Need temperature advice from a chicken pro for my odd situation (PICS)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by guesswhatchickenbutt, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Ugh - I've been stressed about this situation since before I had chicks... I need a real pro to help me.

    Here's my deal. I really really want advice from a chicken expert on this.

    I have three 2 1/2 week old chicks (BO, EE and BR) who are living outside in a run during the day and come inside to my patio at night. They seem to be growing great and eating everything in sight.

    I have to go out of town for 9 days for a wedding. I have hired two teenage girls (very reponsible kids) to come to my house with their mother once or twice a day to look after my inside cats and the chicks.

    The chicks will be 4 1/2 weeks old when we leave. I am hoping to have them in their coop full time at 4 weeks so they will be used to it when we go on vacation. But... there is NO way to get electricity out there so having a heat lamp - or any lamp for that matter - just isn't an option.

    The average high temp when we're gone will be 85.
    The average low temp when we're gone will be 62.

    The coop has a screened-in area that is sealed with hardwire cloth to keep them safe. Under the roost is a little area (kinda under the stairs - off to the right of the door in the pic) that might be cozy. On top of the stairs are the fully-enclosed nest boxes and roost (I don't know if they can figure out the stairs at their age). There is an opening at the top of the stairs so I guess "fully enclosed" isn't 100% accurate. Here is the coop, if this helps.


    So here's the deal. I'll have to leave them for 9 days to go to this out-of-town wedding/family reunion. I can't bring the chicks. I don't know how on Earth I can get a lamp out there. What's your opinion...will the chicks be okay? Is there anything I can get the girls to do to keep the chicks warmer at night (like put a cardboard box under the stairs? or pack it with hay?)

    I'm sooo worried about leaving them, but I keep telling myself that they are chickens and I have to just go on this trip. The girls will pet them and feed them, etc. The girls have horses so are good with animals and such and they've watched the cats successfully before so we trust them.

    Advice? Do you think my chicks will live? I know myself well enough that I'll be overwhelmed with worry if I think the chicks might be too cold at night.

    Edited to say - my husband asked me if I thought asking our pet-sitters to heat up a heating pad in the evening and wrap it in a towel and put it in the coop would help or if that was the dumbest idea we've had?? I know a heating pad won't hold heat for long....for all I know their final visit of the day will be at 4 pm and the pad might be cool by 6 pm
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  2. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    You will be fine with those temp at 4 weeks old, would place a box upside down with hole cut in the side, this to keep them out of drafts and any blowing rain. Or put plastic on side of the pen.
  3. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    yep they will be fine, start leaving them overnight a few days before you leave just to be able to see their reaction but I think it is fine, I am no expert by any means though.
  4. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    You will be amazed how big & sassy they will be at 4.5 weeks. I left mine at 5 weeks to go on a one week vacation. They were fine & HUGE when I returned. Don't worry so much. They have eachother.
  5. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Thanks! I'm feeling a tad better...

    Well when I said "expert" I was using that term loosely. I know many of us on the "raising chicks" pages are newbies who have the books that say "95 degrees and decrease by 5 degrees per week" so when I raised a similar question once before (before I got the chicks) I noticed a lot of "newbie" chicken owners told me the chicks couln't handle the temperatures because the books said it should be much warmer and they should still be under a lamp. I've noticed that people who have been around chickens a lot longer have a better feeling about what they can tolerate....
  6. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    hmm- i'ld be a little worried about the evening temps - can you ask if the girls can take the chicks in at night if it gets cold? Heck, even a cardboard box would work for 3 chicks.

    at the very least I'ld get the girls to put the chicks in a box with straw/hay at night and let them out in the am. 3 chicks can't huddle together enough to keep each other your patio enclosed? what night time temps are they handling now?
  7. Knight Hawk Ranch

    Knight Hawk Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2007
    Labelle, Florida
    They will be fine at those temperatures.
    So long as they have a place to get out of the draft, a box (as previously suggested).
  8. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    I agree with what has been stated so far. Here's another little something to help them stay warm. I use real wool sweaters. Wool helps to retain heat very well. I buy 100% wool sweaters at goodwill. I use them for raising foster kittens (bottle babies), for puppies and for chicks. Also anytime one of my animals is under the weather, I put a wool sweater under it.
    My hens have been too busy keeping track of chicks, that they allowed two still unhatched eggs to roll away from them. The eggs got caught up in the wool sweater I had used in the nest box. One of the chicks has hatched and the other is pipping. So don't under estimate a nice fuzzy wool sweater.
    All the babies love to cuddle on them too.
    Enjoy you family time. Give the girls your phone number and trust them to call you with any concerns.
  9. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Quote:No, I can't. They don't live in our neighborhood and their mom has to drive them over here so I can't ask them to drive over every night and put them in a box - besides, it'd have to be on the patio anyway or in the garage and both of those places have the same outside temp as the coop.

    I'm feeling better about the box in the coop idea now. I assume the girls will be fine with lots of hay in the coop at that age. I'll make a nice little area for them under the stairs/roost area with a box that will keep them draft-free.

    It won't get below the low 60s at that point at night - it could even stay in the mid 60s. It shouldn't rain either - or if it does, it shouldn't rain much. We never get cold fronts that late in the year here in Florida.
  10. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    FarmerDenise - that's an AWESOME idea! Thanks so much! The girls will have my phone number and email address and know I need at least 1 quick email a day letting me know all is well (I can ck email on my phone). I'll take the kids out tomorrow and hit up a thrift store for a wool sweater and I'll put that in the box with them. Thanks!!!

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