Newbie question about chicks and wet weather


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 14, 2013
Melrose Park,IL
Hello to all. I have 9 3-1/2 week old chicks, they are feathering out real well. In the daytime I have been keeping them in the new run which has a roof. At night I put then in a Rubbermaid with 25 watt bulb.
It is cold, damp and lightly raining here in Chicago today, probably 55 degrees. Will it be OK for me to put them in the run today? they may get a little wet if they get too close to the sides of the run. They are getting so big I hate to leave them in the Rubbermaid all day.

Also, the guy I got the chickens from said I can let them start living outside at 4 weeks, which is next week. Does putting them in the coop overnight at 4 weeks sound about right to you all? It is not going to be a heated coop and this time of year in Chicago we may have overnight lows in the 40's.
thank you for your help
Do you have any means of getting electric to the coop? Extension cord?
I raise them in the coop all year with a warm spot.
I'd say 55 might be a little cool.

If you can't get electric out there for today, how about turning the tub on it's side, heat a brick in the oven and put it in the tub so they can rub up against it to warm up.
With a hen at that age they wouldn't spend much time under her but if they get a chill they'll run under her, warm up and off to play again.

Crowding isn't good either. If it gets real cold at night you could split them up. Put half in the tub and the other half in a box or other tub.
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Thank you. I do have cords out in the coop now, in fact this laptop is plugged into one. I am hoping to finish the roosts and ramps today and was going to put them out here in the tub with the 25watt bulb tonight.
But I have to work in here right now, do you think it will be OK to let them loose in the run with the cold and rain during the day today?
Probably, just watch their behavior. If they huddle together, they're too cold. If they run around carefree, they're fine.

In the unheated coop, you'll need more than a 25 watt light. In the coop, when it's cold, I use anywhere from 150 watt ceramic emitters to 250 watt infrared lamps.
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I may set them loose in the run when this rain lets up, I have plenty of bricks and an outdoor grill/oven to heat them on.
I am going to run electric to the coop, for an outdoor light, interior light and a duplex outlet, all on GFCI of course. But I am confused, the guy at the feed store said once they are 4-5 weeks old not to worry about any heat in the coop, that they will be fine. Should I plan on running a drop for a heat lamp too?
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It just depends on how feathered your birds are. Most are fully feathered and good to go at 6 weeks, but that can vary. You'll just have to look at your own birds and decide.

I'd let them out in the run. If they'd been broody raised, they'd be out from under momma all day and checking out the world. At this age, they'd pretty much only be under her at night, which is what you've been simulating.
Thanks for all the help. I did put them out in the run, which is roofed all afternoon and they where fine. it got a little cooler late afternoon so I heated a couple bricks and put them in the run but they didn't go near them. The just ran and played until it started to get dark. Then I transferred them to the tub with the light and put them in the garage for the night.
A little wet won't hurt them but avoid letting them get soaked because they get chilled very quickly. Many a time in the summer when it's 90* I've found an old hen and her bittys that got caught in a sudden thunderstorm soaking wet and shivering under a bush, even to the point that some of the bittys were comatose. I put them in a box and warm them with a blow dryer and they recharge in just a few minutes.
Your 8 almost fully feathered bittys piled up in the corner of the unheated coop @ 55* should be ok but since you have a light now you have no worries.

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