Question about climate

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by primalchick, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. primalchick

    primalchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    5
    93
    Mar 1, 2012
    Alberta, Canada
    March is still pretty winter-y here in Alberta (Canada, we are the province above Montana). My first baby chicks will arrive on Wednesday (10 Red Stars). I am keeping them in my porch in their brooder box for the first 4-5 weeks like recommended. However I read that you can let them outside if it's warm for short periods, it stated "warm" as being 65 F or warmer (which is like late May and June weather for us!). In late mid-late March we will probably get temperatures up in the 40's and 50's probably in April. Is it ok to let them outside for short amounts of time as 2 or 3 week olds in those temperatures? Here that feels really warm, especially when the sun is beating down and I know other animals here are acclimated to it. But maybe they'll be too young? I don't want to try it and end up losing any chicks!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    456
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've seen week old chicks out in 40 degree windy weather with a mama hen -- they just run under her to get warm when they need to. Really I think you'll be able to tell what they will tolerate by their behavior. I'd be sure the brooder was big enough that they can get far away from the warmth. Many people on here move chicks to the coop at 3 or 4 weeks routinely.
     
  3. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    5
    121
    Oct 7, 2008
    I get mine early March too. I live in Montana at about 4000 feet and I don't let mine outside AT ALL until they start feathering out pretty good- maybe around 5 weeks (I think this is known as the "dinosaur phase"). I get small numbers and keep mine in the house though. I let them run around the house a little each day until mid April. Then I let them outside when I'm home in the afternoons. They don't sleep in the coop until they are almost totally feathered and have some sass (8 weeks?). Nights are below freezing here until almost June and some days don't warm up. I'm probably over protective but it really doesn't take much for them to get sick and I would be totally bummed to loose a chick to an aggressive hen. When you put a really young chick outside in the cold they are kind of pathetic anyways. Is your porch warmer than outside? If so you might let them out there for a little each day. Just be sure to put them back when they seem pooped out and aren't moving around so much.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. primalchick

    primalchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    5
    93
    Mar 1, 2012
    Alberta, Canada
    Thank you! I will wait until it's in the 40's F to give it a try and see how they react. I know it's in the 20's F now so that will be too cold for them. I'm not sure of the exact dimensions of my brooder but I have a big box in a dog kennel I am using (big dog sized, the box takes up most of it...it's in the kennel basically to protect them from my dog if she goes into the porch). So I am thinking that will be plenty big enough for 10 chicks? I am going into town tomorrow to get a lamp for them and figure out a set up for it.
     
  5. primalchick

    primalchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    5
    93
    Mar 1, 2012
    Alberta, Canada

    Your climate sounds similar to ours :) I only have 10 chicks and our porch is big so I think they'd be ok to let run around in there once they are bigger. Our porch is heated so yes it's definitely warmer than outside. Thanks so much for the advice!
     
  6. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    5
    121
    Oct 7, 2008
    Quote: The kennel should be big enough for 10 for a while, but when they start getting their wings it may become a bit chaotic. You'll known when they need more room [​IMG] Letting them out for exercise each day makes a huge difference, but then expect them to try to get out all the time.
    I'm sure you know all this but I feel obligated to make sure. If you are using an enclosed container be VERY careful with the heat lamp. Get a cheap thermometer when you go to the store and test your set up for a few hours so you know how to manage the heat before your chicks come. Make sure you get a lamp with a ceramic socket and two red heat lights (so you have a spare handy- don't learn this the hard way!) Don't rely on the lamp clamp alone- hook up a chain or rig the power cord so it will keep the light from falling if the clamp fails. Don't forget chick starter feed (medicated or not- you decide), a waterer (chicks will drown in a 1/2 inch of water so don't use a bowl) and a feeder big enough for 10 hungry chicks. I like pine shavings for bedding but you decide what works for you. DON'T use newspaper or other slick things for their floor. Good luck!!
     
  7. primalchick

    primalchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    5
    93
    Mar 1, 2012
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks so much MontanaMomma for the great advice :) The dog kennel is a wire cage kind so not totally enclosed which is good! I am going to play around tomorrow with the set up and will definitely be hooking a chain up to it. I'm going into town Sunday and will be buying chick starter (I think I'm going to go with medicated), a feeder and a waterer for them. I already have pine shavings that I use for my horse trailer, so I'm going to use that for their bedding too. It sounds like it's a popular choice anyways! My dad owns a saw mill so I am lucky I can load up on free shavings for my horses and chicks LOL

    Once they arrive I will get some pics of my set up for you guys! We have a wood stove in our porch that we like to run as well, and it gets pretty hot in there (it will heat our whole house!)...up to around 32-34 C. So I am thinking I should turn off the heat lamp in the evenings when we are running the stove?
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    6,033
    830
    336
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    We use a wire cage dog kennel after two weeks too, a plastic tote first few weeks. You'll find you have to put cardboard or screen around the bottom. They are little fluff balls and will surprise you how small an opening they can squeeze out of. At 4 to 5 weeks they'll be plenty feathered out to go outside in coop. Starting brooder temp at 95F (35C) and lowering 5 to 7 degrees (3C) a week until 70F (21C) and they don't need supplemental heat anymore.
     
  9. primalchick

    primalchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    5
    93
    Mar 1, 2012
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks so much! I have a giant cardboard box I am putting in the big kennel for the first few weeks for them, and then will probably just cut it up to line the bottom of the kennel with after that. Thanks so much for the temp advice. I will be sure to get a thermometer while I am at the feed store too, I am pretty sure they have them. This is my first venture into chickens, though my hubby grew up with laying hens so he knows a little bit but he works away from home so it's going to be all on me until April when he gets home. So I want to do it right and make sure they live and are healthy and happy.
     
  10. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    5
    121
    Oct 7, 2008
    The other day got up to 65 degrees here! Most days are in the 30s, so yaye! You bet your bottom I let my chicks out. They are 3 1/2 weeks old now. They were pretty wimpy and they didn't like the wind,but they need to toughen up. I'm hoping the weather man was right and we'll have more of that weather this week. I want to start introducing them to the flock. I'm going to try and put them in the coop at 5 weeks this year and see how it goes. Fingers crossed...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by