Fall Chicks - Help needed

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lukkyseven, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. lukkyseven

    lukkyseven Chirping

    Sep 13, 2018
    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
    Hushabyefarm likes this.
  2. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

    Jan 30, 2015
    This link may be helpful - Topic of the Week - Moving Chicks Outside

    Alternatives to a heat lamp are the Momma Heating Pad or using a brooder plate (such as that made by Brinsea or Premier, for example). I'll let others chime in with more experience of raising birds in chilly weather provide their input.

    Good luck
    Hushabyefarm and HedwigsMum like this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    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.
  4. Ms Chicory

    Ms Chicory Songster

    Oct 18, 2018
    Central Ohio
    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.
  5. lukkyseven

    lukkyseven Chirping

    Sep 13, 2018
    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)
    chickens really likes this.
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Get them outside during the day and use straw as bedding in the Coop so they can cuddle together. They definitely are ready to begin living outside even if during the day.
    oregonkat and Hushabyefarm like this.
  7. oregonkat

    oregonkat Crowing

    Oct 5, 2012
    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.
    lukkyseven likes this.
  8. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    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.
  9. steiggy

    steiggy Songster

    Sep 29, 2013
    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.
    Criticalicious likes this.
  10. lukkyseven

    lukkyseven Chirping

    Sep 13, 2018
    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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