Going Outdoors?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Shawna89, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Shawna89

    Shawna89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2011
    Stamping Ground, Ky
    At what age can I safely let my chicks live outdoors? I live in Kentucky and it will be getting cold the next few months. They're puffballs right now so I know not anytime soon! 2 months or 3 maybe? I have read that they can go outside when they get their feathers, but I lost a whole group of little ones when the temp dropped, so I think they might have froze? I just hate to keep them indoors for so long and I dont want them outside if I have to keep a heatlamp going in the pen.
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    They should be fine at 6 weeks old as long as they're protected from drafts.

    I have some 7 week olds now that have been outside for the past 3 weeks and are doing fine.
    They free range with the adults (although they don't wander much out of the pole barn where they have their little coop).
    I live in Kentucky, too, and it's getting cold. I was standing outside watching all the chicks and they don't seem bothered by the change in weather AT ALL.

  3. Shawna89

    Shawna89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2011
    Stamping Ground, Ky
    Great and Thanks so much! [​IMG]
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Yep the first weeks 85* degrees
    2nd week 80
    3rd week 75 and drop 5* each week until week 7 and at the 5th week let them out during the day to build a good down feather base with the colder weather arriving and at 2 months they should be ready to handle almost any weather without draft. Make sure the coop has a place to get out of the any real wind and the brooder plug any windy cracks. There must be good ventilation in the gables ends and or under the eaves open sections covered by hardware cloth. This will allow the urine and ammonia odors to flow high and out the sleeper. My practice is to open up the side sleeper door in my sleeper and drop the egg door to allow the sleeper box to vent and air out during the day while they are in the coop and run. Great luck to you. 2 month old kids are very strong. Keep vitamin drops in the water and medicated chick feed up until they are juveniles between 18 to 24 weeks when the eggs begin to appear and then add layer feed and calcium by putting down some grit with oyster shells and crushed egg shells that will make the egg shells very hard but it gives them them back the calcium replacement that they lose to produce the eggs in the first place.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm about the same climate as you probably. It's been below freezing a few times here.

    The simple answer is that most breeds are fully feathered out around five weeks and should be OK after that. But I think it is a little more complicated than that.

    First of all, they need to be out of drafts. Wind chill can get them if a breeze is blowing on them, so the coop needs to be draft free where they are sleeping. Some might start roosting around that age, but most will sleep huddled together on the floor. They are not necessarily huddling because they are cold. They feel safer if they are huddled together. They'll do that in the middle of summer too.

    But the flip side to that is that it helps when it is cold if there are enough of them to keep each other warm when they huddle. I can't give you a definite answer of how many you need. It varies because of conditions. But it is better to have a dozen as opposed to one or two.

    I think another part of it is that they need to be acclimatized. It can be rough going from a 75 degree constant environment to a 20 degree environment. I get cold that way myself, even if I am dressed for it. I get around that by keeping my brooder in the coop, keeping one area "warm", but allowing the rest of the brooder to cool off to ambient. They seek their own comfort zone and, for a large part of their day, they spend their time in the cooler areas. So when I take the heat away, they are used to the cold. Earlier this year, I had a group of 14 chicks 5-1/2 weeks old spend the night in a draft-free grow-out coop when the temperature hit the mid-20's. I was a lot more worried about it than they were.

    I suggest you try to find a way to expose them to colder temperatures during the day for a while before you just throw them out into subfreezing temperatures. I can't tell you exactly how to do it, but maybe put them in the coop during the day for three or four days but bring them back in at night. Then hope to get a few relatively warm nights when you first leave them out.

    It is a little bit rougher this time of year, but it can be done. Good luck!!!
  6. Shawna89

    Shawna89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2011
    Stamping Ground, Ky
    I could put them out during the day and back up at night, they're brooder can go outside so they can stay there. Maybe the days wont be too awful cold!

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