My chicks are 5wks when should I put them in the coop?


8 Years
May 1, 2011
The aren't fully feathered yet, so I'm planning on waiting for that, but I've noticed the weather here is in the 60's during the day and 30's to 40's at night. Should I start turning the light off at night to get them adjusted to the lower temps? Are house does get pretty cold.
You should put them outside during the day and bring them in in the evenings when it gets cold. Start turning the heat lamp on later and off earlier so they get used to being colder. In another week you should leave the heat lamp off all night and once they're O.K. with that they can sleep outside. Just don't plunge them into low temperatures from a nice warm brooder immediately. Let them get used to the cooler temps slowly.
I moved my chicks and duckling outside when they were about 5-6 weeks. I ran an extension cord and plugged it into my light and put it down to the coop and hung it up so if they got cold at night, they could just go under the light; vise versa. To warm and they moved away. After doing this for a couple of weeks, I just took the light out completely and they were fine. Now, they are all grown and doing well.!
I have been wondering that also. Mine are 16 days and 8 days old. They self regulat their temperature, I have 3 zones, ranging from 75 to 95 at night. Non of them are sleeping in the 95 zone. The 16 day old seem to like about 80 and the 8 day seem to like 90. In Arizona, temp. In winter 72 to 30 degrees. winters AZ expects about 200 - 400 hrs of 35 - 30. I have them inside with draft protection at this time. I want the out side ASAP, I'm allergic. So, with a light in the coop they should be all right in Januar and Fenuary, i am hoping by Chistmas (8 & 7 wks) They should be fully feathered and coop ready. Is my expectation reasonable? I need assurance that I am doing the best for my girls.

My nephew asked me when they should start laying. I could not answer that. Isn't it a combination of factories, length of day, age, breed of bird, and condition of bird? 3 of the birds are mine, family own the others. They are all depending on me taking good care of them and are looking forward to eggs, the kind they have not had in 30 yrs.
The older ones should be ready for the coop by Xmas and quite possibly the younger ones too. I forgot to say in my post above that you could also raise the heat lamp a bit every few days to drop the brooder temperature. Most people say 5* a week, but it's just a guide. It'll help them adjust to the coolers temperatures without risk.
As for laying... what breeds have you got? Some breeds start laying aged 16 weeks and some 24 weeks. Most lay aged around 20 weeks. You can switch to layer feed when they are all 16+ weeks old. It is also winter now, with shorter days. A hen needs around 14 hours of good light to keep her in production. Unless you want to start lighting the coop in the evenings for them, tell your nephew they should start laying towards Spring, when the days are longer and they are mature.
You'll notice their bodies (especially the hip area) filling out nicely and their combs will go red. When they start showing interest in the nest boxes you can place a fake egg or a golf ball in there to give them the hint.
My post in this thread might help you. There is no absolute answer to your question. We all have different climates and conditions. We manage them differently and have different goals. There is no one right answer that covers all of us.
Good point. I have a coop just for brooding so they go outside as soon as they come out of the incubator or arrive in the mail.
They're a lot tougher than people think. Provide for them just as a mother hen would. Give them a warm zone and lots of cool space and let them decide. They'll feather out better and be healthier in the long run.
I brood in an unheated building in all but the extremes of temperature (above 80 at night or below freezing all day).
In cold weather I have a hover with 2 heat lamps so they won't freeze if one fails. In warmer weather I just suspend one heat lamp.
Last edited:
My nephew asked me when they should start laying. I could not answer that. Isn't it a combination of factories, length of day, age, breed of bird, and condition of bird? 3 of the birds are mine, family own the others. They are all depending on me taking good care of them and are looking forward to eggs, the kind they have not had in 30 yrs.

Nobody can answer that. I've had a pullet lay at 16 weeks. I got my first egg yesterday from a group of 5 pullets that hatched April 2 of this year. Each chicken is different. Daylight, temperatures, seasons, all that play into it. If they come from a flock that normally starts to lay at a certain age, most of them will probably start to lay around that age. But other things factor into it.

Sumi I don't agree that they need 14 hours of light to stay in good production. I've had some stay in great production in the winter when I have less than 12 hours of light a day once they get over the molt. I've had some that don't produce worth anything in the winter. That 14 hours comes from what a lot of commercial operations use where they control all the light. It's built around feeding schedule and other stuff, not that they need that much light. I'll try to explain where I'm coming from.

The commercial operations can control when most of the pullets in a new batch start to lay by keeping them in maybe 8 to 9 hours of light a day until they are mature enough to lay a decent sized egg without harming themselves. Remember we are talking about the commercial egg laying hybrids that are small in body size and lay a lot of large eggs. They have when and how to start them down to a science to get mostly Grade A large eggs when they do lay and to minimize the chance of medical problems related to laying those big eggs with a small body. 14 hours is not magic about that. Light periods getting longer is what what helps control that, not the exact length. Chickens close to the equator never see 14 hours of daylight and still follow the days getting longer or shorter stuff. Chickens far enough from the equator where they see more than 14 hours of light in the summer can still molt when the days get shorter even if you provide 14 hours of light.

The 14 hour thing is more to the feeding schedule though. Some chickens can be food bullies. If given the chance they will keep other chickens from eating. If you put out only what the chickens can clean up when they are hungry and you give them enough room at the feeder where they can all eat at the same time, the bullies are going to be so busy eating they won't stop the others from eating. So then you withhold food until they are all hungry again. By spacing this out so they are always hungry when you feed and by releasing a specific amount of feed per chicken, you can be pretty sure each and every chicken is eating what they need to produce a Grade A large egg and the bullies are not overeating. A 14 hour day fits that feeding schedule nicely.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom