new mom


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 19, 2013
Hello everyone, just became a new mom to 4 five week old silkies. I want to thank everyone for the great information about getting ready for the little ones to arrive and what to feed them. They are currently in my basement in an old dog carrier and doing very good. The temp in the basement is perfect for them, but not sure about putting them outside. The days are in the mid 60's and the nights have been dropping in the 40's. I was thinking about letting them outside during the day, while i'm home of course, but bring them back in the house. How long before it would be safe for them to stay outside over night? Thanks for all your help. Oh and the names are Chole, Zoey, Lola, and Lilly providing their all hens. : )
If I were you, I would put them into the coop and the coop only for now. If might be too cold for them in the run. At night, put a heat lamp on them. Hope this helps!
I’m not used to Silkies so they may take a bit longer, but “normal” chicks are pretty much fully feathered at 5 weeks. Once they are fully feathered, they can handle those temperatures OK, but there is a little more to it than that.

They need to be acclimatized. They need to get used to cold weather. They wear a down coat so they really can handle those temperatures but it would be a lot like you living in 90 degree weather and taking a plane flight to where there is snow on the ground. I did that and although I was dressed appropriately I was really cold until I got used to it. Try putting them out for a few days and see how they act before you try it overnight.

The other part is what does your coop look like? I’m not too worried about the daytime since they can move around and find shelter from wind and 60 is not really that cold to them. But at night it’s colder and they are more limited in being able to move around in the dark. The odds are really high that they will still sleep on the floor, probably in a corner of your coop, but they need to be able to stay out of the wind at night. If you close your coop up to protect against predators that’s probably not an issue but I’ll mention it anyway.

When you do move them outside, I suggest leaving them locked in the coop only for a week or so. It’s almost certainly going to be a lot bigger than your brooder so they have plenty of room. It’s not that I’m concerned about them being able to handle the run during the daytime; that should not be an issue. If you keep them in the coop only for a week or so, they are much more likely to accept it as home and return there at night to sleep. That doesn’t always work, especially if you have an elevated coop. Sometimes they will bed down right under the opening and you have to physically move them inside a few times for them to get that message, but housing them inside makes that part easier.

My situation is different than yours. My brooder is in the coop. They are there from Day 1, as soon as they come out of the incubator. My brooder is fairly large and I only heat one small area. The rest cools down a bunch. They play all over that brooder, only returning to the heat when they need to warm up. They get used to the cool temperatures. They are acclimatized, which yours are not. I have had 5 week olds handle overnight lows in the mid 40’s Fahrenheit. I’ve had 5-1/2 week olds handle overnight lows in the mid 20’s.

Yours are Silkies and yours are not acclimatized. I don’t suggest you try this quite yet. But I do think you are not far away. Good luck!
Thank you so much for all the great advice. There is so much to learn.
Congratulations on your new Silkies! I have a two, a blue named Itty Bitty (she is the smallest in the flock but oh so mighty and actually the head hen!) and a buff named Lola (like yours!). They make GREAT mamas if you ever want to add baby chicks to your flock but wait until they are broody. Both are raising a buff orpington and an EE right now :)

I put mine in the coop at about 4 months. Not sure what the rule of thumb is but by then they are fully feathered. They did fine. They don't roost well since they can't flutter up like regular chickens so just make sure they have something they can stand on low enough to the ground.

Good luck!

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