How feathered is fully feathered?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kickin' Chickin', Dec 14, 2010.

  1. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 little stinkers that are just over 5 wks and I have slowly been weaning them off the heat(100 watt then 60 now box propped open and going outside the box in unheated garage everyday for a little while), but when can I turn it off completely .I live just out side of Syracuse NY and today it is 13 degrees. My other girls live in a unheated coop and have no problems with it which is where these guys will be going . Mind you the 7 mo old girls in the coop are buff orps and these 5 weekers are mutts and are not nearly as big and puffy. This is only my second batch of chicks so any help is greatly appreciated. TY.
     
  2. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    I personally would leave them with a little heat. You want to toughen them up for the cold days to come but you dont want to freeze them to death doing it [​IMG]

    If you can keep them betweeen 45-50 for a few more weeks and then slowly wean them down to the 30's, they will do fine.

    Happy chickening!
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I agree, wean them off slowly. You can decrease the bulb wattage to bring the temps down slowly.
     
  4. Irene

    Irene Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree with your other poster... Why do you think chickens don't need some heat in their coop in your bitter climate?!! I live near Houston, TX, and yes, our chickens get used to the horrid heat in summers when temps don't drop at night, but also, they have to put up with temps in the 20's during many winter nights, and we have 2 100 Watt bulbs on when it gets that way... Your young ones NEED some heat. I have orpingtons too, as well as a myriad of other breeds, and some of course do better than others in cold climates, but still... GEEZ... Would you rather have to run an extension cord and put a lamp on inside your coop, or would you rather have a flock that gets respiratory problems from being cold? Another thing -- chickens will eat you out of house and home when it's cold. And, I don't know about you, but our chicken feed has gone up 3-4 dollars a bag in the last few weeks... Good Luck...
     
  5. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't believe that withholding heat from a chicken coop is anything but natural, if there were to be a power outage they would be hard pressed to adjust to the cold, and I would much rather have them used to it already. I really do prefer a natural approach to raising animals,especially the ones that are providing my food.. I willingly provide the amount of food( mash,fruit,yogurt,oatmeal,scratch) in exchange for the nice healthy eggs. My only concern was that I wanted my little ones to be fully feathered and adjusted to the cold before putting them out in the coop and I wasn't sure what age that was .
     
  6. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kickin' Chickin' :

    I don't believe that withholding heat from a chicken coop is anything but natural, if there were to be a power outage they would be hard pressed to adjust to the cold, and I would much rather have them used to it already. I really do prefer a natural approach to raising animals,especially the ones that are providing my food.. I willingly provide the amount of food( mash,fruit,yogurt,oatmeal,scratch) in exchange for the nice healthy eggs. My only concern was that I wanted my little ones to be fully feathered and adjusted to the cold before putting them out in the coop and I wasn't sure what age that was .

    +1


    Through observation, you will know best. I have several Delaware chicks I'm rearing up at the moment. They have been outside in their brooder since about an hour after I received them. Numbers helps, room to run helps, playgrounds help, a cozy place to nap/sleep helps... I am moving away from a light source as heat; as (by observation) it seems to have a negative effect on their natural sleep cycle... I cut back from two 100 watt bulbs, down to two 40 watt bulbs, around five weeks old (mine were mostly feathered out by then). I plan to back down to two 25 watt bulbs next week... I should add that I have a large "seeding" mat under several concrete pavers for thermal mass storage; which helps regulate temperatures at night for them... Know that during the day, one side of the brooder is completely open: they romp around out in 35 degF temps, rain and wind since they were two weeks old. They're tough lil birds [​IMG] They are like small children; in that, it's mostly the lack of opportunities and exposure that prevents their overall growth (not how "smart" they are).​
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Kickin' Chickin' :

    I don't believe that withholding heat from a chicken coop is anything but natural, if there were to be a power outage they would be hard pressed to adjust to the cold, and I would much rather have them used to it already. I really do prefer a natural approach to raising animals,especially the ones that are providing my food.. I willingly provide the amount of food( mash,fruit,yogurt,oatmeal,scratch) in exchange for the nice healthy eggs. My only concern was that I wanted my little ones to be fully feathered and adjusted to the cold before putting them out in the coop and I wasn't sure what age that was .

    Yes, that's true. But you don't want to take chicks from 60 degrees to 13 degrees. That's a big shock to their little bodies. Once you wean them off the light, and they adjust to the cooler temps, they will be fine without any added heat. At 6 weeks most breeds are fully feathered.​
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Just for perspective:

    I have 5 chicks who are 3 weeks old today, being raised by a mama in the coop. Last week we had several days of highs in the 40's and lows in the teens, a couple with wind chills in single digits. Half of one side of my coop is hardware cloth which I have not covered. I sat in there for an hour on a cold, windy day and watched one week old chicks run around in the rather breezy coop (we had some high wind days) without once going under mama. I have watched mama squat down to offer to get them under her several times, and they just kept running around. At dusk it is a while before she can get them to settle down under her -- they will go when she calls, but keep peeking out or even climbing out on top of her for a while. Little kids who don't want to go to bed.

    They do seem to feather a little faster when raised this way, but they are certainly not fully feathered yet.

    In spite of the many threads on here showing that experienced people do not heat, there are still a lot of people on here who provide heat even in southern areas of the country. Whatever they wish, but it really, is not necessary or natural.

    When I brooded a couple of batches of chicks, I learned that they did not like to be as warm as what is recommended. They would consistently move several feet away from the heat lamp, even when the thermometer was reading 5 or 10 degrees less than recommended. The old timers around here stick day olds in a shed with a hundred watt bulb a couple of feet above them, regardless of the weather.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2010

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