Changing the temp on the brooder box


In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
I have my 4 older girls they are 6 weeks old today and then I have 2 babies that are a month old and they are all together. I have been raising the heat lamp and "babies " are doing pretty well with the heat temp changing. I know I need to get the old girls ready to go outside in a a few weeks. But Im not really sure how to do that but still keep the babies warm. HELP ME please.


12 Years
Mar 17, 2010
essexville, michigan
your post doesn't say where you live, I live in michigan and we get some cold weather in the winter. My birds were hatched the last week of october I kept them in my basement until they outgrew the brooder at 4wks. They went in my insulated garage and then out to the pole barn at 8wks. At 10wks they were outside in a new pen and run, the temps were single digit, and they didn't seem to mind. As long as they got feathers they can stand any weather, I don't heat my coop just have alot of ventilation and they seem happy. Been getting 5 eggs every day for the last 3 weeks.
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Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
I don’t know what your coop looks like, if you have electricity to it, or if you have grown chickens. I brood my chicks in the coop from Day 1. I have a built-in brooder so they are protected from the older chickens. It’s 3’ x 6’ and has good draft protection. I only provide heat in one area and let the rest cool off as it will. The far parts of that brooder can get pretty cool but they play in it anyway, just going back to the heat when they need to warm up. When it’s down around freezing I cover it better to reduce ventilation and provide another smaller heat source to keep the food and water area warmer for the first couple of weeks. You need to watch them and be flexible depending on what they do. At 4 weeks your chicks are well beyond this phase.

If your coop has good draft protection and you can safely put a heat source out there, move them out there. Just put the heat in one area and let the rest cool off. Of course be careful of fire but you have to do that in your brooder anyway.

I don’t know your conditions, including what temperatures you are talking about. It seems each batch of mine I do a bit differently depending in the time of year. During our triple digit heat wave last summer I turned the daytime heat off in that outside brooder at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days. Our lows at night were probably in the 80’s. Even at night they were getting as far from the heat as they could.

In colder weather I often keep the heat on until 5 weeks, day and night. I’ve put 5 week old chicks out in an unheated grow-out coop with good draft protection and good ventilation when the overnight lows were in the mid 40’s. Before they were 6 weeks old the overnight lows hit the mid 20’s. They were fine.

I’ve had some between these extremes. I try to watch how they react to the heat to see what they are telling me to do.

I’ve seen a broody take her two week old chicks to the roosts when the overnight lows were in the mid 70’s. She could not cover all of them on the roost. The chicks she did not cover were fine, but they did have others to snuggle against, at least on one side.

I don’t know what temperatures you are talking about. This time of year my overnight lows can vary by 30 degrees within a couple of days. It’s hard to give specific recommendations not knowing your weather, what your coop looks like, or what other options you might have. A garage or some other building may give you options like 3forfree mentioned. Or maybe your weather is already warm enough even at night that you are past the worry stage.

With yours being used to being together I’d treat them all the same, as it they were 4 weeks. You don’t want to separate them since you have then integrated successfully. If you can’t acclimate them I agree you should be a bit more cautious on when you remove the heat, but they are pretty tough. Most of them are going to be fully feathered at 5 weeks.

With your younger ones at 4 weeks, if they are still in your house it is highly unlikely they need heat at all. Remove the heat and watch how they react. I think you’ll find they are fine right now.

Good luck! I know it is nerve-wracking, especially your first time, but they really are pretty tough.


In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
I live in Tacoma, Washington. And so last night I decided to turn their heat lamp off for the night and this morning they were all warm and happy and didn't even really seem to mind that they didn't have any heat. I just want to make sure the girls will be ready for the Rainy Pacific Northwest weather.

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