdudley

    mwdudley Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2013
    Saint Joseph Missouri
    Thank you , yes all these predictors are here I have a very secure coop and run , I like to let the girls out to feed in the yard , it works untile the crops lose there leaves and the girls get brave and go in to them to feed , so they are easy pray so we keep them in the run for now till they pick the soybeans , .
    The heating bad is a good idea I'll look in to that , thank again for your help.

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