questions on heat lamp and introducing chicks to older chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cboriskin, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2011
    I am new to chickens and got my first two about a month ago and another 2 about 2 weeks ago. The first two were moved out to the coop when the second two arrived so I can use the cage for the babies. The two that are out in the coop are doing well. I gave them the heating lamp 24/7 and then started turning it off during the day. The weather has changed and I put the heating lamp on 24/7 again. Is this necessary? It's cold to me, but maybe not for chicks. They are 5 weeks old. The coop is 4X4, insulated walls and ceiling with R15, but have two windows, a door and a nesting box attached from the outside that is not insulated.

    When should I turn the heat off and what is the best way to wean them off of it?

    The babies are about two weeks old. When can I introduce them to the older ones?
     
  2. geepy

    geepy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    central FL
    Where are you located? If they are staying around the lamp then they still need the heat.
     
  3. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am in Sacramento, CA. Early mornings are about high 30's and mid days are high 50's - low 60's. When I checked on them this afternoon, they were roosting about 6 inches right of the light source. So they weren't directly under it, but closer rather then further away from the heat source.
     
  4. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I would probably leave the heat off for the older ones so nature can have a chance to grow their feathers properly for the changes in temps.

    I would put the new babies outside when they're 5-6 weeks old.


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  5. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2011
    Thanks. So, cold turkey with the heat lamp? No weaning time? I guess I forget they are birds...LOL!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    St. Louis, MO
    Same temps here. I'm mixing 2 groups today. Older group of 8 and 6 week olds and younger group of 3 weeks.
    One of the younger birds flew over the divider and has spent the last 2 days with the older birds where there's no heat and she's doing fine.
    I'll probably put heat in there at night another 2 or 3 nights if it drops below 40 but they should be ok.

    The earlier they go together the better they'll integrate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I'd be careful with both your questions. My 5-1/2 week olds just spent one night in the grow-out coop when it got in the mid-20's Fahrenheit overnight with no heat. This was after a few nights out there where it got down to the lower 40's. So it is possible. But my grow-out coop is well shielded from wind and breezes and has extremely good ventilation. My ventilation is well above where they spend the night. They also grew up from Day 1 in a large brooder in the coop that had one area heated but the rest cooled down to ambient temperature, so they were acclimated. I also had 14 out there, so they could keep each other warm of they wanted to.

    If your coop is well ventilated so the moist air can escape and they are not being hit directly with any breezes, they should be getting real close to being OK, even with only two of them, especially if they have some bedding to snuggle down in. I think turning the heat off during the day for about a week is a great idea to get them acclimated. If your coop is closed up tight where the moisture cannot escape, they are more at risk. If a breeze can hit them, they are even more at risk. We don't all have the same circumstances, but if the conditions are right, 5 week olds can do fine without heat. But if they are not acclimated or the coop is not right, they are in danger. I'd also be more concerned with bitter cold temperatures too. I'll admit to being a bit concerned with those mid-20's they just saw, but they did fine.

    The two week olds are not ready to go without heat. If you put them out there, you need to keep the heat on for another three weeks or so.

    Many people are successful integrating 5 week olds with 2 week olds. Your success depends on the personalities of the older chicks. Some chicks are aggressive brutes and will attack and kill smaller weaker chicks, but this can happen when they are grown as well. If you do decide to put the younger chicks in the coop (which I think is a great idea) I suggest you partition off an area for them that you can heat and feed and water them for about a week, where the older chicks cannot get to them. Some sort of brooder in the coop. After about a week when they have gotten to know each other, try removing the barrier when you can observe a lot, just to see how it goes. A little pecking and such is not a big deal, that's just the pecking order getting sorted. But if one goes after the young ones with malice, you need to rethink and regroup.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Ridgerunner has all good advice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

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