How long indoors?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by vlkirchner, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. vlkirchner

    vlkirchner New Egg

    Feb 18, 2016
    I am in Massachusetts and I'm looking to get Baby chicks on March 9. How long do they need to be indoors.... When can I start putting them in their coop? My concern is that they will get big fast and it will still be too cool to put them outside. Would a heating lamp in their coop suffice when they are just a few weeks old? I can wait and get them at a later date but I'm so anxious [​IMG] Thank you in advance!
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Most chicks will be feathered in enough to begin short day trips outdoors by about 3 to 4 weeks. Then you gradually let them spend more time outside. Bring them in if they start to huddle for warmth. Once they are completely feathered in, by about 6 to 8 weeks, they are ready to stay outside overnight.
    To help them feather in a bit quicker, raise their heat lamp a bit every few days instead of once a week. Keep a close eye on them each time you raise their heat lamp. If they show signs of being too cool, lower it back down a tiny bit.
  3. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2015
    Chicks should have heat until they are 4 to 6 weeks old. If your coop is well made there is no reason why they can't be in it at two weeks of age with a heat lamp. I'm from northern Wisconsin. My coop is heated enough so the temperatures do not drop below 40 degrees F. My hens hatch and brood chicks all winter. [​IMG]

    This brood hatched last week.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    How long indoors? never, ever! I don't brood chicks in the house. I have an unheated barn I brood in. I use a large stock tank with either a heat lamp or a heating pad cave. They do just fine. If you can safely put a heat source in the coop, they can be out there from day one. I can't imagine breathing all that dust and dander baby chicks shed [​IMG].

    Some pics of my set up, including my helper....



    chicks need a warm spot, not a warm world. They're great at self regulating if you give them enough space to move from the warm area to the cool area.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  5. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2015
    Broken heat lamps, power outages-I've lost chicks to both. If they're not with a broody hen they will be inside for at least a week, depending on the weather. -20 degrees F. and they'd most definitely be in the house for the two weeks.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Your heat source can fail or you can have a power outage if you brood in the house too. Bad things can happen no matter what you do. It probably will be easier to respond in the house, I’ll admit.

    I put chicks in my brooder in the coop straight out of the incubator, even when it is below freezing. I haven’t lost one yet doing that. I use two heat lamps when its cold so there is a back-up if one goes out. I have a generator to take care of power outages. I haven’t had to use it yet but I don’t see the difference in running an extension cord to them in the house or the coop, other than I’d have to use two long ones to get to the coop. We all do things differently and have different risk tolerances.

    If you have a reliable power source and the place you are putting them has good draft protection you can put them out there any time. You can use heat lamps, heating pads, or other heat sources, just don’t burn the place down. Your goal is to provide one spot warm enough no matter how cold it gets and other spots cool enough no matter how warm it gets so they can find their comfort level. The same thing is true if you brood in the house. It’s a little harder outside because you can get such big temperature swings, but many of us do it.
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    Love your helper! I don't keep chicks inside either, yuck. Mine also go straight to an outside brooder from the incubator, and they do great. In the event of a power outage, I either bring them inside in a tote and put them next to the wood stove (if there aren't a bunch of them), or pull my car over next to the hutch and plug the lamp into an inverter until the power comes back on. It IS easier to respond to such an event when they're inside, but I can't stand the dust and mess, even after just a few minutes it gets to me.
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    As my other friends here have just pointed out, there's absolutely no need at all to keep baby chicks indoors. I, too, brood outside right in my covered run with a heating pad. It's worked splendidly. As long as the babies have a heat source at which to warm themselves, sort of like a campfire for campers, they do just wonderfully outdoors.

    These three-week old babies weathered temps down into the 30s at night, and when this photo was taken, it wasn't much above 50F. They had their heating pad cave to sleep in and warm themselves whenever they felt chilled. The rest of the time, they were becoming members of the flock by proximity, learning all the lessons they needed about adult chickens so that they moved right into the coop with them at age five weeks with zero issues.

  9. Eps32

    Eps32 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2015
    North Carolina
    Mine are outside also. Just need good heat source good ventilation and no drafts.
  10. Eps32

    Eps32 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2015
    North Carolina
    That pic was last night also. Little cold out but they did just fine.

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