Cold weather approaching

Pixburgh

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2020
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I’m looking for some advice on how to introduce my chicks to the coop in the best way possible. They are currently 4 1/2 weeks and I plan to have them outside at 6 weeks. In years past, this should have allowed for mild evening temperatures still but this year it seems to be getting colder much earlier. Our nights have been going down to mid 40s. How can I help them be ready for this change? I’ve been moving their brooder light up each week as suggested but they’re still in the 70s.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 23, 2010
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I would first eliminate the heat lamp completely. I'm sure it isn't 40F in your house.
I believe by 6 weeks, they'll be ready. I'm moving some 4 1/2 week olds out this morning. They've been in temps between 65 and 80 since I took the heat away a couple weeks ago.
I've had 15 new chicks out with hens for a couple weeks and I'll let 6 more join them in 5 more days when day temps will be back up to 70 or so for a couple days but night temps are steadily in the 40s.
If there are only 2 or 3 chicks they may need special care but more chicks than that can keep each other warm. They really aren't that fragile.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
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western South Dakota
Turn off the light, wait two days. Take them outside even if it is chilly. Leave them outside for half an hour, bring them in. Repeat this several times, increasing the time. What they need is exposure to cool to cold temperatures, and then the ability to warm back up.

Birds have quite a wide range of temperatures that they can handle, and even big wide swings in temperature... they really do not need protection unless you are way below 0. And mature birds can handle that.

In a couple of days, leave them outside for most of the day, they will NEED A WIND BREAK or protection from the prevailing wind. After a week, they should be in the coop over night.

It will be much healthier for them out in the fresh air and cooler temperatures than trapped in a too small space, indoor air and warm.

I too used to worry about this until I had a broody hen that hatched chicks, and two weeks later we were - 20 degrees. Yeah, the chicks would run all over, and then sneak back under mama for a warm up.

At 4 weeks, they are more than ready to be out.

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
In years past,
Do you have other birds out in the coop?
If so, what are your plans for integration?

I would first eliminate the heat lamp completely. I'm sure it isn't 40F in your house.
I'd open a window in the brooder room, as well as....
Take them outside even if it is chilly. Leave them outside for half an hour, bring them in. Repeat this several times, increasing the time. What they need is exposure to cool to cold temperatures, and then the ability to warm back up.
...this^^^.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
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Do you have electricity at your coop? If you can, my approach would be to rig up a heat source for them so they have one spot to go to so they can warm up if they need to but let the majority of the area cool off as it will. Just move them out there now. Within two weeks they won't need any heat if they even do now. I've had chicks 5-1/2 weeks old go through nights below freezing but they were acclimated like this. This could be your entire coop or, if you have adults out there now, section off a part of the coop for the juveniles. They need good breeze protection and good ventilation, preferably up high.

If you cannot move them out now, turn that heat off now. They don't need it. If it gets dark and they are not used to dark they may peep a while but they will soon get used to it. The peeping is not because they are cold, just not used to the dark.

Expose them to as much cold as you can. Many people are greatly surprised at how well they can handle colder temperatures. By 4 weeks yours should be nicely feathered out and in good shape. They will let you know if they are cold by fluffing up and giving a plaintive peep. If you heart that sound you will now something is wrong, it's that sad.

Even if you can't expose them to cooler temperatures I'd expect them to be able to handle 40* F by six weeks. They should be well feathered out. Exposing them to cool before is an abundance of caution.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
Jul 8, 2008
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Fleetwood, PA
I've had chicks in the coop since day 1 this year & before they were 3 weeks old we had several nights in the mid 30s. They do have a brooder plate & they've done well so far. They just turned 5 weeks & were loose in the coop all day yesterday with a temp of 62. They didn't seem to care. They slept near & on top the plate last night. 6 week olds should be OK.
 

Pixburgh

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2020
11
31
46
Do you have other birds out in the coop?
If so, what are your plans for integration?

I'd open a window in the brooder room, as well as....
...this^^^.
I do not have any current chickens. These will be my first. Thanks for your input!
 

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