moving chicks out to the coop in winter

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by starkist72, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. starkist72

    starkist72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all!

    We had to relocate our favorite frizzled rooster this summer, and were given some eggs from the farmer who took him to try for some offspring. (my kids wanted to keep him, but he was as accurate as a clock and MUCH louder! It was a hard choice)

    I have eggs set to hatch soon! the first week of December they will be about 8 weeks.
    We're going to need some space for that Christmas tree and I'd like to get them out of my kitchen ASAP

    I'm hoping to move them out to the coop (probably separated from my 2 hens, who will be about 9 months then,somehow) but I'm nervous about a heat lamp in the coop, and I would rather acclimate the older chickens to the cold rather than heat the whole coop

    My questions are:
    what are my options for keeping them warm?
    can I use a heat pad or something to provide heat if they need it without heating the whole coop? (the ecoglow is expensive, is there anything else?)
    How early can I move them out?
    we're only keeping 3 or 4, should I keep more for the winter so that they can keep each other warm?

    Thanks for your help!!!
     
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    Is it possible that one of your hens will go broody and raise the chicks? I'd actually slowly get the chicks used to the colder temp. How cold is your winter usually? I put my 3 week old chicks outside when it was only 50 degrees outside.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    At 8 weeks they should be fully feathered and able to live outdoors. I would acclimate then, though, by taking them for outings for several days before moving them. Just be sure they have a draft free place to sleep. I would also provide a bunch of hay that they can snuggle into for sleep if they wish.
     
  4. starkist72

    starkist72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Probably not going to go broody on me, I have a Rhode Island Red who has been laying 2 weeks and an Easter Egger not laying yet.

    We're in New England so winters are cold. (central Massachusetts)

    The coop has ventilation in the eves, isn't insulated but has insulated glass windows. We just built it this summer, we planned big windows to let in the sunshine but they should be pretty draft-free.
     
  5. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    I think they'll be fine as long as you let them get used the the cold!
     
  6. starkist72

    starkist72 Out Of The Brooder

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    hay sounds like a great idea! I wonder if they would snuggle up in the loft if I filled it with hay. It might keep the whole coop a tad warmer too.

    I wonder if there's a heat pad, or reptile rock or something I could put into the nesting box the bigger girls aren't using to give the little ones some shelter.

    I need to read up on how to introduce the new chicks to the pullets, i have no idea how it's going to work out
     
  7. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    I had my 4 week old chicks in with my 13 week old chicks. I did have to put a little box in there with a hole in it so they had a place to hide from the bigger girls. I also had several feeding and watering places for them.
     
  8. starkist72

    starkist72 Out Of The Brooder

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    great idea! thank you, i'd hate them to all be stuck together if they were getting picked on
     
  9. eje99

    eje99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    I just found this thread while researching the same question. I too am in Massachusetts and worried about the cold. This is my first year keeping chickens. Of the seven I got in May, I'm down to 3 due to predator attacks. I had added 4 more, that turned out to be bantam OEG birds - not really want I wanted, but what I got. Then in September I got 4 EE' chicks that were a week old.
    At this point, the original 3 girls and the OEG's are all in the coop and tolerating our temperatures, and each other, well.

    My question was if it's ok to move the EE's that are almost 10 weeks old out into the coop. I plan to keep them safe by using the "playpen method" described by "The Chicken-Chick", so they will not be subject to attacks from the other birds. The coop is draft-free and insulated. I figure they are fully feathered and will have the body heat of the other birds keeping the temps up as well. The highs this week are expected to be only in the 30's, lows will be 20's or so.

    Starkist72 - I'm just wondering what part of MA you're in and how your babies are doing?
     
  10. eje99

    eje99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, It's worth mentioning that the chicks have been taking field trips and spending days outside getting acclimated for the past two or three weeks, they just haven't spent the nights out there. While the older girls free-range, these kids have been left to explore the enclosed run.
     

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