90 to 95 degrees the first week, decreasing by 5 degrees a week. I put my chicks out the day I received them at 3 days old, but I was fortunate in that I had electricity to the shed. So basically whenever your coop can be kept at the appropriate temp for their age.
I would love to see some answers on this one. On my first purchase of day olds I kept them warm like everyone said. 95 - 5 degrees a week. They turned out fine. Now 26 weeks and laying like crazy. I had one BO hen go broody so I bought fertile eggs and placed them under her. The broody lives in the coop and run and free ranges all day. The new chicks are 2 weeks old and they spend all day outside with mom. Temps here running in the low 60's. A large difference in methods. Hope we get some good answers. John
I'd like to get some different opinions too...I just want to make sure I don't put them outside too early...I'd like to let them have some exercise and then put them back in the brooder at night...do you think that would be okay?
I am no expert since this my second time at this but from what I read folks say to do the brooder method. 95- 5 a week. When I watch my broody everyday the temps don't seem to be much a factor. I do see the chicks hiding under mom a couple times a day for warmth. That is a far cry from 90+ degrees for a week at a time. I have asked this question a couple times and no one seems to have an answer. John
Yeah, chicks can take some variation of temps, but since we can't be as attentive as 'mom' who listens to their peeping and when they say "i'm cold" she heats them up again as needed many times a day. Best to just keep a brooder at the same average temp as noted above so you can go to work and do other things besides tending to their temperature. you can "read" the chick's body signals too. For example, when they get too cold they stop eating and drinking. They'll peep loudly for a while, but can die if not warmed up again. If they run away from the heat lamp they're too hot, if they huddle under it they're too cold.
I knew nothing about baby birds (as I thought Chickie was when I first found her) and so I put a heating pad in her box at night and she snuggled next to my skin inside my shirt when she was cold during the day. She is thriving today and Im quite sure she did not have the extreme warmth that I hear folks speak of. Of course I will do it much differently next time around, if there is one. I now have a heat lamp that I got for Chickie after having her for about two weeks with just a heating pad to lay on at night.
Brooder raised chicks should follow the requirement noted above. Hen raised chicks have their mom to take care of them.
To put them outside, they should be about 6-8 weeks (or fully feathered - including their head and under those wings) in order to be able to regulate their own body temperature. That is especially important this time of year when it is not really warm outside like the summer months.