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Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by dandydoodle, Sep 25, 2011.
How long do you keep heat lights on baby chicks?
Since a brood hen kicks her chicks out of the nest at 5 weeks, we can take our lead from their natural behavior.
Heat lamps are a necessary substitute to nature's brood hen, but we can over do it. At 5 weeks, we should lowered the temperature to near ambient temperature. By the end of week 6, we should now seek to "harden" the chicks off. This means allowing them to adjust to the temps they need to face in the natural environment, whatever that is. Between week 5 and week 6, this weaning process should effectively allow them to adjust to life without added heat, just as the mother hen would do.
Chicken have down and feather coats that grow to meet the needs of the bird. Since the young birds now are much larger, more agile and stronger, they don't tend to pile on each other and the risk of suffocation is very low. Cuddle yes, suffocate? Not nearly as likely.