Fall Chicks - Help needed

lukkyseven

Songster
Sep 13, 2018
124
140
113
Maryland
Let me start by saying I have read probably close to a hundred threads on when to take chicks outside.

I have gathered that it would be simple in the spring, but here we are... Fall in Maryland.

Chicks are 3 weeks old and are currently in a room that's 80 degrees. I've been lowering the temp by 5 degree's every week. My problem is that the room is in the house and I cannot get it but so low. 70 - 65 is probably as low as I can get that room. By the time I get it there the chickens should be about 5-6 weeks old. This potentially puts the outside temps in Maryland at 45-50 degrees.

How am I to adjust chicks to such a dramatic temperature change. From my reading they could be fully feathered at about 8 weeks. The problem will be the size. I currently have 11 chickens in a 110g water trough. It measures 55" x 36".

All this to say I'd like to get them outside as quickly as possible, but I want to be safe about it. The coop I built is pretty well vented and I could potentially put a heat lamp in it with a timer, but I just don't see how that makes sense.

Hopefully this wasn't too long of a rant, I'm just confused the more I read everyone's unique situation/location that's different from my own. I simply don't have the experience needed to do this one on my own!

Thanks - Chris
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,278
38,620
1,096
southern Michigan
The brooder plate/ heating pad works really well. I think having the whole room at 80F is a mistake any time, because the chicks need to experience a temperature GRADIENT, from warm to much cooler, to develop well and acclimate to actual weather. Mine go out to the coop with either a heat lamp, or a brooder plate, at about this age. They have a section of my coop fenced off from the flock with hardware cloth, and the heat source in one end of their area. They meet the birds and watch them, and go to their warm spot as needed. they also have grit available then.
Mary
 

Ms Chicory

Songster
Oct 18, 2018
60
188
101
Central Ohio
Let me start by saying I have read probably close to a hundred threads on when to take chicks outside.

I have gathered that it would be simple in the spring, but here we are... Fall in Maryland.

Chicks are 3 weeks old and are currently in a room that's 80 degrees. I've been lowering the temp by 5 degree's every week. My problem is that the room is in the house and I cannot get it but so low. 70 - 65 is probably as low as I can get that room. By the time I get it there the chickens should be about 5-6 weeks old. This potentially puts the outside temps in Maryland at 45-50 degrees.

How am I to adjust chicks to such a dramatic temperature change. From my reading they could be fully feathered at about 8 weeks. The problem will be the size. I currently have 11 chickens in a 110g water trough. It measures 55" x 36".

All this to say I'd like to get them outside as quickly as possible, but I want to be safe about it. The coop I built is pretty well vented and I could potentially put a heat lamp in it with a timer, but I just don't see how that makes sense.

Hopefully this wasn't too long of a rant, I'm just confused the more I read everyone's unique situation/location that's different from my own. I simply don't have the experience needed to do this one on my own!

Thanks - Chris
Thanks for the post, I am in Ohio and getting chicks next week. I have been reading a lot about the mama hen method using a heating pad, it makes a lot of sense.
Susan
 

lukkyseven

Songster
Sep 13, 2018
124
140
113
Maryland
It does make sense, but there have been plenty of people to use just a lamp and that's a lot easier for me as I have that material already. I'm not saying the other option is worse or bad, I just don't feel like setting up more than I have to (already had to build a coop and run :D)
 

oregonkat

Crowing
7 Years
Oct 5, 2012
2,003
2,828
377
Southern Oregon
Chicks when feathered up are amazingly resilient. As long as they have access to a draught free place that has straw or some other material in it and they can snuggle together, they will be fine. Exposure to cold wind, however, is not OK.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
Make it gradual and they should be fine. Put them outside for a few hours in the warmest part of the day each day. Let them stay out longer and longer. You can put them out in their coop and lock them in without access to the run. This will be warmer (no drafts/wind/precipitation) than just out in the run. Littles aren't the best at knowing when/how to go inside to hide from rain or snow or wind, so until they are a bit bigger you may want to lock them in their coop, it's likely more room than their brooder provides as well.
 

steiggy

Songster
Sep 29, 2013
64
103
146
Wisconsin
My chicks are about 6 weeks old. I took them completely off their heat lamp at about 4 weeks. I have them in my garage, which is heated but stays around 50-60 degrees. This week I have been setting their brooder box outside for a few hours when it's sunny. They didn't like it the first day but after that they've been fine. I'm hoping to have them start spending the days locked in the coop (which has a really thick layer of straw) starting tomorrow, and transition to being outside full time within the next week. I live in Wisconsin, so it's cold and we will see how they do.
 

lukkyseven

Songster
Sep 13, 2018
124
140
113
Maryland
It is significantly more room and has roost bars in it as well. I don't think they can get to them yet, but I bet that wont stop them from trying. My coop is 4' x 8' and pretty draft free. I'm tightening it up right now.

The run isn't caged yet, but it will be within a week.
 

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