Question/musings regarding chicks & heat?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KsTornado11, May 10, 2009.

  1. KsTornado11

    KsTornado11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    I see many people saying chicks need 90-95 degree temps for the first week(s) often. Then why is it they can survive for 2 sometimes 3 days in a shipping box,w/ NO heat,sometimes in the winter? [​IMG]
    Another thread got me to wondering about this. I used to follow this,but found my chicks will grow & feather out faster if NOT kept in such high temps all the time.
    Any thoughts?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I agree. I know what is given as the standard, but it is just not my experience. I think they are more active, eat better and grow/feather faster if kept a little cooler. Around here, people have for many years put new chicks in a coop with a 100 watt bulb from day of arrival. If they piled too badly, the bulb would be lowered. They may have lost more, or not, but the survivors were healthier, I feel.

    I brooded two batches in my house but did not keep it much over 80 in the brooder after a week or so, and I got them into the coop pretty early. But I will not brood in the house again. I will find a middle ground between dumping them in a cold coop with one light bulb, and filling my house for weeks with dust that I should not be breathing.

    But I wouldn't use the conditions they endure during shipping as a standard, either. Yes, most survive, but it seems to me it is barely so. They often show signs of stress and require some extra attention to keep them alive and get them started. Chicks hatched under a broody will eat and drink early. They will also go outdoors on a 50 degree day at 3 days, though they run under Mama every little while to warm up. (personal experience there.)

    If the chicks pile, they are too cold. If they cuddle and huddle in one layer, they are just being chicks. It is said they will move away from the heat if it is too hot, but often brooders are really not large enough to allow for much temp difference. And I'm not sure they can be depended on to do this, anyway. If they get a little too warm, they get quite lethargic, and I don't want to trust them to move away, even if they can.

    Even at 80 on day 7, many of my chicks moved to an area of the brooder that was separate from the area heated with the heat lamp. I had an L shaped cardboard box setup, the long side the size of a refrigerator, with the heat at the top of the L, for 50 chicks. About half would sleep on the other end of the L, away from the heat.

    Long speech; sorry. I really do think we tend to bake them, though.
  3. KsTornado11

    KsTornado11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Thanks for your opinion ddawn, that is pretty much my experiance,exactly!
  4. rhondapiper

    rhondapiper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I started with chicks just last week and was a neurotic mess about the temps for the first few days, checking with a thermometer and moving the lamp up and down a few inches to hit 90 degress.

    Then I decided I was driving myself and the chicks crazy, and ditched the thermometer. I drop the lamp a few inches at night because it is colder in the garage, and raise it before I go to work. I tried checking the temp this morning, but the chicks all frantically attacked the thermometer so I gave up, took it out, and watched them for a few minutes to see if they seemed hot or cold.

    As long as they aren't huddled under the light or all fanned out at the edges, I figure the temp is fine. Mine are active and growing like weeds, so I'm ok with my new 'look and see if they are hot or cold' method. I'm using a 2X3 foot brooder for 7 chicks, so they have plenty of room to get away from the light if it's too hot. If I notice everyone is on the unlit-side, I raise the lamp a bit.
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  5. jeannieo

    jeannieo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 25, 2008
    Collinsville, CT
    whew! am I glad to have found this thread! I just picked up 12 BO's and Araucanas a week old [​IMG]. I have them in a 16 gallon wash tub with pine shavings, water (should I raise the waterer a bit?) and chick starter. I have chicken wire across half of the top and a board across the other half. I have a 125 watt heat lamp about 18 inches from them. I'm doing the thermometer thing too! [​IMG] When I picked them up they were running around, peeping and being adorable but here they are all sleeping cuddled together. I realize they are babies and probably do sleep a lot and perhaps the trip here was stressful. I guess I am just looking for reassurance, these are my first babies. I had a full grown flock of eight given to me last Sept. so don't really know much about birthin' no babies, Miss Scarlett! Oh sorry, went into a time warp. [​IMG] Does it sound like all is well? They are in the coop with the full grown ones but separated of course. I'm nervous! [​IMG]

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