Opinions on booting my chicks outside please?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lemuckley_flock, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. lemuckley_flock

    lemuckley_flock Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2011
    Hi everyone! I've been a member for almost a year now - I don't often post but read daily.

    I've got 11 laying hens - seven RIR's, 3 Australorps, and one Welsummer - believe it or not, all have laid nearly daily all winter until the last week, when one of the Australorps went broody. We're in the Nashville, TN area and have had a mild winter - we also give extra light in their coop, no doubt that has kept their laying up.

    I've been looking at ordering from a hatchery in the last few weeks, then found someone locally who had the chicks I wanted. I was told that the Ameraucana chicks we were going to buy were five weeks old, and the Welsummers were six weeks. We were very happy with that and drove over an hour to pick them up the next day. I was disappointed to see that the Ameraucana chicks were no where near five weeks old - they appeared to me to be around two weeks old based on their (lack of) feathering, but she insisted they were hatched on December 7. The Welsummers looked to be about four weeks old. We debated....I really didn't feel like brooding chicks in the house this spring, and we'd built a coop that would be perfect to put five week old chicks in outside. But they were what I'd been looking for, and the price was right, so we went ahead and bought ten Ameraucanas and four Welsummers (one Wellie Roo), and she went ahead and threw in an Ameraucana Roo as well - so I came home with 15 chicks.

    I couldn't put them outside - I was fearful that they wouldn't be warm enough. So we set up a good sized brooding area in a spare bedroom, and I've had them in for a week. The Wellies are nearly fully feathered now, and the Ameraucanas are coming along - a few featherless patches under the wings, but they're growing - not fully feathered though.

    This morning I went out and threw a heat light in their coop-to-be and put a wireless temp gauge about a foot out from the center of the light on the ground. It was very quickly registering 80+ degrees. So I threw in some extra straw and mounded it up a little around the edges and turned them out. The coop is completely out of the wind, and up against the house. It's built under our deck and very well protected. I've closed off the door so they can't go out in the run. I have a second heat light I can put in there if it's needed.

    We've got decent weather on the horizon, upper 50's for the most part, with low to mid 30's at night for the next week or so. With 15 chicks who are close to feathered, in a snug coop with lots of straw, and heat lamps....think they'll be ok out there? My husband is certain they'll be fine, but I can't help but worry a little. It's going to be around 60 today so they'll be fine in there with heat on, and I can bring them back in if needed.

    I really wish they'd been the age we were told they were going to be....sigh.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I also think they will be fine. Aslo, I would not confine them to the coop, I'd let them get away from the heat and outdoors if they want. And I would probably turn the heat off within a week, if not sooner, depending how they acted. Were you able to figure out how they had been living before you bought them? Likely they did not have heat, in which case they shouldn't need any now. They may even have feathered faster because they did not have heat.
     
  3. lemuckley_flock

    lemuckley_flock Out Of The Brooder

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    They had heat. They were in a plywood box in a barn with other chicks, one heat lamp on them. Our little coop for them (which is very temporary btw) is about 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. I have heat on the side nearest to the house, and the food and water on the other side (no heat). They can easily get away from the heat if they want to - I moved the therm. gauge to the unheated side when I took them out, and it's about 65* over there. I've checked on them a few times, and a couple are chilling under the heat (not huddled though) and the rest are scratching around the entire area. My bigger concern is at night, I guess I'll move my unit into the bedroom so I can check them temp when I wake up at night.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I am a big time coddler of my chickens. I even add a bit of warmth to my coops to try to keep things above freezing (with my GROWN chickens...lol). And I think your babies will be fine with what you have. I think they'll probably pile up under that lamp at night (moreso than if they would in the house - where they'd probably kind of lay around the ring of the lamp), but that they'll do fine. [​IMG] I've had Feb. bantam babies that got booted to the coop (w/lamp) at three weeks, and our temps are generally colder than your area's temps.

    I wanted to add that even when temps drop a lot (overnight), temps under those heatlamps maintain pretty steadily...may drop some, but it'll still be nice and toasty under that lamp.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  5. lemuckley_flock

    lemuckley_flock Out Of The Brooder

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    The babies did fine. :) I went out this morning to check on them and opened their little coop door, and one of the Wellies hopped right on out - first time her feet ever touched grass. :) And she immediately found her way right back in! I checked them once overnight (we had bad weather, wanted to make sure they were staying dry) and they were spread out evenly around the edge of the light from the lamp - certainly warm enough out there! I'm very happy this morning.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. dlockey

    dlockey Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG] My husband and I are debating whether or not it is OK to put our chicks outside. Here are the facts:

    We live in Hampstead, NC ( near Wilmington ) so temps are mild. This next week, the lows will be mid 40 to mid 50's.

    One chick ( our very own hatchling ! ), is a 12 week old Barred Rock roo. He is a big boy, fully feathered.

    The girls are about 8 weeks ( 2 orphs, 1 barred rock, 1 sex link ), feathered and good size.

    Their new home is a cute coop with a small but nice size fenced in yard.

    No heat lamp, but I could put one in if ya'll think I need to.


    So, what do you guys think?? Another thing......at present, my husband is working out of town and I am caring for 2 goats, 9 cats, 1 dog, and 20 other chickens in 4 different coops/yards!! So, I would LOVE to boot these guys outside as my guest room is a disaster!! They are in a large dog kennel and I am constantly cleaning up their messes and spills!!

    thanks in advance for your help!!!
    Debbie[​IMG]
     
  8. suzeqf

    suzeqf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2011
    I'm not to far away from and I agree this winter has been crazy I have 3 Ameraucana's and 2 roo's and a hen who just started laying this week [​IMG] but anywho Jett my black roo was so much smaller than the other 2 and was very slow to feather I thought she had gotten his age wrong when we got him but he soon feathered out nicely and is a very handsome boy now. I think their coop sounds awesome and very warm and toasty.
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Dlockey, your chicks do not need supplemental heat. They'll be fine!
     
  10. mohillbilly

    mohillbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's way past time to boot them. so yea boot them they will be ok [​IMG]
     

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