Indoors to outdoors in super heat: transition options?


11 Years
Dec 17, 2012
Texas Hill Country
FYI, in Central Texas here, and brother we are hot! Daily temps now consistently in the mid-90's, plus extreme drought. No such thing as "cooling down"--we only get 'less hot' from about 4 am to 10am with mid-hi 70's and then the temperatures rise.

The early start to and continuance of this year's unique heat bomb has completely re-directed my brooder plans, from outdoor to indoor. My 2 EEs and 2 BA (hopefully) pullets from Meyer were hatched on May 9, now at approx. Week 6. Living and doing well inside our guest quarters bathroom (A/C at 79F) as I complete the expansion of my existing run, adding an extra 80 sq ft. My barn, where coops/runs are located, is about 75 yards from the house/guest quarters, requiring a quick drive in a vehicle. Elevated chick coop and existing run is in total shade 24/7/365 with ventilation and fan hanging in a window. New run expansion is wood frame, HW cloth sides, metal roof (anti-condensation/insulation sheeting underneath) with half day shade/half day western sun exposure. Both areas on coarse sand within a horse turnout pen. I'd love thoughts on these plans-- or other ideas-- to transition chicks outdoors into the inferno:

Plan A--supervised, incremental Pre-move excursions in shady, predator-proof outdoor 'playpen' downstairs from the guest quarters in 80+F degree mornings for ??? days/weeks before taking girls to the barn coop/run. The girls have not been outside to date.....How many days of playpen periods? Stress factor of gathering girls, putting in playpen, gathering girls to return to indoors?

Plan B--supervised, incremental Pre-move excursions to their new, forever digs AT THE BARN (requires vehicle travel) in 80+F degree mornings. How many days on this Plan? Stress factor of gathering girls, truck trip (INSIDE THE CAB :cool:) to and from guest quarters, completely new sights and sounds? My two older hens will have "look-no-touch" access to the chicks during Plan B.

Plan C--a full-out, one-time transition from indoor bathroom to new, forever digs on a day when I can remain with chicks all day (not a problem). No return to indoor bathroom (unless severe heat stress???). Time of day to move? Heat stress factor? Two older hens will have "look-no-touch" access to the chicks during Plan C.
I lament that I've been unable to provide daily playpen time outside for chicks so far, while construction is taking place. Suffice to say, best laid plans and life throws curveball, speedballs, etc.

Thanks in advance.
Most advice about moving chicks out is assuming that outside is cooler, which is why people put them outside in the afternoon first (warmest part of the day.) But since you are transitioning to a hotter place, I would start by putting them out for the cool night.

So you could put them out in the evening, leave them out all night, and bring them in after the next day gets hot and they start panting. When the day cools off a bit, put them back out for the next night.

If you are available to check on them repeatedly during the day, you can bring them in for the shortest possible time (the hottest few hours), and reduce it each day, so they will acclimate as quickly as possible.

You could also turn off the AC in the room where the chicks are, or turn it higher, or close the vent in that room, or find some other way to let that room be warmer than it is now.
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It's been well over 100F here on and off for a while here. Mine are 3 weeks and have been on my screen porch under fans for probably 2 weeks now. I have another fan for them at ground level and they get a gallon milk jug with ice in in changed out several times a day. At first, I turned the fans off at night but the past three days with the highs over 100F I've only turned the fan at ground level off at night. They still get their ice bottles for as long as they stay frozen.

I did outside during the day when it was over 90 for a few days and then back in my air conditioned house at 68-70 degrees at night with a heat source. Then outside at night with heat for a few night and then no heat at night. Had an electrical problem and I woke up to find no heat on but very happy chicks. 🤷‍♀️

So I guess plan C, plus switching out frozen jugs of ice and having a fan running & making sure they have plenty of water.
Thanks for the replies. Lots to consider....

If the weather forecast holds, I might have a finite window of about 3-4 days next week when some rain :rolleyes:--ha--is anticipated, but also temps closer to 80's instead of hi-90's. Wind will be NE which is way nicer than SE for summer. It wouldn't be a long transition period but I'm afraid if I don't move the chicks out to the barn during this weather event, I might not get another decent chance. Timing is everything at this point.

Anyone care to chime in on this new plan? I'm scrambling to complete the HW cloth installation on the new run; worked entire day outside in our heat bomb. I'm way more acclimated to living on what feels like the surface of the sun than my chicks....
You could also turn off the AC in the room where the chicks are, or turn it higher, or close the vent in that room, or find some other way to let that room be warmer than it is now.
:goodpost:This is what I'd start with. Get them use to as warm as you can. Remember, the internal body temperature of a chicken is 105 to 107. They have lots of feather insulation, but the have ways of mitigating that themselves. Just be sure they always have fresh water. Panting to stay cool can use lots of extra water. They definitely need shade and circulation when they are outside. Can you move the brooder to a garage maybe? That would keep them close to home for monitoring, but would also put them in warmer temps.
I opened the windows in the bathroom where chicks live right now; can't really set the temp higher than about 80, else I'd need to resort to "heat", which I can't/won't do. Our garage is hotter than probably any other location. Plus we're on rural acreage so the time needed to predator/dog proof the windows would not really be most effective use of my time at this point. But thanks for the ideas.

Run extension was finished today:weeJust need to tweak some air circulation in the coop and add 'accessories' to the space. Then finalize a plan of action.....
Well, chicks went into their new run/coop 5 days ago. We had a great rainstorm the night before (we're in monster drought now) which brought some rain plus cooler temps that lasted a few days--timing was perfect. So girls are exploring their new space day by day as the temps steadily skyrocket again. So far so good. I'm doing my night check around dusk each night, having to pluck the chicks from the roof of the exterior nest box compartment and place onto the roost in the coop. Now just trying to keep the girls comfortable with fans/shade/shadecloth/moist sand.
Same predicament here. I moved my 3 week old from 80 degree house to 100 degree coop. Sink or swim philosophy. Took them out at daylight in dog crate to coop with fresh water. Left em
Walked away
Checked every hour.
They're golden. 3rd day opened crate 4th day they found the tunnel to run and joined big girls. Now they're doing fantastic. They're tougher than we think.
Thought I better explain my terminology.
I have an 8x8 coop
20x20 run that are not connected. So I had to connect em. I used a 5 ft piece of culvert I found for $10. Cut holes in run and coop and joined em together.


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I'm currently dealing with the same thing here in California. Temperatures range from 95-100 (thankfully the 100+ temps seem to be over). I'm planning on transitioning from the indoor brooder to the coop in about 1.5 to 2 weeks, when it's at least supposed to be in the low 90s. But I'm still concerned that's a big shock from their 78-83 degree indoor brooder.

Do you think it's worth shutting the AC vent and keeping the windows open during the day to help them get used to it? Or maybe increasing the temperature a few degrees every day? Or would that just cause them needless stress/panting?

Or should I introduce them to the coop by taking them out there a few hours more each day (then back to the AC afterward) until they're out there all day?

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