Completely new to this, in hot, humid TX

mama k

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 10, 2014
Hot, humid TX
Hello -

We are almost ready to go get some chickies! Our coop is just about ready. It is just under 36 sq feet with no run, as we will free-range them on our acre. (Well, back yard is probably about half an acre.)

I originally thought we'd start out with about 6 older pullets so they would lay sooner, but from what I've read, younger chicks seem to generally be the way to go? Not to mention less expensive.

So I guess I need to fix up a brooder box or something? It's in the 70s and 80s here already - can they stay in the garage with no heat lamp? Heat lamp at night? When can they move into their coop and/or start free-ranging? I'm so confused.

Thanks for any advice you can give me!
I know the first week their brooder should be 90-95 degrees F and can go down by 5 degrees every week there after. I have never really checked the temp of my brooder to be honest. Just know it's nice and warm haha. I know I'm terrible and should be more accurate. And honestly haven't been dropping temps as recommended either. But my girls are doing great. They are getting nice and feathered! I'm pretty much figuring as soon as outside temps are same or close to brooder temp that when I can do away with the light. And IMO I would think you can put them in the coop when temps are equal and they are feathered. I mean if you were to let a momma go broody and hatch her own they would be there from the beginning. But...momma would teach them stuff and watch over them as well so I would be afraid if they we too little not knowing to go in the coop at night or in the rain and not staying out of danger. I might feel better turning them out with a protective roo to keep them in order... I'm pretty new to this too so I'm sure someone with more experience will have better info. I guess I'm just pointing out that mine are doing good and I'm not being super over protective and they are doing well.
I have 2 Bantam Ameraucanas that were hatched March 21 so 3 weeks old today. They are in the spare bedroom in a box. No light. They seem OK -- not peeping, eating a bowl of chick feed a day. I put them outside in a bottomless hamster cage on the grass every day for a few hours while it's still warm. The first week they had a 150w red light all the time. The second week only the light at night since that room gets warm during the day. Now no light at all.

I gauge if they're comfortable or not by how much peeping goes on & if they're huddled up or not. There should be very little peeping and certainly not constantly. It's worked for me!

The advantage to ordering pullets is they're, well -- pullets. If you can't have roosters where you live it means you don't have potentially 1/2 your chickens to get rid of once they're grown up a bit. Or too many roosters anyway. I've bought grown hens before & I can't tell their behavior from the one I have left that I raised from a baby.

But just be sure whatever you're getting they are more "heat tolerant" than "cold hardy".
A chickens body temperature runs 102-105 degrees. A newly hatched chick doesn't have the feathers or the body fat to compensate for lower outside air temperatures, that's why it's recommended to keep them at 95 deg the first week and reduce the heat (by raising the heat lamp) 5 deg each week until ambient temperature is reached. They grow feathers fast, but I wouldn't shortchange the timing of the heat reduction. If they are too warm, they will move away from the heat lamp and will huddle under it if too cold. good luck!
I'll admit, I use Happybook1's heat lamp method. If they look cold, I use a lamp and if they start looking hot, I turn it off. To me, the sound of the peeping has always been a good indicator of how comfortable the chicks are. And again, watch their placement. Too hot and they try to get away from the lamp, too cold and they huddle underneath it. Happy chicks will spread out in the brooder.

Oh and
Thanks for the advice. And look, we have our babies!


We ended up buying 3 red sex link, 3 black sex link, 2 Americaunas, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 Barred Rocks. They are in their brooder in our house and seem happy enough. :)
They're cute! We had Barred Rocks when I was a kid. They were really great. I'm thinking that I might have to add some to my flock someday in the future.

I bet you will only need a heat lamp for the first two weeks with those temps. My 3 week old girls just went off their lamp and are spending a few hours outside during the warmest part of the day. You will be surprised by how fast they grow and change! :)
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