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First Night in the Coop...Tonight?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bobchristenson, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Songster

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    My chicks are in their 4th week and up until now they've been in a box in our bathroom (and we kept the temp this week around 75 degrees)

    All day today, though, they've been out in the coop (with the door closed). Here in Michigan it was 60 degrees today, and it's going to be a low of 35 tonight.

    Obviously I'm not going to let it get down to 35 in the coop. I put a heater out there and set it to 75 degrees and I also added their heat lamp a couple feet over the floor. This doesn't garuntee that it'll be 75 in the coop, though, since there's fairly open eaves (for vents) and (like all coops) there's some cracks in misc. places.

    I look at the setup and think "whats the difference, really, between the heated coop and our bathroom"? Sure, the temp may drop into the 60s on a 30 degree night, but that should be ok at this point, right?

    I feel like there's 2 camps, usually...the "farm" people who say "Comeon! They're chickens, not babies...they'll be fine" and the "pet" people who have the opposite view/advice.

    I guess I'm looking for a real-world balance...what should the low-temp be for 4 week chicks with alot of their feathers in? I'm looking for everyone's advice on whether to keep them in the coop tonight or not...

    Whatta ya say?
     

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    The real world view is what would the mother hen do?
    After the first week the chicks spend very little time under her except at night.
    If I were you, I wouldn't heat but put a heat lamp in there. They'll hunker down together under the lamp for the night and at first light they'll be running around looking for trouble only to go under the lamp(mother hen) momentarily/periodically to warm up.
    They'll be much healthier in the long run given a warm spot in a cool space, especially at that age.

    My chicks start their life, whether with a hen or not, in an unheated building. Without a hen they have a heat lamp or two even if the building overall is below freezing. It is the closest thing to nature.
    If a hen raised them she wouldn't heat the whole building either now or for the thousands of years before electricity.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
    2 people like this.
  3. bucky52

    bucky52 Songster

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    wished i could help you.i,am new to this baby chic raising myself.i'am sure there is someone here that can help you.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    The pet people tend to coddle their birds. Do you want to raise wimps or have healthy birds that live for many years?

    At this point you don't really want to shoot for a temperature.
    Make a warm area with the rest cool and I bet they'll find a balance somewhere in between. They can't read a thermometer so they just know when they're comfortable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  5. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Songster

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    I think this is great advice and just what I was looking for. However, I'm really only worried about the transition. They'll go from constant temp every night and day to cold building with a heatlamp. Do I have to worry about shocking them at all?

    I hear lots of people talking about taking them to the coop (once they've gotten used to inside) the same way you introduce seedlings to the garden...a little at a time. I guess I'm worried that if I make such a dramatic shift with little transition there could be an issue.
     
  6. MissZazzy

    MissZazzy In the Brooder

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    I've been wondering the exact same thing. I started mine out in a tank with the infra-red bulb, second week no bulb but inside the house and all this week they have been in the tank but outside in our shop with very little heat. I am in NC and the days have been in the 70's. Nights about 45. Since last weekend I have been putting them in a pen outside for the day in the sun. I'm thinking they can spend the night in the coop tonight but with the bulb in case they want it. They have lost a lot of their fuzz and are filling in nicely with feathers. These are my first ever chickens and I sure wouldn't want to do the wrong thing.[​IMG]
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    That's the reason I start them in the cool space and I understand your concern but I really don't think you'll shock them at this age. Cold snaps happen. Make sure they have a warm spot and it really doesn't matter how cold the rest of the building gets.
    They'll probably say "WHEW, thank god that heat wave ended".
     
    1 person likes this.

  8. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Songster

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    ...and I think part of me is nervous that my first-time predator-proofing isn't good enough...but that's another thread :)
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging


    Ditto this! My chicks have been outside since they arrived in the mail, 54 chicks, one heat lamp, cattle panel coop(non-insulated in other words) we had such a cold snap the other night that all the plants/leaves/blossoms got burnt. It will get into the low 30s tonight and they are less than a week old. They don't huddle or pile under the light, are active and running around like kids out of school.

    Maybe your chicks with all their feathers and 3 wks more growth just might survive... [​IMG] Chickens are a lot tougher than folks imagine and I think yours will do just fine with the temp fluctuation.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    Amen to that.
    Screw boards in weak spots nail hardware cloth, whatever you can do to keep the possums and coons out. It doesn't have to be pretty - just fort knox.
    I remember the first I lost to a possum.
    I could have done better.
     

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