Last year I moved some almost 6 week old chicks outside into a small uninsulated coop with a heat lamp. The next night, we got a boatload of snow. They were all fine and cozy in the coop. They are tougher than you think.
ETA: the picture. Yup, the chicks were all nice and cozy in here.
The two little week-old chicks did fine as did the 4 week old chicks. The week-old chicks had the brooder lamp and the 4 week chicks were in an enclosed kennel with some heat from the lamp. The weenies were the Buff Orpingtons who are three and a half months old. They huddled together in the coop with ruffled feathers and made fast er-er-er noises until I picked them up and warmed up their legs. (Weenies!
) The EEs they were with were fine. Granted, the EEs are older by about 3 months, but still. If they keep being weenies, I'm going to have to put on the mat heater.
I thought, since I'm into this hatching obsession, I could use it for an intermediary brooder as I transition the chicks from inside Baby Chick brooder, but before they're ready to go into a coop all feathered out.
After all, we will get a few freezing night and mornings, and maybe 10 days total of temps below freezing in the winter.
What does everybody think of these? Any comments? And yes, you may snark at me for being over-protective or making weenies out of my young chickens. But hey, I haven't installed it anywhere yet! Just planning ahead.... so comments and suggestions ARE welcome!)
I bought the model which can be mounted on the side or hung overhead above chicks.
I have a heat mat that I used during the spring with my first batch of chicks. Given how cold it was, I'm glad I did. I haven't used it yet for the chickens this fall, but in December, I suspect I will.
Temps around -20F get a bit harsh. I do have an extra brooder lamp I'll probably run on those days to ensure I have unfrozen birds.