Cold weather and chicks/I'm new

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Eddy Chicken, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Eddy Chicken

    Eddy Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    My name is Ed and I'm from southern NJ.

    I'm totally new at this. I ordered some chicks from McMurrays (9 Rhode Islands, 9, White Leghorns, 7 Buff Orpingtons, all hens. They'll be here the week before Thanksgiving and will stay in a box in the basement for awhile.

    I ordered them a nice coop for outside. How old should they be before I put them outside and at what temperature if it matters? The coop can be completely closed. I can heat the coop if need be but if I don't need to I won't.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Ed
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Ed,

    On the top of the page here, see the "Learning Center" tab? Click on that and you'll find lots of Basics 101 type stuff. Highly suggest it.

    You can brood out the chicks just fine in your basement, but typically, folks tire of the dust, (oh, my!! the dust) and the smell within a month. I would move them out to the coop at a month and take the heat lamp with them. I actually brood outside from day 1, but it is getting late in the year for you, especially since this is your first "batch" as it were.

    The value of taking them out to the coop, beside the dust and smell, is the ability to better get them feathered out and adjusted to the cooler weather in time for mid-winter. A basement normally stays a constant 60F which is not cool enough to get them "hardened" off when the time comes, ie 6-8 weeks.

    Rig your heat lamp, in the coop, SAFELY, with additional tie cords. Do NOT depend upon the goofy clamp, indoors or in the coop. It will be late December before you can take them out to the coop, but with the heat lamp, about 16"-18" above them, if it is not drafty, they will be just fine. The coldness will force them to feather and feathering fully is essential for them endure January and February, imho, without hardship. I do this all the time. They will self regulate both indoors and outdoors. If they are too hot, they'll move away from the heat. If they are cold, they'll more under it.

    Once they are 7 weeks old, ie, at New Years, you'll not need to heat them anymore, unless you choose to. For their last week of heat in the coop, only use a 150 watt bulb, or raise the red 250wt bulb up to 30" above them. At 6+ weeks, only provide this supplement at night.

    Good luck, have fun, and enjoy your chicks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  3. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] and [​IMG] from Maryland!

    Wow, that's a big flock for a first timer. Good for you!

    I followed the advice of 95 degrees the first week, and dropping 5 degrees a week until you reach 70 degrees. Once they are fully feathered you could start getting them adjusted to outdoor temperatures. I am new to chickens also, but got my small flock of eight in May. The weather was warm enough for them to go out on our screened porch mid-June with the heat lamp at night. I hope that some of the experienced folk join this conversation. I'm interested in hearing the advice they give you about this.

    Enjoy your experience! I am really enjoying mine.

    Marcy
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Ed, BTW, you will need a HUGE indoor brooding box. They need space. They also do not stay small very long. Bigger space means more room and less picking at each other. Two lamps also creates two heat circles and prevents "piling up" (suffocation threat) under a single circle. Just be sure there is a cool corner of the brooder where they can retreat if they over heat.
     
  5. Eddy Chicken

    Eddy Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 lamps (250w reds) and several BIG boxes/totes. This way I can have a couple of totes all bedded out and just switch the chicks from one tote to the other and dump the dirsty one in the dumpster. I got so many because there was a 25 chick minimum. I wanted the some Orpingtons and McMurrays was the only place I could find that had any left. A friend is taking some of the Leghorns to add to her flock so I'll wind up with 20. She also told me the "mystery" chick will be a rooster lol.
     
  6. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep [​IMG] from Oregon

    The info you get from the BYC will be a great learning time for you, enjoy. You may want to even share part of your flock if it gets to much for you by picking out your favorites and the birds you may not particularly want for whatever reason like extra roosters for an example. At 6 to 8 weeks you can start seeing the chicken personalities begin to unfold and just sell the others on Craigs List or something. Good luck
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Be somewhat cautious about those totes. The hold a tremendous about of heat. Just sayin'. It is easier to cook the chicks in a tote than just about any other kind of brooder. If you divide them into two brooders, as they get older, you'll kind of create two flocks. I mention that because even chicks sort of establish their pecking order and when you put them together, they may be some shoving and such. They'll get over it and integrate rather quickly, as they are young.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yeah...they will outgrow a typical large tote/box by three weeks. I used a LARGE dog cage/crate for my tiny flock of 5 newbies, and they were tight on space by three weeks of age. I would suggest checking out your local builder supply store for HUGE refridgerator boxes, or maybe washer/dryer boxes for that many chicks. By 3 weeks they will be running and flying all over. By 5 weeks they will seem huge.

    At whatever age you put them outside, the key is a gradual weaning away of heat. If they're use to 70 degree temps, even if they're feathered out, they shouldn't just be tossed out into 30 degree weather. Most pet supply stores sell heat bulbs as low as 50 watts, so it's pretty easy to adapt them to lower temps., especially once they're feathered out.
     
  9. Eddy Chicken

    Eddy Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern New Jersey
    I have a huge cardboard box coming next week. I'm a contractor and we're installing a prefabricated fireplace next week and it will ship in two huge boxes (4' x 3') so those may work.
     
  10. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Maybe an appliance store would have a double wide refrigerator box? 36" deep X 48" high X 72" long? Is that bigger?
     

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