Question about transitioning chicks outside and heat

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LadyMaryChicken, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. LadyMaryChicken

    LadyMaryChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2013
    I currently have four 7-week old chicks that have been living in their outdoor coop for about a week. Right now, daytime temps are in the low 50s and nighttime temps are around 20 degrees F. I turn on a heat lamp at night, with plans to eventually transition them to no heat at all.

    However, I'm leaving town for about a week on Thanksgiving. Someone will be coming every few days to feed and check in on them, but I'm worried that if I leave the heat lamp on, and somehow the bulb goes out, that the babies will be shocked by the cold. Two are bantams, so I worry about how tiny they are. By Thanksgiving, they will all be about 9 weeks.

    My question is: What would you do? Should I turn off the heat now so that they are used to life with no heat by Thanksgiving? Or would it be better to just keep the heat on, since they are young, and hope that if the heat should go out, it'll still be okay?

    I'd appreciate any advice about this!
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Current picture of birds needed but in all likelihood they will be able to withstand cold now. I would have birds checked daily especially if coop design is questionable with respect to being varmint resistant. They will be less tolerant than adults if shorted on food so that should be a priority. Additionally, food setting out all the time for extended periods is going to attract rodents or bad guys that will try to break into your coop.
     
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  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You can transition them by lowering the wattage of the bulb. 60watt, regular old fashion bulb, down to a 40watt bulb two nights later.

    If your birds lost the 40watt bulb supplement, due to a power outage, they'd barely miss it at all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
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  4. Katt66

    Katt66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By 7 wks the chicks should be feathered in enough to be outside right now without any additional heat. Like Fred's Hens said, lower the wattage of the bulb a couple of days at a time. As long as your coop is draft free they should be fine. If you start getting them used to no heat now you'll have time to ease them in gradually before you go away in a couple of weeks.
     
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  5. silkies mama

    silkies mama Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a suggestion. How about getting a timer? I have one in mine that turns the lights on earlier. But you could do the same thing and have the heat lamp turn on at a set time and go off when you want it.
     
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  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Wean them from heat by the time you leave. I know folks think bantams are more fragile cause they're smaller, but I've got teeny tiny little finches living just fine all over the place, and they're much smaller than bantam chickens. Even saw a hummingbird today--if that fellow can survive, a chicken surely can.
     
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  7. LadyMaryChicken

    LadyMaryChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2013
    Thank you all for the tips!!

    It really helps to have that peace of mind that they are hardy enough in those temperatures. I am going to start weaning them now and am going to check for any weaknesses in the coop. I think it's pretty secure but I've heard so many horror stories lately about people coming home from vacations to decimated flocks. Seems like dogs and other predators really know when you're not home!
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    When we leave town, we have either a neighbor or friend or one of my students house sit. We have a lot birds and other pets including dogs. My birds are always checked at least twice daily, especially when environmental conditions may be stressful.
     
  9. LadyMaryChicken

    LadyMaryChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2013
    Thanks for all the suggestions! I started turning on the heat later and later at night, until finally they had no heat at all.

    Everyone was just fine. The babies withstood temps of 15 degrees without any problems and have since withstood even 10 degrees. They really are hardly little guys, and I'm very impressed.
     

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