HELP! When to move chicks out????


Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
Chicks need:

1) Space: To avoid picking problems and so on. They WILL grow FAST.

2) Heat: Start at around 95 and adjust based on BEHAVIOR of YOUR chicks. Do what THEY are TELLING you based on how they act. Huddling = cold, panting = hot. You really don't NEED a thermometer in there. You just have to observe them. No two chicks or situations are the same.

3) Draft free place to stay: Drafts can chill chicks so solid walls are a good idea no matter where they are. Just make sure nobody hops to the wrong side and can't get back to the heat.

4) Food and water: Make sure you can refresh these easily when needed. Being able to check on them is a bonus.

With that said. You can brood them ANYWHERE that meets these requirements. Kitchen, bedroom, basement, garage, outside, in a barn... list goes on.

As long as their basic living requirements are met, you can house them there. There are NO hard dates to do things, NO perfect age, NO right way to do everything. EVERY situation is DIFFERENT and so you'll need to watch the birds and how they act to determine if they need more heat, less heat, or can go into the run or not.

They are tougher than most think, but if you keep one set of chicks at 80 deg for 10 weeks, they are going to have a heck of a time going out to 40 deg weather, while 6 week old chicks brooded at increasingly lower temps and being acclimated will have no problem in 40 deg temps. That said, your 6 week old seabright bantam chick is not going to be able to take the weather the same as a 6 week old Cornish rock meat bird. Just watch their behavior and adjust accordingly. Only you can see how they are acting and can change things accordingly.

Thanks for listening and hope this gives some insight.


In the Brooder
12 Years
Dec 30, 2007
Social Circle,Ga
so 1 to2 week old chicks can go in the coop if there are no drafts and a heat source, say, 18'' off the floor should be ok? it's in the 70's during the day and low to mid 50's at night. Also should i open a window for air flow cause on hot sunny day's it might be 90 plus degrees in the coop.


11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
QCA, Illinois
That's just the info I wanted to hear! I can meet all those chicks are definitely going out into the coop this weekend! They need more space than what's in my two little brooders and therefore, the coop is a much better option for them right now.

Thanks a million, silkiechicken, for the great info. I'm making a copy of this to go in my chicken notebook!!


Life is a Journey
12 Years
Jul 8, 2007
Woodville, MS
I agree with SilkieChicken - I put babies a day or two old out in hutch with heat lamp and night temps in 50s. I cover the hutch at night and usually have to turn the heat off during the day if the hutch is in the sun. They start free ranging at 3 weeks old. Like she said, you learn a lot by just watching them. I've never used a thermometer. I raise/lower the light or change the wattage of the bulb based on their behaviour. Mine feather out really young and I've never used a heat lamp beyond 4 weeks old and that was winter. Those hatched/bought in summer rarely have had a light beyond one week at night.

I read an article the other day that said how important fresh air was and that those in hot airtight brooders weren't getting enough of an exchange of fresh air. Said they need 100% exchange of fresh air six times a day. Now that doesn't mean a draft it means fresh natural air. Put those babies in a pen out in the sunshine and fresh air - put a light in there if you really think you must - but go ahead and put them out. They will be healthier for it and better acclimated to the weather come winter.


11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
South Jersey
So when you mean "put a heat lamp in the hutch", you mean take the brooder light outside and hang it from the ceiling? They don't mind having light all night long?
Can you run an outdoor extension cord to the hutch for this purpose?
Thanks a beeezillion!



Life is a Journey
12 Years
Jul 8, 2007
Woodville, MS
Yes, I use the Chick-N-Hutch and put the heat lamp in the hutch - height depending on temps and age of chicks and yes they can and should have a heat lamp at night - that's when it gets colder. If the hutch is out in full sunlight, and temps in 70s or higher, I don't use a heat lamp - except at night. If you want real fun put the hutch where you can watch their all night games of "catch the bugs" because they will chase, catch and eat every bug that flys into light and chase the one that caught the bug. It's great exercise and experience for them and don't worry they get their sleep - usually the next day.

Oh, and also yes, I run a heavy duty extension cord out there. I put the hutch in the hen house also depending on weather. But we have a great German Shepherd who guards the chicks and after 5 batches being raised this way with the hutch just sitting outside my back door and not in coop or hen house, we have never lost a chick to anything. Of course most people will need to put the hutch (I also use dog kennels, or rabbit cages) inside the coop for security. I use the kennels and rabbits cages also to get chicks outside in the sunshine and fresh air during the day.

Here's pics of some of my setups:




Hope this helps. Silkie's right - they're tougher than you think and they LOVE being outside.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom