Moving chicks outside with no heat light

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by catchthewind, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. catchthewind

    catchthewind Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2011
    Vancouver Island
    Okay, I've been searching and searching, here and on Google, and haven't found any answers to exactly how you move chicks outside besides mention of putting heat lamps out with them if it's cold.

    Our coop should finally be done this week. I'm hoping to have it painted Tues or Wed and then give it a few days to air and move the chicks in over next weekend. Two of the chicks are eleven weeks old (I know, it's about time!), five are seven weeks old, and two are about four or five weeks old but I think they're fully feathered. I've been putting them all outside during the day and they do just fine, even the younger two. The day time temperatures are generally between 50 and 70. I don't have them under heat inside at all, but the room temperature in the room they're in is around 73 or so because we have day olds in this room too. Over night outside it gets down to below 40 still many nights. Are they going to be okay if we just stick them outside in the coop one day and leave them out there? I might be able to put a heat light out, but is it necessary? I was thinking maybe I should just move the older two out until it's a bit warmer overnight, but wouldn't they be warmer if there were more of them? I could keep the younger two inside though for a little longer.

    I was thinking I could put them in the basement from now until the coop is done, it's insulated but not as heated so will be colder than here but not as cold as outside. It would be a pain to move the brooder down there so I'd sort of rather not, but if it would be easier on the chickens it's doable. There are also mice down there, not sure if that's a problem?

    ETA: My husband reminded me that the door on our basement is not a standard size, and it's very possible that the rabbit hutch they live in right now won't fit through the door down there. So that may not even be an option unless we completely rethought what we're brooding them in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd say the basement will help them transition, and I agree, especially with taking them out for outings, they should do fine in the coop.
     
  3. CowgirlPenny

    CowgirlPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had my 6 week olds outside since they were fully feathered at 3.5 weeks old. Rain, wind, almost freezing temps...they do just fine. No heat lamp. LOTS of straw in their coop, no drafts and plenty of buddies to snuggle with and mine do well.
     
  4. thewisteron

    thewisteron New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2011
    I recently posted a similar thread about this and you might find some useful information there:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=476509

    I've decided I am going to put mine out next week (6 1/2 weeks old). It should be in the low 40's at night, 60 during the day. I'll probably put my heat lamp out there for a week or two to help them transition.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Catchthewind, probably your problem has been that there are lots of different opinions on this. Many brood outdoors from day one, in barns and garages, with less than 95 degree heat. I have broodies raising chicks in an unheated and breezy coop, and see 3 and 4 day old chicks outdoors all day in 40 and 50 degree weather. They sleep under mama, of course, but stay out during the day, even when mama squats and clucks and offers to let them warm up under her. One batch was out like this in freezing weather -- they did go under mama every little while to warm up, but would be out again in a few minutes. They are a lot hardier than we think.
     
  6. There are differents modes of thought. Each of us have our own ideals and also acknowlegde the wisdom of brooders kept warm indoors and letting the chicks mature before putting them out. That being said, my sister put her 17 day old and little OEGB (barely bigger than my thumb), RIR standard and White Leghorn out in an open and drafty pen with a brooder light and a 5 sided nest box. They have all fared fantastic. They seem to like being out with the other chickens moreso than being in the house in the brooder because they spend all day with them free ranging and peeping away. I haven't personally been able to do that yet but it does show me that it certainly can be done. For the record she is in Phoenix so that is an obvious advantage. She did this because her neighbors have chicks that have just hatched and spend all day with mama pecking away so she figured it would be alright.
     
  7. catchthewind

    catchthewind Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2011
    Vancouver Island
    Thank you all! There sure are a lot of differing opinions. I guess I am less worried about the actual temps, and more worried about the change in temps. It just seems sticking them in a coop that could get down to close to freezing when they're used to 73 might be a shock. I think my husband is right and there's no way we could get the hutch in the basement (it's huge), but I put our min/max thermometer down there tonight to see just how cold it gets in there. We may try and rig something up down here that will work for a week. I also have decided I need to stop babying them so much during the days. Right now I bring them in if it's chilly out. I think I'm going to make sure they have a good place to shelter if it's windy or rainy and leave them out more.
     

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