Chicks seem to be doing OK without a heat lamp, am I doing right be them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Morrigan, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. Morrigan

    Morrigan Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 9, 2014
    Two weeks ago, I moved 4, 10-day old chicks to an outdoor brooder with an attached run. For the first couple of days I, had a heat lamp on them, but then summer hit. It was over 90 degrees and so hot I turned off the lamp and opened the door to the run, so they could get out into the fresh air. They loved their new freedom. The first night I put the heat lamp back on, as temps were supposed to drop below 70. By the next night, however, it was still around 80 degree when we went to bed, the chicks seemed in no distress, so we left it off. It hasn't been on since and the chicks are now 3 weeks old -- with wing and most of their back feathers, but they still have fuzzy heads, butts and bellies.

    It's been getting progressively cooler at night. Last night the low was 62, but when I checked them in the morning they looked fine and lively. Now we are going to see nighttime lows in the high to mid-50s and I'm wondering if I should get the heat lamp back on. I did make a little cubby-hole in their brooder they could sleep in to preserve body heat, but don't know if they will use it. I hate the fire-hazard aspect of a heat lamp and so far it appears to have been totally unnecessary. At three weeks they seem surprisingly hardy, but I don't want to push it.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    What breed and how big and feathered are they? Now they are 3.5 weeks old? Normally I would say they could use a heat lamp just at night. I'm neurotic about such things, but our weather turned warm and I put 3 week old babies out ten days ago. Days were in the high 80's and nights went down to seventies, but there were fourteen of them (I figured even if they were with mom, they wouldn't all fit under her.) and they were in a smaller well insulated section of the coop. They've been fine and are growing well.
  3. Donna R Raybon

    Donna R Raybon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2016
    I just bring them back inside. No more than what you have it would be easy to just box them up and put them in the house any night it is below 70°F.
    As soon as I get chance I am going to get a ceramic heat emitting fixture that snake/lizard habitat use. Pet stores carry them for $25 and off EBay about $8. Much safer than heat lamp for smaller groups of chicks.
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Your chicks have been used to no heat, so I would leave them be. Just make sure there are no cold drafts.

    My chicks quit using their heat source a week ago at age three weeks, and they are outdoors. They are now four weeks old and living in the coop without heat, and doing great.

    The objective in supplying heat to chicks is to provide the least amount necessary to maintain their body heat. The more feathered out they are, plus warmer ambient temps, the less heat they will require to maintain their body heat. You are using your chicks' behavior to judge whether they are losing body heat or maintaining it with the feathers they have. Happy, quiet chicks are comfortable. They would be loud and complaining if they were cold.

    To put your mind at rest, go out after dark and see where they're sleeping. If they are piling, then they may be too cold and might need a little heat or a huddle box. I got the idea to use a cat napping pod to transition my chicks to sleeping in the coop. They were happy to cuddle together in it, and quit using it last night. Tonight, they began to roost. They grow up so quickly.
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    They are fine. By getting them into varied temps and removing the light, their feathers have grown a bit quicker and they are fine with no light.
    If it is cool at night, just make sure there isn't a breeze/draft into their coop and they will be comfy as well, comfy chicks!
  6. Morrigan

    Morrigan Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 9, 2014
    Update. I never did turn the heat lamp on again. They are now 5 weeks old and feathered out nicely. During week 4, lows got into the 40s, but it didn't seem to be a problem for them.

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