Moved to the Coop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kdwag, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. kdwag

    kdwag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 14, 2012
    Northwest Ohio
    It has been a trying couple of weeks for me, not so much my girls, but last week at 5 1/2 weeks of age we had a sort of nice day for Nw Ohio so i let them play in their run with their coop door open. unfortunately, they decided that evening they were NOT coming out of the coop and were NOT going back into our garage, so we installed their heat lamp and they spent the night in the coop. It got down to 34 that evening and i couldn't get the coop warmer than 60. i felt horrible because they looked so cold that next morning. they slept almost entirely the next day and were not themselves. i felt awful. So, i moved them back into the garage for another week and they didn't go out until yesterday, it was a balmy 70 deg. day. Although our winds were horrible all night, the coop without the lamp stayed around 60 and each time i checked them, they were all content so i left the lamp off. Around 4:30 AM, i checked again and their coop was less than 60 so i turned on the lamp. They awoke and began eating, etc. The coop got pretty warm so i turned the light off after about 15 minutes and they settled down and went back to sleep. So, i am going to assume that this light is keeping them awake and may be messing up their internal clocks? This is a regular brooder light and maybe a little too big. Is there an alternative light source I can try to offer some heat but may not be quite so bright, other than a light bulb. I'm trying to avoid becoming an OCD chicken owner as i am an OCD dog mom, but i'm having a difficult time -- they seem to be doing just fine, however. They will be 6 weeks tomorrow so I would like to leave them out permanently. Our weather this week is going to be pretty decent as far as temps go. yay.....

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chickens usually don't like change. The move from the brooder to the coop may have messed them up. Just being without light overnight for the first time may have upset their routine. But they are really adaptable. They can adapt to change pretty quickly, but it does take some time. It really does not hurt them to get used to it being dark at night. They really do recover.

    My situation is different than yours. I have a large brooder in the coop. It is well ventilated though pretty draft-proof. I only heat one area and let the rest cool off to as close to ambient as it will get. Those young chicks play all over the brooder and seem to really love those colder areas. As long as they have a warm area to go back to so they can warm up, they do fine. I do think letting them play in the cooler areas helps acclimate them.

    When I have a broody with chicks, she will take them out in pretty cold weather to forage. They are remarkably tough. When they get cold, they go back to her to warm up. They can handle it as long as they have a warm place to go.

    I don't worry about how cold most of my brooder is as long as they have a warm area to go back to. I question how you had the heat lamp set up when you tried it before. Was it placed where it kept one area of the floor warm so yours had that safe place? Or did they look miserable because of the change? I do think it helps a lot to acclimatize them but if your heat source was warming an area of the floor enough, even the move from your warm brooder the coop should have been OK. I'm not convinced that the cold weather was your problem, but you are looking at it and them and I am not. Do they have decent draft protection?

    Last fall, I took 5-week-old chicks from that brooder and put them in a grow-out coop that was not heated but that had good draft protection. The overnight lows were in the 40's Fahrenheit. They were fine. Within just a few days (5-1/2 weeks of age) the overnight low hit the mid 20's. I went down to check on them. If they were cold, they would have been giving that distress peep. They were silent. They were fine.

    With the age of yours and the weather you are describing, you have an excellent opportunity to get them in the coop without any heat. Your objective is to prepare them to winter in the coop without a dangerous heat lamp in there. You'll soon read about coops burning down because of heat lamps on this forum. And in the vast majority of those cases, the chickens did not need the supplemental heat to start with. Totally unnecessary.
     
  3. kdwag

    kdwag Chillin' With My Peeps

    413
    5
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    Jul 14, 2012
    Northwest Ohio
    I do believe they were just fine last night as they were always resting quietly, sometimes huddled and sometimes apart but no peeps. Today, the coop is open and they are going in and out in their run, it is 52 and a bit windy. I have the heat on in the coop in case they need to go warm up due to the wind but i honestly do not know if they need it. I am not sure if the coop is completely draft free although last night's winds were well over 25 mph and they were quietly sleeping each time i checked on them, so i am assuming it was pretty cozy for them. While they are playing inside and out today, if they go into their coop for a ciesta should I close them in or not worry about them?

    Thanks for the info, and I would like to avoid having to put any heat source in there if possible and i think this week with the milder temps will allow me to do that and get them used to keeping themselves warm. They seem really comfortable outside today--
     

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