Please help! Raising baby chicks NOW in a cold climate!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Cottage Rose, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    I've been raising chickens for 30 years.
    Never thought I'd see the day when I would hatch out chicks in November in a cold northern climate...but when I got the chance to get some Marans hatching eggs from Bev Davis I couldn't refuse. [​IMG]
    So now the reality of raising baby chicks during the dead of winter has got me wondering...what was I thinking?!? [​IMG]

    They're already making the laundryroom pretty stinky and will soon outgrow their Rubbermaid tub brooder and need to be moved outside. I have a garden potting shed that I can move them to which I plan to insulate but
    will heat lamps provide enough heat when it gets below zero or will I need to use some kind of outdoors space heater?
    On sunny days I plan to let them out when they are bigger but what kind of winter temps can they tolerate?

    Does anybody know how much heat they will need after they feather out?
    Will the lack of sunshine adversely effect their developement?
    Any tips or advise appreciated.
  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    I really like Ruth's approach to chick-rearing and she raises them outside in all weather.

    I have 8 chicks outside right now. My broodies sat on them outside and they're raising them outside. I don't have electricity in my barn, so they don't have a heat lamp on them, either. Their mama keeps them warm enough.

    I don't know how cold your climate gets, but I think they'd be okay in an outdoor building with a heat lamp. Do you have a way to keep the drafts off of them?
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Keep in mind Ruth is way down south in MS and has short periods of cold weather. You can't do the same thing in December in Michigan.
  4. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    Yup, we can have very cold to sub-zero temps (to -25 degrees) now through March/April!
    After those kind of temps when we get a day when it gets up to 40º we start wearing our tank tops and shorts outside and think its warm! [​IMG]

    View outside my window...last APRIL!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  5. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    Snow, snow, snow!
    Well you get the idea. [​IMG]

  6. kelliepulido

    kelliepulido Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2008
    st.john's mi
    Wow Cottage Rose those pix are awesome! I am in the same boat as you..and with hens in the barn with babies too! I live in St.john's where are You?
  7. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    What about about creating a heat well in the shed?

    By that I mean a place where the chicks can walk into a corral kind of thing on the floor, where the heat lamp is overhead and some kind of a barrier collects more heat than outside the area?

    I know there are many ways to make this, keeping in mind it must be fire-safe.
    Could be a dog exercise pen sheltered with cardboard, with the door open. Could be a metal barrel without a top or bottom and an entrance, that kind of thing. A box without a top. A wire pet kennel with the door open and insulated around the sides with cardboard. A big flower pot cut to allow light in and with a door, a plexiglass aquarium with a hole for an entrance...this is a chance to get creative, and if the chicks are too warm they can move away from the heat and out of the corral. It might be enough to make a corral of a single layer of cinder block leaving one end open, and letting the concrete collect radiant heat.

    This way the birds feather normally over the winter but the birds always have an emergency source of heat should your temperatures plummet,. as they often can here, too. [​IMG]

    ps- We had a brooder with a 'cool room'. As they chicks grew, and if the lamp seemed too warm, they could move through an opening, and they did. So the area below the lamp began at 95F but if they wanted out, they could go...
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I have a wire brooder similar to this one in this thread. I usually get my chicks in Oct. I put the brooder in the barn with a brooder heat lamp for the first month. I now have a nursery coop. The nursery coop has a small run. I let them out during the day into the run. They can go in and out of their coop whenever they want as I keep their waterer and feeder in their coop. I put the brooder in for about a week but also have some heat lamps. Now that they are feathered I only leave the lamp on at night. I have it on a timer, they can get get into their own comfort zone.
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    We don't get sub zero temps here, but it does get well below freezing - I know I am in CA, but we are in the high desert area and quite often get snow. We keep our babies, once fully feathered, in their own brooder, in the hen house with the heat lamps. We also have a radiator in there for very cold nights. Hope this help!
  10. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Overrun With Chickens

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    Cottagerose - I am in the same boat - Iowa gets pretty darn cold sometimes - we have already had temps in the teens this week. I am trying to figure out a set up in my garage that won't cost a lot of money (preferably free). I will be keeping an eye on this thread to see what ideas people have. I just booted some three week olds to the garage with a heat lamp for now because they were stinking up my basement. (the temps are back into the 35-50 range for this week)

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