Need Advice on hardening off 6 week old chicks

Carrie Lynn

Aug 30, 2010
S.E. Michigan
Help do I transition my 6 week old chicks to the outdoors?
They are in the house and I need to get them outdoors soon. I live near Detroit, MI (zone 5b).
The house is about 66 degrees, my garage is unattached and has rafter openings to a screened porch that lets in oudoor air (I can't get at them to block off). The daytime highs for the next few days will be in the low 60's.
Can someone please advise me, I'm new to all this?

Thanks in advance,
Carrie Lynn
When I put my babies outside I put a brooder light out with them and a seedling heating mat. That way they can warm up if need be. It sounds like you have a drafty place for them so maybe put up a piece of plywood as a block to the wind and set up a heat lamp. That way they can run around in the garage to get used to the outside but can warm up if need be.

Is the screened porch going to be their coop? Am i understanding that correctly?

At six weeks old, you shouldn't have to do much to transition them; just put them outside. But they do need a draft free place to sleep, especially in the winter.
I agree in that at that age you shouldnt have too much trouble. I would put a 65 watt light bulb about 18" off the ground so they can get a little suplimental heat if they need it for a week or so then take it away all together. Once they are fully feathered, you really don't have to worry about them anymore.

Good luck to you!
At 6 weeks they should have a decent amount of permanent feathers, so should be fine out by day.

My 6 week old were left by their mum at just over 6 weeks of age and they have been fine in their outside pen 3 weeks ago (though nights were a bit warmer then,). Our nights have been frosty 2 or 3 nights and the chicks have been fine.

Make sure that they are well fed, take measures to reduce draughts, straw on the floor and remember the more chicks there are the warmer they will keep. You may not need a heat lamp at all if the nights are not exceptionally cold.

No, the screened porch won't be the coop.
I hope to be able to winterize and build on to my Ware Chick-N-Hutch. I only mentioned it because the porch does let in cold air, but ithe garage isn't at all drafty. It is an old, wood slat-walled, unattached garage cica 1942, so it gets cold in there. I plan to put out the dog crate they are current living in, I can suspend a heat lamp or light bulb overhead. Just haven't figured out how to get them off the floor, (no table large enough) and there are small mice and possibly a chipmunk in the garage (but, so far no problems with my Bantam Leghorn who sleeps in there at night).
Any thoughts anyone? Thanks in advance...
I've had my 8 wk olds outside for almost two weeks now. I have them in a really sturdy 10 X 10 dog kennel until they can move to the big coop and put a medium size dog crate and a heat lamp out with them because we're starting to drop to the 30's at night. They will either roost on some tree branches I put under the heat lamp or all pile in the dog kennel if they want a little extra warmth. How high off the floor do you want them? If it's just a few inches to keep them off concrete or such we found wooden pallets work well with a piece of plywood over it so they don't fall between the slats. We get them free from some local businesses when they're going to throw them out.
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