Is it too early/cold to move my 4 week old chicks to the garage?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by llmadigan, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. llmadigan

    llmadigan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2014
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    Hi, I'm new to raising chickens. I live in northern Indiana and we are still only averaging 20 degree days. I have 6 chicks that are about a month old and are brooding in my house (2 of each - buff orpington, barred rock and ameraucana). I'm brooding them in a dog crate that is still providing enough space, but won't for much longer. I can't believe how much they have grown in such a short time! They have lots of big-girl-feathers already, covering most of their down. I'm keeping the brooder between 75 and 80 degrees, and they seem very happy with that right now.

    What I would like to do - and am asking you all if you think it's a good or bad idea - is to move them into my garage. I was thinking of buying a dog house like this one

    http://www.amazon.com/Suncast-DH250-Dog-House/dp/B000QJ9EU2/ref=zg_bs_2975402011_1

    Drill a hole in the peak of the doghouse to thread the heat lamp cord through and have the lamp hang in the back of the dog house. at the front of the house, I would attach the crate that they are currently using as a brooder for them to use as a run. I would install a few roosts for them inside the new coop. I am hoping that a double walled resin doghouse like this would hold the heat in for them. Then they could choose to go out and explore the (cold!) run as they wish and hopefully will slowly acclimate? My garage is insulated and I would keep the doors closed all the time. Drafts wouldn't be an issue. I also have a heater in there if we suddenly get hit with more sub-zero weather.

    Once spring is in the air, my husband and I are going to convert our tool shed into a coop for them and build a large run around it. They will have plenty of room then. I just need to tide them over (and hopefully move them out of the house) in the mean time. If you have a better idea, or any suggestions, please share!

    Thanks in advance!
    Laura
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You are wise to look for ways to give them more space. First, I would remove the heat from where they are now and let them acclimate for a few days to household temps. If you can, take them outside for short outings, in the garage or even on the lawn if it's sunny and not windy. I would put them in the garage within a very few days (if not immediately) as long as there was a spot where they could choose warmth. You will probably find that within a week or two, if not sooner, they avoid the heat lamp entirely. You might want to set up their new home, thrn the heat lamp on, and check the temps for a day or half a day before you move them.

    Roosts are fine as play things, but aren't really necessary yet. You can just give them a couple of items to jump up on if you wish.

    There is nothing wrong with brooding outdoors entirely, even up north. Below is a lnk to a thread by a very experienced chicken keeper who lives farther north than you do. I have brooded chicks in the house, but I will never do it again. Good luck!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/735392/redneck-fungshui-brooding-17-degree-temperatures/0_20
     
  3. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think an insulated dog house like you are getting would be ideal in your garage as a transition brooder.
    Another idea for you; I bought some 50 watt Zoo Med heat lamps thru Amazon. Around $8 each I think. They work great for transitioning young chicks for cooler temps.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. llmadigan

    llmadigan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2014
    Porter, Indiana
    Thanks so much, Flockwatcher! That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. I just turned off the heat lamp to see how they'll like it. Once they're good with the ambient temp in my house, I'll start testing the heat lamp in the garage.

    And thanks so much for the link! Your reply has been a huge help!
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    You're very welcome. And by the way, welcome to BYC! I think you will soon find you can tell whether they are too warm or cold by how they act.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Let us know who it works out.
    Are you using the garage for the cars?
     
  7. llmadigan

    llmadigan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2014
    Porter, Indiana

    Thanks, aart, I will. We don't use the garage for cars, so we won't be opening the overhead door or choking them out with fumes :). They adjusted to 68 degrees very quickly. I'm hoping to get them set up by the weekend.
     
  8. llmadigan

    llmadigan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2014
    Porter, Indiana
    UPDATE: They've been in the garage now for a couple days and they seem very happy with the extra space :). I bought the doghouse linked in OP, drilled a hole in the roof to thread the heat lamp cord through and then took a door off the cage and butted it up against the dog house. The dog house isn't double walled. I'm not sure why I thought it would be, but I was disappointed and worried they might not be warm enough. It turned out to be perfect though. It's 68 degrees in the coop with freezing temps outside. Next week we're supposed to dip back down to subzero temps again. If they get too chilly, I have a few wool blankets I can wrap around the coop and run. They love the run, btw. I thought they'd be huddled in the coop exclusively. Nope. They don't mind the cold at all. :). Thanks for your help!
     

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