Keeping 8wk old chicks in the garage?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by eggsontoast, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. eggsontoast

    eggsontoast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got my "coop" (an extra large dog travel kennel) set up in the garage right now. I just got my hens (my first!) today and the breeder has been using a heat lamp with them in their outdoor coop. I don't have a heat lamp and don't want to buy one. Is it alright to keep them in the garage until the cold snap passes? I'm also worried about raccoons. I haven't had a chance to add a layer of hardware cloth to the coop yet and I'm scared to put the coop in the backyard at night without that extra reinforcement.
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Depending on how close they were able to get to that heat lamp at the breeder's weaning them off the heat may be your best bet and you may not be able to do that successfully in the garage without a heat lamp yourself.
     
  3. KimberlyJ

    KimberlyJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't say where you are located. How cold is the cold snap? And you don't say how old the hens/chicks are. Are they fully feathered? It's certainly ok to keep chickens in the garage...as long as the car's not running of course [​IMG] Lots of us here transition chicks from house to garage to coop. HOWEVER it's not a good idea to remove a heat source all at once, especially if it's cold out. You really should wean them off heat gradually by using smaller and smaller watt bulbs or holding the light further and further away. And you're right, predators are always a concern, it doesn't hurt to reinforce before you put them outside.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You said "hens" which by definition are over one year old. A breeder is using a heat lamp on hens?

    Agree with Kimberly3.
     
  5. eggsontoast

    eggsontoast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought all female chickens were called "hens"...my bad. They're 8 weeks old. I'm in North Florida which is usually not this cold (we've had lows in the 20s). I know it gets much colder in other places, but our temps went from averages in the 50s to the 20s in just a couple of days (and we Floridians just aren't used to this kind of cold!). More than anything, I can't stop thinking about the raccoon I saw on our back deck yesterday and having it hurt my chickens. Which, I guess, is the MAIN reason I've got them in the garage at night.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    My bad -- I missed the 8 weeks. They'd be in my garage, too. EVERYTHING will eat a bird that young.

    Under 1 year = pullet. Over 1 year = hen. For boys, under 1 year = cockerel, over 1 year = rooster. I learned this on here; lots of folks haven't found it yet, so now you know. At 8 weeks, though, many would just say baby chicks; often we only HOPE they're pullets at that age!

    Now I understand the heat lamp. I live essentially where you do, climate-wise. They're kind of on the line for heat; depends how well feathered they are, and since they'e been under heat, they're probably not fully feathered (they do feather faster if raised by broodies in the cold.)

    I don't have heat on my babies and they're about 10 days old -- you'd be surprised how long they run around in that cold, like half an hour or an hour, before ducking under mama for a few minutes to get warm.

    Probably the best thing to do would be start weaning them from heat. You don't need to buy a heat lamp at that age, just a hundred watt bulb will do. If you can, I'd give them the choice of running around away from it, and see how it goes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2010
  7. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the other hand, heat lamps with the ceramic base are only about $10 at Walmart around here (not including the bulb). You could use a regular bulb, and the wide shade of the heat lamp would direct the heat coming off the bulb. At 8 weeks, they are still babies. OK, gawky teenagers. I'd use the heat lamp on cool nights (I live in Kansas, so your temperatures are balmy by our standards most of the time, but not during a cold snap), and keep them in the garage until my coop was secure.

    Like ddawn posted, EVERYTHING eats chicks that small. They are at the bottom of the food chain.

    (edited to add) good luck with your girls. What breed are they?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  8. eggsontoast

    eggsontoast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice! Now I don't feel so guilty about keeping them in the garage. I only got two as I don't have a large enough coop (yet). One is a Black Orpington named "Fluffy" and the other is a Coronation Sussex named "Pearl". Fluffy is a little more amenable to being held. Pearl is beautiful, though...she looks just like a dove.
     
  9. eggsontoast

    eggsontoast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice! Now I don't feel so guilty about keeping them in the garage. I only got two as I don't have a large enough coop (yet). One is a Black Orpington named "Fluffy" and the other is a Coronation Sussex named "Pearl". Fluffy is a little more amenable to being held. Pearl is beautiful, though...she looks just like a dove.
     
  10. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    question; why don't you want to use a heated light ?
    If you don't mind the odor in the garage, who's to say you can't put them there ? You live in Florida, so the weather isn't that cold for you to build them a nice run with the coop inside and make sure predators can't come in from the bottom or the top of the coop/run. You don't have to go over the board. Just look at some ideas at BYC coop designs and it will give you ideas as to how you want to be. Sooner or later, the chicks are going to go outside, I mean aren't they ? [​IMG]
     

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