Questions about raising chicks in the warmer climates - please help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kelly G, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Hi, everyone! I just placed my order for (eight) day old chicks from - I'm SO excited! They are due to ship in late August. I have read everything I could get my hands on - and I still have more questions!

    I have a 2' x 4' wood frame/hardware cloth "cage" to start them out in. This cage will be located inside a 12' x 14' shed with two windows in it for light (plus an overhead flourescent light). I have a 75watt red (infrared) heat lamp ready to hang over the cage for warmth, and a small fan (if needed) for the other end. I have a second (identical) cage ready to go if all the chicks in one cage are too many as they grow.

    Our days in Florida are typically like this from now through September:
    Mid 70s overnight
    climbing to the 80s by 9am
    climbing to the mid 90s by 11am until 6pm
    thunderstorms most every afternoon between 2-5pm that cool the air to low 80s while it rains.
    Oh, and ALWAYS with the F_)GU_#NG HUMIDITY!

    My first question is - will my babies roast during the day with the heatlamp on? Our days are SO hot and humid, but when it rains it (temporarily) cools things off to a temperature that is too cool for such little ones. And, usually, during the thunderstorms I am 17 miles away at work and cannot come home to turn on/off the heat lamp. Do I leave the lamp on all day and night?

    How high above the cage do you think it should hang - based on your experience.

    Should I leave the small fan running down at the other end (turning it off at night, of course)?

    I understand that the chicks should be kept at 90* or so for the first week, and then lowering the temperature by 5* each week, until they are four which time they should be weaned off the lamp completely. Has this been your experience in our warmer states?

    If you think of any other warm-weather related tips you have, I'd love to hear them, and appreciate all of your help!
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  2. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    Congrats!!! I wouldn't use the heat lamp during the majority of the day; only when the temps drop down below 87 or so. They say the chicks are supposed to be kept at 95 but I've found that this time of year they don't need it quite so warm. 90-95 for the first week would be fine. They'll let you know if they are chilly - they'll huddle together. If they are running around, then they are fine.

    Use it at night and be sure to aim it so it sits on half the cage so if they are too warm they can escape to the other side. Get it set up now with a thermometer under the heat lamp area so you can get an idea of how hot/cool it is before you put them in there and adjust accordingly.

    They are alot hardier than we give them credit for. Good luck with your new babies!!
  3. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I think you got some good advice there. [​IMG] I love Fjords! They're so cute.
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Coming from a warm climate, I put my heat lamp on a timer. It would turn on at 8PM and go off at 10AM (temps were cooler back in May when they were babies) I had a spot where they could go if it got to hot and many times I would go in and they would all be under the lamp on cool days. I also have a fan in the top of the coop w/ a timer on it. At present it runs 24/7 but back in May I would have it turn on when the Lamp went off and visa versa..
  5. JerryO

    JerryO In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2008
    Ocala, Florida
    Tampa isn't that far away from me so I'll offer what I've done. Turn off the heat lamp during the day as it will get way too hot for the little ones. I learned a terrible lesson, losing 15 babies to the heat, because they couldn't handle it. The family here at BYC gave me some good advice though, after they were about 2 weeks old, I put frozen water bottles in the coop with a fan blowing on it to give some air conditioning. Being in Tampa you may get some wind off the bay, but here in Ocala it gets hot, until the daily rain storm, and then we have steam for awhile! Anyway the babies sit on the frozen bottles and love the cool from them. I hope you have a great fun with your new feathered family. [​IMG]
  6. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Thank you, thank you , THANK YOU for this great information! I was thinking of using a timer on my heat lamp, so I'm glad to hear you guys have used them, too.

    I'm concerned, though, when it rains, it can get down into the low to mid eighties...and our storms are usually during the afternoon while I'm at work and wouldn't be available to turn the lamp on. It usually only cools off for the hour or so that it rains - will they get too cool in that short amount of time? Should I be worried about those couple of hours? They'll be in a shed, and it won't cool off as quick as the air outside...but...they don't call me "Kelly-Dwell-y" for nothing!

    JerryO - Frozen water bottles are a GREAT idea! I will definitely be providing those with a fan on one corner. Thanks a ton for that! And cooking the babies is precisely the thing I'm worried about most - especially since I will not be there during the 9-5 hours while I'm working.

    PS I added one White Crested Black Polish hen to my order - just for some flair!
  7. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    No, don't be concerned about the temps dropping for such a short time. Last month I hatched out 29 chicks. I kept them in brooders in my basement and had the lamps and thermometers set "just right" at 95. They huddled together periodically and then after a few days, seemed to shy away from the area the lamp was concentrated in (I had the thermometer directly under the lamp). The area they preferred stayed more at 80-85 so after the first week I only used the heat lamp at night. Some even seemed too warm still and panted every now and then.

    So I would be more concerned about overheating them than underheating. If they are chilly, then they'll huddle together and be fine for an hour or two, especially if they are protected in the shed. The timer is a great idea.

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