Putting 3 week old chicks in the coop with heat lamp

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kortmom, May 9, 2013.

  1. kortmom

    kortmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2013
    My babies are no where near three weeks old but I like to think ahead, so here goes. I was looking to put my chicks in their coop at about 3 weeks of age with a heat lamp to get them out of the house. I live in Mass and our average daily lows for May is 50 ( this would be at night). I have six chicks and an 8x4 coop. I could either put them in the coop in a large box to cut off some of the coop or I could put them directly in the coop on pine shavings. I do not have power in the coop so I would need to run an outdoor cord to the coop. I have hardware cloth over my windows, so I would crack the window and put the cord through the hole in e hardware cloth. I would hang the lamp from a chain on the ceiling. Thoughts?
  2. KalienLunn

    KalienLunn New Egg

    Apr 20, 2013
    I don't have any advice but I'm in the same boat, so following this thread!
  3. bowen012

    bowen012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2013
    North Carolina
    My chicks were having space issues in their inside brooder so I upgraded to a large cardboard box which I took outside when cleaning the shavings while the chicks were in their smaller brooder. Unfortunately, a sudden and severe rainstorm ruined the box, so out of simple space issues I moved my chicks outside into their coop. Temps this week were mild for May in Virginia, days were around 50, nights around 40-45. I did place a heat lamp with a 250 red bulb; lower than normal since the chicks were in the coop and had plenty of room to move away from it if needed. I put newspaper down and a thick layer of aspen shavings to collect heat. My chicks at the time were a mix batch of 3 and 4 week old chicks and they've done fine thus far (4 days outside.) Today the temps returned to normal for this time of year (70ish day, 50ish night), I'm still using the lamp since the chicks are still only 5/4 weeks respectively and they can still move away from it in the coop.

    They are the only chickens in the coop however, so my situation is a bit different and I'm not experienced enough to tell you what to do in your situation. The moral of the story I guess is that these little guys are more resilient than we give them credit for. I was terrified that first night that they'd get sick or die. I actually went out to check on them about every hour all through the night, but they were absolutely fine. I think they actually preferred it out there.
  4. kortmom

    kortmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2013
    Of note, These are my only chickens. I have a brand new empty coop they would be going to.
  5. cajun1

    cajun1 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 22, 2012
    I put my 25 chicks in their coop the day I got them. They are now 1 1/2 weeks old. I also installed a heat lamp. They are all doing fine and growing like weeds. As a side note: I do have a wireless camera in the coop with sound, so I can watch them or hear if there are any problems. Last year, when we started with chicks, they were kept in the house. The dust the chicks created was terrible and I said that will never happen again.
  6. akb77

    akb77 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 15, 2012
    West-Central Ohio
    I know I risk being bashed for this but... I took the heat lamp away from my chicks at 3 weeks old . [​IMG] The nights were in the mid 50's, so I just shut the windows about 2 hours before sunset to trap some of the heat in. They were fine and have actually feathered out faster than my first batch that I left the heat lamp on for 6/7 weeks. As stated above, these little guys are a lot tougher than we imagine. I just made sure to thicken up the shavings so they could snuggle down.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My brooder is in the coop. The chicks are in there with the adults but protected from them from Day 1. I have kept the heat on for 5 weeks, day and night, in really cold weather. Last summer during out heat wave, I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days. I watch the chicks and let them tell me what they need.

    To me it sounds like you have the perfect situation to get them out of your house. Heat one area (careful to not start a fire) and let the rest cool off as it will. You don’t even have to worry about how warm that area is as long as it is warm enough and they have plenty of room to get to a cooler area. You’ll find that they are soon all over that coop, just going back to the heat when they need to warm up.

    I don’t know how old yours are right now. If they are totally just hatched you might need to put up a barrier to keep them relatively close to the heat for a few days, but my brooder is 3’ x 6’ and I don’t put any barriers in there to keep them close to the heat. My food and water is pretty close to the heated area. I take them from the incubator, dip their beaks in the water, and set them down under the heat.

    Good luck!
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    No bashing! You did good!!

    I always take it away from them at 4 weeks in the basement, which is roughly the same temps. 50-60 depending on the day. They did just fine.

    I hardened the babies off by opening the windows in the basement in February. Had 5 week old chicks in there with roughly 35-40 degrees. They feathered out quicker this way, and I believe will do better in the long run.

    To the Original Poster:

    Please read my fire safety thread, and make sure what you do with your heat lamps outside is done properly. Please don't use extension cords.. Fire marshall told me that is an accident waiting to happen.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  9. what did I do

    what did I do Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    There is a fire danger anytime you use a heat lamp. If the coop warms up during the day you might be ok without a heat source. I've put mine out in the coop on day one without a problem with a heat source.

    This spring was very cold and my coops are full of adult chickens so at 3 weeks I put my chick out in an unheated garage with a dog heating pad, light and my ecoglow brooder. The light and pad kept the temperature inside the brooder at @ 50° so the chicks spent most of their time under the ecoglow brooder. Even though I had shavings in the brooder the feet must have gotten cold because 3 ended up with twisted toes. We did have very cold weather, 8th coldest on record, with lots of snow. I did not loose any chicks and they will do just fine with the crooked toes.

    I'm telling you this to let you know that chicks are hardy once they get feathers.

    I had chicks last year that slept in a coffee can to stay warm. Just think about what other ways they can stay warm by using their own body heat if they get cold.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  10. ButchGood

    ButchGood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2012
    Central Texas





    These are my chicks when I put them out last weekend at 3 weeks old. I put the lamp on the first 2 nights, more for light than heat. They do fine at 3 weeks outside. I usually put them out at that age. They are in the new turkey pen. The chicks will get introduced to the flock in about 2 weeks and the Poults will stay put. They will all start free ranging at about 8 weeks old. Just watch for predators at this age. I lost one poult to a snake 2 nights ago.

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