Moving them out...how do you do it?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TubbyChicken, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2008
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    Chickies are now about 6 1/2 weeks. They are well feathered and cold hardy breeds (Brahma and Faverolle) The coops are cleaned out, caulked and ready. I have a small box in one corner that I filled with shavings to give them a tighter space to huddle in.

    I plan on adding a little cracked corn to their feed to help keep them warm as well.

    There is no heat and no ability to get them heat to the coops so I plan on bringing them in if the temps drop too low.

    How should I start transitioning them? They are off the light and have been for more than a week.

    Should I take them out of a few hours and then bring them back in for the night? Should I just take them out and leave them if they seem okay?

    The high tomorrow will be 64 with a low of 38...by Sunday we'll have a high of 47 with a low of 22.

    What do you think?
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    6.5 weeks is not fully feathered. Large fowl usually aren't fully feathered until 10 - 12 weeks. You chicks mostly still have down under the feathers you are seeing. Extend their wings and look at all the bare skin exposed on their body.

    In spring people do put them out early and they manage to survive but brooding them in late fall and winter is a very different game.

    I think putting them out now with no heat is not a good idea at all.
     
  3. Patchesnposies

    Patchesnposies Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern New Mexico
    Thanks Miss Prissy, I have Langshan chicks the same age as Tubby Chicken's and while they are raring to go and think they are Big Chickens I have been hestitant to put them out yet.

    This question was on my mind too. So I guess we build a slightly larger indoor brooder until these birdies are another month older.

    Thanks Tubby Chicken for asking!

    PnP
     
  4. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

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    The only way to put them out would be with heat. I have lined my coop with cardboard to make sure there are no drafts. I put a deep layer of wood shavings (12 inches) too. So far with the heat lamp they are doing well. I have a high low thermometer that I put in for a bout a week and checked it before I put them in to be sure it was warm enough when the temps were in the low 20's and it was; so out they went. So far so good the lowest temp was 45 degrees. I added an extra light one night to help. It was 18 that night outside but inside they were warm.. Now they are 9 weeks old. They are BO's. They seem to be doing better there than in the house. They now have roost and a 5 foot ceiling to fly about in. I ran a landscape ext. cord out there for the light and taped all the connections with elect tape to prevent sparks or arching for safety. I check and try to keep all the dust off the reflectors too. In a few weeks at 12 or 13th one I will gradually wean them till they can stand it a bit cooler and cooler but until then they will stay cozy. Jean
     
  5. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I realize they aren't fully feathered but I assumed since they were well feathered that they would be okay in the coop on 60F days. No? I have totally learned my lesson...There will be no brooding chicks in the fall/winter ever again...I can barely take the smell and dust in my house any longer.

    So...we are talking another MONTH? [​IMG] I've read so many conflicting opinions...Would they still be under a hen at this age?
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You have to consider that most brooding advise is given during the big brooding season - Spring. When you move into winter months brooding chicks it is not the same playing field. Your work is more intense in fall and winter.

    If a broody had hatched them they would be conditioned from day one to adjust to the climate. Since they were not brooded by a hen to this point they have no history of climatizing gradually to outside temperatures. Also they most likely would have feathered in more quickly.

    It is not rocket science just good common sense. 6 weeks is still a baby in the winter. [​IMG]

    You should try weaning them from the heat in the day. The first day turn off the heat for an hour or two and slowly decrease the daytime heat over the period of about 10 - 14 days.

    By that time they will only need heat at night and will be hedging closer to the time when you can successfully put them out without heat.

    Do you have an exterior area on a porch where you could safely put them outdoors for a couple hours each day to begin hardening them off to the temps?
     
  7. tomcio

    tomcio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 3, 2008
    I have put out 26 sex-sal-link ladies out at 6 weeks Mid-November. The coop is not heated, it is however insulated.

    So far so good. They even rummage outside in the snow. The coldest it got was -30C, with median around -5C since they went out.

    They have a 60W light in the coup, the coup is 12x8, 7ft tall. The light is primarily for the coturnix quail who are of laying age.

    I am using deep litter method thus far, but have removed some of the excess a couple of times already. I don't think your birds will suffer if you move them out.

    Cheers,

    Tom
     
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Going from heat to non-heated space in one jump is a recipe for illness.
     
  9. tomcio

    tomcio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 3, 2008
    Quote:I never said they went in one jump. They went from using a heat lamp, to having no additional heat, to being in 14C basement to having a ~10C basement (open windows) to outside at around 2C over a period of a week and a half.

    A month on, and they are all healthy and doing great. Growing like weeds too!

    Cheers,

    Tom
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It's going to depend on your situation and your coop. If your housing has low ceilings and they can cozy up, you can put them out and slowly wean the light off. The key is to acclimate them to the weather.

    I brood outdoors and usually take away the light at about 6 or so weeks old. Gone, completely, with the weather in the spring getting to the mid 40's at most and down into the 30s at night. However, they've had the chance to be outside in their tractor and get into the chilled air by that time for 3-4 weeks and have learned to go in and snuggle if cold.

    With a low of 22, them used to inside temps, I'd move a light out with them, and slowly wean them off it. Make sure coop isn't drafty and you'll know if they are too cold when you check on them.
     

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