Chicks and heat lights.

When do I move chicks away from the heat light?
Hi !
They will tell you. They will move away from it when their feathers start to come in. Then raise it up a bit. When they gather loosely underneath it and rest, you have it just the right height. You can usually take the light away about 4-5 weeks old. Or when the feathers on the breast have grown in and the 2 sides meet, fully feathered. Some poultry folk call this " when the breast is zipped up with feathers". When you do take the light away, the chicks will cry and protest. Usually because they simply miss the light. If they are cold, they will huddle together tightly and cheep in protest of the temp. . If they are just sleeping together they will nest next to each other. and sleep.
Best Regards,
Karen in western PA, USA
I was wondering the same thing. Actually I think I might be over thinking this...
I have 11 wonderful looking 4 week old gals. Almost all are looking 'zipped' up.
I have them in a large watermelon container in the garage. I have a heat lamp with a dimmer switch which I have on in the evenings which is holding at 25 deg C (about 80 F). I also have the regular light from the garage on.
The other night, I turned off the garage light by mistake and went to bed, around 0100 am. When I came to check on them at 730, some were still sleeping, some were walking around. I was very surprised how calm they were.
Now I tried this again a couple nights later, and when I turned out the regular light, but kept the infra-red heat light chirping...turned off the heat lamp and they all began to 'sing'!
The garage is insulated and holds it's heat very well. My coop (being build right now) is also going to be insulated -freaking cold up here in NW Ontario.
Are we talking about some tough love here, and just let them chirp which will get them ready for the real world?

it really does depend on the chicks age AND where you are. We live in high desert Arizona and have 27 chicks that are 2 weeks old right now. They don't spend much of their daylight hours under the light, I actually turn it off during the day because they don't spend any time under it. They will spend nights sprawled under it, but not nestled together. Colder areas would be different, of course.

We intentionally get our chicks this time of year because it works well temp wise. By the time it gets very cold at all they have all their feathers and no longer need a light.
Thanks for the replies guys. It's been pretty warm here during the days and my 1.5 week old chicks are loving being outside for a few hours in the sun a day, they are also seeking out the shade so it may be a little too warm for them. Am planning on outting them outside permanently at about 4 weeks, my husband is going batty over the chirping in the house lol
If they're hot, they'll move away from the heat lamp & vice versa if they're cold. As long as there is enough room in their brooder, gradually removing the heat lamp that way should work until they're feathered out.

EDIT: The above suggestion also depends on the location of the brooder. If they're in a climate-controlled area, you'll have to acclimate them to outdoor temperature.
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