Ontario Cold Climate and introducing chicks to the great outdoors

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dysaholl, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. dysaholl

    dysaholl New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 12, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    I have succesfully hatched 8 leghorns and eventually I would not like to have them in the brooder in the livingroom of my house. The chicks have just hatched (ranging from day olds to 5 days old). These lovelies have been incubated and are currently in a brooder in the house. Eventually these babies will outgrow the brooder. When is a good time to start to introduce them to the great outdoors, especially in the winter climate? Any suggestions for pen configurations?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They were hatched awfully late in the year. That's fine, but you're gonna have to brood them in the garage or somewhere that is inbetween the hot house and cold coop. That's what I do. Last January, like a dufus, I hatched out two batches and we had −25 weather. LOL

    So I pulled my little grow out pen 4x8, into the attached, but unheated garage. Stays about 30-35F out there. Just a click above freezing, so about 5C. I walled the sides with thick cardboard and threw a moving quilt pad over the top. There was cardboard on the bottom too, then the straw. Hung the lamp in there and they were just fine.

    I "stepped down" the wattage on the bulb, 250w down to 150w down to 90 watt, finally getting down to a 40 watt and then nothing at all. That way, they were acclimated to 5C temperatures with no assistance, That was took them until they were 7 weeks of age. By then, it was March and they were on their own out in the barn. Hope these ideas spark something for you.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  3. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,490
    89
    163
    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    I agree that you may want to move your brooder to the garage mainly due to all the dust that is created. Your birds will be feathered at around 8 weeks of age but you can move them at 5 weeks if you have a lamp in the coop for added warmth until they fully feathered. Leghorns are great egg producers but not hardy in Northern cold climates.
     
  4. dysaholl

    dysaholl New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 12, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    I would put myself in the dufus category also. Fred I appreciate you reply, especially the pictures! They give me ample amount of ideas to keep these girls(or boys) happy. The chicks are not old, 5-6 days at max so their brooder consists of a small kiddie pool. However I'm aware they will grow out of it fast. I do have a garage and that is their next destination. Did you start the transition at 5 weeks? My worry now is that at 7-8 weeks we will be into full blown winter (Jan), will they be able to tolerate that? I do have a hen house, that houses several other hens but I'm not sure I want to introduce them that early.

    I live in south-western ontario is a bizarre climate controlled area. It stays humid however rarely drops below -10c. 0 is a constant and snow is not often. Knock on wood, this could be the year that proves me wrong! Plenty of small flock farmers here do have leghorns and they do tolerate the winter. I have a mixed flock of RSL and some Leghorns. I also have some Rhode Island Reds(my new acquirement). My hens however do have the solace of an indoor reprieve at all times that does not go below freezing.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    0-3 weeks, inside the house, mud room or basement is fine.

    3-7 weeks, work their acclimation program in a cold garage. The old axiom of 5 degrees F per week? Well, that's got to go out the window. After week 4, you've got to start pushing them. By week 6, they need to handle pretty cool weather and by week 7, they need to be just about on their own. A 40 watt, regular old fashioned bulb is OK, but nothing more.

    7-8 week birds can take cold as well as the adults. No problem. BUT….. you've got to "step them down", bit by bit, week to week. They'll adjust just fine. They're chickens.

    What you and I could not do well is take an abrupt huge drop. That's just cruel. Push them to acclimate to colder and colder temps at the 5, 6, 7 weeks old. Those are the critical weeks to really push them. Again, they'll be fine if you force the issue. If you wimp out? LOL Keep them used to 75F? Well, they're never gonna be able to go out to the coop. Make sense?
     
    2 people like this.
  6. dysaholl

    dysaholl New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 12, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    I got it! I'll put on my big girl panties and get on it! Thanks again! I'll let you know how this transition goes!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,820
    6,970
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Timely post for me as I have eggs in the bator now...for someone else but think I may keep a few.

    I had kind of been thinking that theoretically I could do just about what Fred described....now with his affirmative voice of experience I know I can, Thanks Fred!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by