New Chicks + Michigan Winter = ??


8 Years
May 31, 2011
SE Michigan
Last time I raised chicks it was spring here in Michigan, so it was pretty simple. They got big enough for the coop about the same time the weather got mild. This time will be very different and I need some cold weather advice.

I just ordered baby chicks today and they'll hatch next week. They'll be 6 weeks old just in time for winter to kick in. Our coop isn't heated or insulated, so I'm trying to figure out how I transition them outside this time (or better yet, start them outside...see below).

Last time I babied them and raised them in my bathroom until about 5 weeks. This time, I'm thinking about building a brooder in the (uninsulated) coop instead with 2 heatlamps. At night it'll get below freezing soon...will the heat lamps keep 1-3 week chicks warm enough when the night time temps dive?

If so, then the transition is simple...they go in the coop almost immediately with a couple heat lamps in a brooder (separated from the hens by wire, which is an added bonus of getting them aquainted but safe). If not...I need some ideas.

What advice do you have for raising chicks in freezing temps (I don't think the bathroom is an option this time if we can help it)
Hey neighbor!

If you have the chicks out in the coop with lamps I think they should be fine. However, if the power goes out (as is does in MI winters/storms) you will have chick-cicles. Plus, the hens will be use to the heat from the lamps and could go into shock as well.

I recommend keeping them inside until they are feathered out (5-6 weeks) you can probably take the heat lamps off after 3 weeks. Then keep them in a cooler room (coat/mud room) until you can get them out in the coop.
I, also, recommend not putting smaller chickens in with your larger hens until they are about the same size. (Keeping them seperated with wire until they can hold their own against the bigger girls)

Good Luck!

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