How cold is too cold?? Chicks are getting HUGE!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by figliadelre, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. figliadelre

    figliadelre In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My Coop
    My chicks (23 of them) are quickly outgrowing their bathroom brooder!! We put together a 4'x8' partially roofed brooder pen on our enclosed porch and we're monitoring the temperature to see what our max/min temps are under the lamp. We are in upstate NY and it's still pretty cold here. Our chicks are just over three weeks old and they will need to move to this bigger brooder soon. Is there a minimum temperature that they should can be exposed to? If we can keep it at 70*F or higher under the lamp(night and day), does it matter if temps outside of the lamp are below 50*F?

    Trying to find an answer to this question has been a bit confusing. Any advice is appreciated!

  2. cooped up

    cooped up Chirping

    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    They should be alright as long as they have the lamp to go under.My 4 week olds are not directly under the lamp anymore. Of course the chicks will tell if it needs to be warmer or not, by huddling together or getting as close to the lamp as possible.
  3. felidaet

    felidaet Songster

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    The temperature inside the brooder is what is important. Outside temperature does not matter. 70 degrees is not warm enough for 3 weeks old. The brooder should be 95 the first week, 90 the second week, etc... dropping 5 degrees each week. Some people keep their brooders a few degrees cooler. Chick behavior is more important than actual temperature. It they huddle under the light they are too cold. If they stay away from the heat lamp and are panting they are too warm.

    My bigger concern with an outside brooder is making sure they are not exposed to drafts. If your porch is fully enclosed then hopefully it won't be drafty.

    They definitely grow fast. In about 1 month I will be getting about 20 chicks to put in a 3' x 8' brooder. I expect them to outgrow it about the time they are 5 - 6 weeks old. At that time I will move them to their coop. I will keep them locked inside most of the time for about 2 weeks. There will be a heat lamp in one corner until they are about 8 weeks old.
    1 person likes this.
  4. chickaren

    chickaren In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2012
    Stratford, CT
    I am wondering the same thing as far as when I can put my birds outside. I have 2 Bantam chicks that will be 7 weeks on Tuesday. They are still in the house. No heat lamp. My temps inside are between 60-65. Looking at the weather ahead, nights will be in the 40's. I have one lonely Millie Fleur outside by herself. She is almost a year old. She has been fine and does not have heat in the coop. I got these two to keep her company since she lost her last friend to a hawk. (I have since stopped free-ranging). Would they be okay outside, especially at night? They are getting too big to stay in the house much longer.
  5. kittycooks

    kittycooks Chirping

    23 chicks produce a lot of heat! I think your porch will be fine. The 4x8 partially roofed brooding pen sounds like it will keep the drafts away. Put a heat lamp on one end and see what they do. If they hop around they are happy. I'm guessing they sleep in a heap during naps or at night.

    My last group of chicks started spending time in their draft-free coop around the middle of their second week. I took them out mid-morning and brought them in before the sun went down to sleep in an appliance box in the three season porch. I didn't take them out if it was raining. I had a brooding light in the coop and they rarely went under it. They were almost 3 weeks old in this picture taken May 1, 2010, in Minnesota. I am going to guess the temps were in the 60's. One real advantage to taking them out during the day was the appliance box brooder didn't get as messy, there was less dust in my house, and I think the chicks were happier having lots of room to run around. They moved out there permanently at 5 weeks old. Oh, and by handling every chick daily to transport them in and out of the house went a long way towards taming them.

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  6. figliadelre

    figliadelre In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My Coop
    Thank you for the responses!

    Kittycook--I love the idea of taking them out during the day and bringing them in at night. That would definitely help keep the mess down and give them some room to stretch out! We may take that route until the night time temps come up a bit.
    1 person likes this.
  7. figliadelre

    figliadelre In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My Coop
    We have been keeping the chicks on the porch brooder for the past five nights... they are doing wonderfully! I can finally have my bathroom back. [​IMG]

    We have also had them out to range a bit during the day as it has been in the high 60's here. They love it!

    Thanks again for the advice!

  8. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Again, someone else having the same me from starting a new thread.

    figliadelre: Looks like you got some helpful answers here. I am also in upstate NY (Otsego Cty) and these warmer temps have also inspired me to think about putting my 5 chicks outside. Mine are now almost 5 weeks old. They have been inside, right next to a sunny window in a dog crate, with an incandescent 60-watt lamp and a heater set to 75°. In the past few days, I have turned off both lamp and heater, and they seem to be doing fine. If your chicks are almost 4WO, and are doing well outside, that means mine will be fine out there too, being a whole week older.

    And what a difference that week has made! If you think yours are huge at 4 weeks, wait till you see them a week from now! The first pic is them on March 9, the second from today, March 16. They actually look like hens, and not like babies anymore. They seem to have plenty of warm feathers to withstand the warm temps, but I am wondering what we should do if we get another cold snap? Just keep them in the brooder outside?

    These are 3 RIRs, and 2 Araucana mixes. And they are outgrowing their dog crate, so thank heavens for that early spring weather!

    Keep us posted on your progress, and add a pic or 2.

  9. suzeqf

    suzeqf Songster

    Mar 17, 2011
    i have 23 4 weeks olds and i haven't had a lamp on them in about 3 or 4 days the temps outside are around 61-80 and the temp in the shop/brooder is about 5-10 degrees warmer and they seem to like the cooler temps and i even have some teenies 2 week olds that prefer 80 instead of 90 they are much more active when it's a touch cooler
  10. smittyG

    smittyG In the Brooder

    Mar 6, 2013
    ByB Farms Mi.
    Our chicks have gotton all their feathers I about 6 weeks and they are now housed outside in wooden boxs used for our pregnate does. I put straw in with them and covered the window with carpet! Our over night temps drop into mid 30 range and they are fine. Just keep the straw fresh and cover them at night to keep the chill of em.

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