Pullets, when can they go out in winter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Magelet, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Magelet

    Magelet Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2014
    I would really like some advice

    I have 5 hens happily outside in a chicken coop. They have a heating lamp because some of them still have some rubbed raw spots from overmating before I sold off my rooster.

    I have 5 pullets in the garage in a brooder. They are now almost 7 weeks old and to my eye look fully feathered. There are 4 astalorp/sussex pullets and 1 wyandotte/sussex pullet.

    Where I am in Colorado it is above freezing in the day, and below freezing at night.

    So here is my question, assuming the weather neither gets warmer or colder and with the assumption that not only will I leave the current heat lamp in the coop, but I will also add the second one that has been keeping the brooder warm on the other end of the coop- how many weeks should I wait until I put my pullets in the chicken coop and let them into the run?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd wean them off of the heat in the garage for a couple days by raising the lamp higher and higher. They'd be ready now if they had been acclimated to the weather.
    I don't think any of them need heat in the coop.
     
  3. Magelet

    Magelet Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2014
    Ok. I have been keeping the brooder's high temp in accordance with the 5 degree rule (wk1=95, wk2=90, wk3=85, wk4=80, wk 5=75)

    When you said
    Did you mean that it is healthy to acclimate them from 75 to 32 in a week and a half?

    Right now I have a high of about 70 in the brooder. Can I really drop the temperature 5 degrees every day?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes or drop it more. They're fully feathered so can handle almost any temperature at this point.

    The 90-95 first week and lower by 5 every week is a rule of thumb that is used by large scale producers. It works but IMHO is often too high, especially after the first week.
    It offers the chick no option or ability to find its comfort zone.
    I try to replicate nature. A hen doesn't heat all ambient air to 95 and lower that air by 5F each week. She provides a hot spot and the rest of the air is cool. After the first week, chicks don't really spend that much time under her. They run around the yard and when they get a chill, they run under her to warm up. By providing a large cool brooder area with a heat lamp or two, the chicks can find their comfort zone.
    They aren't that fragile.
    The 5 degree rule of thumb works for the commercial industry because they don't have the space to let chicks find their comfort zone - they're brooding 10s of thousands of chicks nor do they have the manpower to observe whether chicks are crowding the heat or shying away from it.

    Chicks resting away from her hot spot.
    [​IMG]

    Various age chicks avoiding the heat.

    [​IMG]

    It's about 50 degrees in the following picture.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Magelet

    Magelet Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2014
    Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate the info.

    Just so you know, the temperatures I am describing are the temperature I am maintaining just under the heat lamp. The far end of the brooder is at basicly the same temp as the garage which is to say freezing. I have had to move their waterer because where it was in the cold side it froze solid.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Well then, that sounds perfect. That said, I think they're ready to go out now. You can still use a heat lamp at night for a few days keeping in mind that they like to pile up near the heat at night. It doesn't necessarily mean they need it at this point.
     
  7. Magelet

    Magelet Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2014
    I'm going to do with dropping the temp about 15 degrees a day then (60, 45, 30) before putting then outside. Since I have some worry that the hens will be trying to drive them out of the coop for windows of time, and I don't want that to be terrible for them.

    Thank you again for all your help, this makes me feel MUCH better about taking action about them and I am so glad not to have them inside for weeks and weeks dropping it 5 degrees a week)
     
  8. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 31, 2014
    My chicks have been off heat and outside since week 3.

    They are now just over seven weeks and doing great.
     
  9. Magelet

    Magelet Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2014
    The expected low here tonight is 3 degrees. I am totally confident that would kill a 3 week old chick, so please excuse me if I don't give your reply much weight.
     
  10. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not knowing every detail about your situation is why I didn't tell you what to do. Instead I told you what worked for me.

    My chickens don't give you much weight

    [​IMG]
     

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