Chicks outside in Southern California - When? Help?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tholihan, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. tholihan

    tholihan Hatching

    Nov 4, 2014
    Yorba Linda
    Hello everyone. I am a newbie at this chicken thing and everyone around me thinks that I am crazy. Chickens in the city's? Really? I live in Yorba Linda and I have 6 chicks. I have Ben easing them indoors and they are 6 weeks old now. My wife is complaint about the dust they create. It is really dusty. They are happy and healthy. I have a three sided coop outside for them to go into, but the 4th side is open for ventilation chicken wire to keep them from straying.

    My question is with our temps now 50's at night and high 60's during the day. are they old enough to stay outside in the coop? I really like having them and I don't want to lose any. With those temps and their current age - what do think?

    Please help. Thanks in advance.
  2. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    6 weeks a little young. If your coop had four sides, they might be ok. They aren't fully feathered yet and not really prepared to face wind and weather. Usually, by 8 weeks they have full feathering and do just fine in the temperatures you are having. I'd reconsider moving them to a partially open coop.
  3. UrbanFarmOC

    UrbanFarmOC Songster

    Jun 9, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi! I'm in La Habra. I totally understand not wanting them indoors due to the dust. I have horrid allergies and I kept my chicks outside after they were 2-3 weeks old.

    With our temperatures in the low 50s and high 40s the next few days, it might be a little chilly for them in the coop. There are some modifications you can make, however. Is there any way you can keep them in the garage? That might be a good alternative. If you can't and want to move them (with their brooder box) into the coop, I suggest covering the open end with tarp to block out wind and drafts. You can keep it open during the day, but you'd definitely want to cover it up at night. You'll probably also want to put a heating lamp or a brooder heater. I'm not sure how you designed the coop floor, but you can add a layer of straw to the ground to aid in insulation and heat retention.

    For my original first batch of chicks, I kept them in a brooder box on my patio with a 150 watt bulb for heat. I covered the lid with a brick and sticks stacked on top on case skunks or other critters come by. For my second batch, I put them into the coop when they were 2 weeks old and ordered a Brinsea heater from Amazon (link below), since it's much safer than a bulb, especially in a coop with deep litter. I ran an extension cord out to my coop until they stopped going towards the heat source.

    Brinsea brooder heater:
  4. stacemck

    stacemck In the Brooder

    Nov 27, 2014
    Townsville Australia
    Have you thought about using recycled paper kitty litter, it is what I use, they don't eat it, it absorbs the smell very well and creates very little mess. I still brought my 12 weaker inside till a few days ago when she decided she would like to sleep with the other chooks on her own. Im in North Queensland Aus and it is very hot here right now but when I think young animal out at night I can picture them getting cold, I'm a sucker for my chooks. I would use kitty litter place a rag or old towel under the cage use a self waterer (so they ant splashing) don't put too much food in just refill it more often then that way they can't kick it around too much.
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    As long as their breasts are fully feathered, no problem. I agree with your wife. The dust is horrid. I will never raise chicks in my house again. That dust isn't regular dust. It is fine chick down and takes a lot of work to get clean because you either have to suck it up or wipe down with a damp cloth. Make sure she has a vacuum with a HEPA filter when she vacuums it up or it just goes thru the bag and into the house again. I use a refurbished Oreck XL upright I got at Big Lots a while back for only 100. .
    SoCal is my ol' stompin' ground. West Covina, Oceanside, Carlsbad, etc. I would be more worried about critters getting thru the chicken wire. What do you think about putting a 2 ft. high border of hardware cloth around the bottom of the poultry yard fence to keep out snakes? Just a thought.
    Best Regards,
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    With proper acclimation, they can move into your outdoor coop next week.

    Even though your area has balmy temps compared to most of the rest of us, the chicks would still benefit by a gradual lowering of the temperature. This will also accustom them to being in the dark at night. If you can, move them into a cooler place like the garage in a couple of days from now.

    Are they still using a heat lamp? If so, turn it off immediately. Have they been going outdoors during the daytime? If not, start letting them play out in the run immediately, unless it's raining.

    Do this for a week, and they'll be ready to move out into their coop all together with no heat.

    Tip: enclose them in the coop for a couple of days with food and water to imprint that this is their home and they will be more likely to go inside at night on their own after you do let them out into the run.

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