chick to cold ?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sabrina1099, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. sabrina1099

    sabrina1099 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 9, 2015
    My 8 week chick wanted to get out so I let her out in 43 degree weather which is cold for me. Is it too cold for her ? What signs do chicks when they're cold ?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    By that age she should be able to deal with the weather. If she's cold, she may act lethargic and not eat / drink or scratch around doing usual chicken things. If she's up and about exploring and being a normal chicken, i would not worry too much - just keep an eye on her.

    1 person likes this.
  3. cluckcluckhens

    cluckcluckhens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2015
    During the time when winter came in 2012 -2013 ours was all under a year old some were only 4 months old, the others were a couple months old and made it through the worse cold which was down in the 20 and teens that year and ours was fine. With wind make sure yours has a cover and a place to get out of the wind. We read that Chickens can survive down to -40 degrees. One year our girls were out in the cold during the day time, snowed in couldn't get out into their run area since we got 12 inches of snow that prevented them from getting out the next morning. We had to remove the snow to get them out, our water was frozen, no electric so the girls ate snow until we were able to get some water for them. Our temps went down that year to - 3 or 4 degrees. Unless something is wrong with your chick she should be fine. It's 26 outside right now and we are going down to 23 tonight. Girls have a palace this year to keep them warmer and out of the wind.
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  4. cluckcluckhens

    cluckcluckhens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2015
    One other thing. Do you have a light on your chick. We kept a light on our chicks three years ago until they were 4 months old. They were out in the coop area during the night with a light on them to keep them warm in a small dog house style hen house for the baby chicks at that time. I would get a light on your chick to keep it warm. I think 8 weeks is too soon for the chick to not have a light to keep it warm. Try it and see if you see a change for the better.
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Depends on where she has spent most her time......are you still providing her with some kind of heat?
  6. 5Sons Coop

    5Sons Coop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2015
    Cold winters
    I live in the cold northwoods of Wisconsin. I have an insulated chicken coop with no power. The water has not froze inside the coop this winter and we had some single digit weather. I have 14 birds and still get 11-12 eggs a day. All my chickens are 6 months old. If we get subzero temps I am worried about the coop being warm enough and will run a light if needed. I plan to add 10 more birds next year to help keep the coop warm.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas

    Sabrina, I took this photo when the outside temperature was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. I always leave the pop door open and let them decide whether to go out or not. As long as a cold wind is not blowing and there is not snow on the ground, mine always choose to go out.


    My chickens generally don’t go out in the snow when they wake up to it. But after a couple of days some will generally go out and walk around. I’ve had chickens go out to forage the tops of weeds and dead grass in 9” of snow. They also went over to check out the compost pile. This 1” snow fell during the day. Since they were already out and it was a gradual change, they never bothered to go in.


    Your concern is that your chick is only 8 weeks old. My chicks are raised in a large brooder in the coop where one end is kept warm but the other end can cool off a lot. When it is below freezing there might be ice on the cold end, but the warm end is toasty. Mine play all over that brooder and get used to cold. I think that is where Aart was coming from with that question. How well is your chick acclimated?

    I’ve had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through nights with lows in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit with no supplemental heat. They had decent wind protection and really good ventilation. I did not put a thermometer in there to see how cold it actually was but with that ventilation I’d think it was in the mid 20’s. That’s not exactly your situation but it’s the closest I can come from my experience that I can remember. I normally let mine into the grow-out run at six weeks and let them roam with the main flock at 8 weeks so I’m sure some of my fall-raised chicks have been out roaming around in pretty cold weather but I can’t remember the coldest temperature that I’ve done that. After six weeks it’s just not something I worry about or even think of. Broody hens with much younger chicks don’t worry about it either, but a broody hen can warm them up when they need it. That’s a different situation.

    I can’t remember ever seeing a chick over six weeks old act cold. If a cold wind is blowing they will get out of the wind. My adults don’t like a really cold wind, one strong enough to ruffle feathers. I’d expect a cold 8 week old to hunker down out of the wind and fluff up its feathers to trap air in the down for insulation. That’s what the adults do when they are roosting in cold weather. If you have more than one they would probably huddle together to share body heat. If a young chick is cold they will give a very plaintive peep, really heart-rending, just hearing it you know something is wrong. I don’t know if an 8 week old would still do that, but it might.

    I personally don’t think you have anything at all to worry about with an 8 week old chick in the low 40’s as long as it can get out of the wind if it wants to. Most chicks should be fully feathered at about 5 weeks and capable of handling colder temperatures that the low 40’s, but there is always the question of moving them from a tropical climate to a truly cold one. That can be rough on me.
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