Is it too cold outside in the desert for babies??!!


9 Years
Aug 26, 2010
The chicks will be here Thursday or Friday. The nights are getting into the mid to upper 40's. I have a 60 watt brooder lamp and plan to have them in a 3 ft x 5 ft poly stock tank. But, I planned to have them outside, inside the new run. But I keep reading/seeing people having them in the house!?'

Not really what I planned for, guess I thought our warm nights would last a little longer. I do think this cool spell is short, and it will go back into the 50's again. But the little darlings are just days old!!

Help Please.
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You do know, don't you, that days-old chicks need to have their brooder between 95 and 100? The second week, 90- 95, and they can handle 5 degrees less each week.

I doubt 60 watts will generate enough heat in your large pen. You may be better off getting a cardboard box and keeping them inside for the first few weeks, at least. If baby chicks get chilled, they can die quickly.
Sounds WAY too cold to me. Do you have a garage or shed you could keep them in? An extra bathroom?

If keeping them inside, you'll need to protect them from pets. Dogs and cats will often kill chicks.

They aren't just sensitive to cold temperatures. They are also very sensitive to drafts. While the stock tank would protect against some drafts, it could not keep the drafts from coming in from the top.

Plus, what about things like snakes? While I'd imagine they'd be pretty much inactive at night, they might be around during the day still. (They sure are here and it's in the 40s here at night now, but warmer in the day. I saw snakes several times in the last week.)
Hi There,

I'm also in Tucson, on the east side of town. IMO the nights are a tad bit cool now for such young chicks. I would keep them in a spare room inside the house until they are at least 4-5 weeks old. I got my babies in early July, kept the brooder inside and they still slept under the heat lamp! In the middle of July! And I have a swamp cooler, so you can imagine how warm my house was already with all the humidity. They need to be greenhouse hot. Think sauna. Good luck.
Ok. I was pretty sure I needed to change my set up!

Thank you all! I do have 2 house dogs. But I do have bedrooms that I can close off. Do I need to have some kind of a thermometer to assure they are getting the best temp??

My neighbor just sorta 'wings it' (sorry:D!) and didn't mention a constant temp setting or the necessity of maintaining one.

Glad this forum is here. Grateful for the guidance!
Hi cjatthefarm, another Tucsonan here. I got my day-old chicks on the first week of Jan., 2010 and I kept them outside on the back patio from the beginning. I used a large dog crate with a rubbermaid tub inside as a brooder. I packed foam board and other types of insulation around the tub and kept a few bed sheets draped over the top of the dog crate. I monitored the temperature constantly, which was made easier by the wireless thermometer I placed inside. Where ever you decide to keep them, I highly recommend getting the brooder up and running so that you can tweak it to get the temperature right before the chicks arrive. You'll also have to pay close attention to the temp fluctuations between the day and night time if you put them outside. Since that variation can be so great here, it is a good argument for keeping them inside, where temperatures are more stable. I was happy not having them in the house though.

Congratulations on the impending chicks.
One way to tell if the temperature is just right is to look at the behavior of the chicks. If they're all huddled under the heat lamp then it's too cold (or the lamp is too far away from them). If they're scattered around the edges of the brooder trying to "get away" from the lamp then it's too hot. If the temp is just right some of them will be near it, some away, just randomly sleeping all around the brooder. I clamped my heat lamp onto a camera tripod, and then raised it a few inches each week. I had it positioned near one end of the brooder so that if they were too warm they could move away to the other side.

And yes...protect them from your dogs. My dog killed my first flock of 8 early in the summer.
Good point Desert Peep. I should have remembered to include that. I'd still recommend a thermometer though. That is so sad about losing your first flock Desert Peep. It must have been devastating.
It was. I came home from work and found them dead all over the yard. I was missing two, and thought they had hidden or gotten away. But my dog Bella had buried them. I had to go looking real close at all the disturbed dirt and found feathers sticking up under my cape honeysuckle plant (Cinnamon-RIR), and a foot sticking up in one of my raised beds (Nugget-EE). Bella actually ripped open the chain link fencing to get to them. Now I have a hot wire around the run. Bella got zapped once and hasn't been over to that side of the yard since. I think she got the message:)
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Cj- my babies are due here Thursday or Friday too!!!

What I do is put them in my bathtub (with 3" shavings) and suspend my red heat lamp from the shower curtain rod centered over the tub. Then I can raise or lower it as needed, and I can always scoop them out of the tub for a good sanitizing if needed. (plus its easy to change the shavings)

We use the shower (not the tub) lol and so far this has worked amazing for us.

You can use clear tape to tape cardboard on the edge if they hop out. But the tub is usually sufficient for a couple weeks until they can go outside.

Hope this helps!

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