Moved Cornish Giants outside

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8 Years
Aug 31, 2015
My flock has been in a brooder in the garage with a heat plate and they're now 2 1/2 weeks old. I didn't anticipate the speed they'd grow OR how messy they were. I have to move them out of that brooder because they essentially sit in their own crap unless I change it twice a day. I built an 8 x 10 tractor with 4 x 8 of it covered with a tarp (top and sides). The tractor is within an electric net fence to keep predators out.

The temperature will drop into the 50's at night and they don't have roosts so they'll be on the ground. Should I run an extension cord and throw the heat plate out there? The heat plate is only 16" x 24", so I don't know how many birds this size will get under it.

Opinions and advice appreciated.
If it was me and the temps got down into the 50s at night, I'd keep the heat source going. Others may disagree but for me it's one of those, "I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it." Make sure they can get away from the heat should they get too warm. I certainly understand the need to get them out of the garage asap. They can be quite disgusting. Good luck to you.
I would keep them in the garage a bit longer. The biggest problem is what the "feels like" temperature is, your birds may actually be in temperatures up to ten degrees cooler than what the weather calls for.
Instead of changing out the brooder bedding, put it in a couple of inches deep and your birds will mix it up just fine, and you can always help them mix it a bit too, or order Sweet PDZ off amazon which will help the poo compost, and is completely safe for the birds. There is nothing wrong with live birds with a bit of poo stuck to a foot. Your birds are not feathered out well enough yet to survive in those temperatures. Cornish X are EXTREMELY prone to "piling up" when they feel cold and WILL suffocate one or two birds a night until you are left with half your flock. They happily die warm, they can't help it. Even with a heat source, the ones on the edge will continue to rotate in and move the pile along all night. Give it at least a couple more days, but with those temps I would try for 3.5 or 4 weeks.
If it makes you feel better, provide them heat for awhile. It won't hurt them any. I understand the investment and time involved and the peace of mind may well be worth the hassle. That said, I put mine outside at 3 weeks no matter what and they've lived through frost, spring snow, etc. It seems like your tractor gives them a place to hide from rain and draft. I think they'll be just fine outside.
I just put them out last night without heat. They seemed fine this morning.
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