Overcrowded in the brooder vs. Cold in the coop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by shalynnbrothers, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our chicks are 5 and 6 weeks old and out growing their brooder fast. They're starting to get bored and peck/pluck each other. I turned their red heat lamps back on in attempt to stop the bad behavior. We plan to move them to the coop this weekend and they should be adjusting to cooler temperatures. I also put a "baby cake" in there and added a mirror next to the brooder in hopes it might keep them entertained. It doesn't get cooler than maybe 68 in our house and it's been in the low 50s to high 40s at night outside. We cannot run electricity to the coop.... will they be okay adjusting to the cold? Should I turn their heat lamps back off? I feel like I'm ****** if I do and ****** if i don't. Having them inside, I'm worried about them plucking each other and putting them outside makes me worried they'll freeze!
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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

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    Heat, boredom and crowding causes pecking as you have seen. I would rather take the chance of them chilling than the pecking becoming a set behavior. How many are there, they should pile to stay warm. I would move them ASAP, and turn off the light it won't help.

    I personally might put them out in the coop during the day to mess around and bring them inside to sleep in a dark room if you are worried, than leave them out after a week.
     
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  3. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Heat does too?? I didn't realize. I'll be sure to turn the heat lamps off right away then! I just thought the red light would help. Thank you!

    There are 6 of them. I'd love to put them in the coop during the day but it's not finished yet. Unexpected rain set us back on building. We're going to be scrambling to finish it this weekend and get them out. I'm stressing and racking my brain to find things to entertain them until then.
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  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Believe me, compared to most of the rest of the country, you do not have cold temps!

    Recently, I responded to a post just like yours, only the OP was having nights down in the 30s and low 40s. I recommended they gradually get the chicks used to cooler temps before moving them into their coop.

    With your chicks, I think they'd be just fine going out now with just a bit of heat at night for a few nights, say a 60 watt bulb, maybe a red one. Or a huddle box with a heating pad in it.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

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    Perches can be entertaining. We put two pieces of 2x4 on end and screw a branch to them for portable perches, you can give them greens like lettuce or spinach, or dandelion greens, also if you have some clean dry soil, I give mine clumps of sod with the dirt attached to pick and dig at, it also helps to get them used to any organisms in the ground.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes turn off heat lamp.
    Make them a huddle box...will entertain them now, keep them warm at night, and make transition to coop easier.

    Make them a 'huddle box', put it in the brooder after turning off the heat(you might have to 'persuade' them to use it) then move it out to the coop with them.
    Cardboard box with a bottom a little bigger than what they need to cuddle next to each other without piling and tall enough for them to stand in.
    Cut an opening on one side a couple inches from bottom and big enough for 2-3 of them to go thru at once.
    Fill the bottom with some pine shavings an inch or so deep.
    This will give them a cozy place to sleep/rest, block any drafts and help hold their body heat in.

    ETA: maybe make them a day pen, some 1x2 fencing set in a circle(12-18" overlap to close) with the huddle box inside.
    Will break the tedium and get them used to outside.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
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  7. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last night it got down to 39 degrees!! I checked the forecast for this weekend (when we plan to move them out) It's supposed to rain Friday night and be 39 at night all weekend now.[​IMG]

    The light and heating pad are wonderful ideas, but we can't run electricity to the coop. I feel like we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do you know if there's such thing as a battery powered heat source that might work?
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    There's always a way!

    In your shoes, I'd move them into the coop, and fill a hot water bottle at night and place it inside an insulated "huddle box". Use the search to find Aart's description of how to make this.

    Your chicks will adjust more quickly than you think to the cool night temps. In a matter of days, they will be ignoring the huddle box, instead opting to snuggle together elsewhere or they may even choose to roost.
     
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  9. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hot water bottle and a huddle box, got it!! I'll look that up right away. Thank you so much for the help!
     
  10. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think we're going to attempt this 'huddle box'! Thank you so much for your help!
     

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