Raising some babies in winter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chicky boom boom 27, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Chicky boom boom 27

    Chicky boom boom 27 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 6, 2011
    I recently had a lengthy discussion with a leader of our 4-H chicken department. She suggested getting my daughter's chicks in January or February so they will be ready for showing in late July. She stated that many of the 4-H families begin this process by starting the chicks in the basement of their home. I forgot to ask her, how much room with the chicks need as they get bigger while it warms up outside so I can get them out of my basement? I'm looking at getting approximately 25 of them. Do you have a sq footage requirement at 2 wks, 5 wks, 10 wks, etc? The chicks will probably be about 15-20 weeks old before it's warm enough outside to move them.

    Thank you!

  2. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Wow just jumping in to 25 girls in the basement. How about a refrigerator box on its side with at least 3 250 watt heat lamps multiple feeders and water containers. You will need some thermometers, medicated chick food a bag of compressed wood chips. At 6 to 7 weeks you are going to have your hands full!! An understatement!! 25 active chickens in a basement, WOW!! In the 6 weeks time you will need a plan on moving them to a secure regular and more permanent housing. Do you have a coop now? Where do you live that you cant build a brooder outside in a coop and put heat out there? What are your current temps now? Have you ever tried this before? It is fun you are going to love getting into chickens.

    Well welcome to the BYC [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    You might be surprised. I don't know where you're located but where I am, we get some pretty cold temps. (i.e. we had a day last year that was -9, and we've been known to go a week at a time with temps in the single digits.) I've never kept chicks indoors longer than 4 weeks. I hatched a batch in January 29th and they were outside full time by the end of February. I start giving them time outdoors when they are about 3 weeks old, on any day that is sunny, for a few hours in the warmest part of the day and increase the time from there. The same time I start them outdoors, I reduce their dependence on heat lamps indoors and turn them off altogether at night. They are much hardier than you might think. After they've spent time outdoors for increasing periods during the day, I wait for a milder than usual night and let them stay in the coop overnight. From that point they never look back.
  4. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    You'll be able to put them outside much earlier than 15-20 weeks. Once they are fully feathered they will be fine so long as they have a roost where they can fluff their feathers down over their feet in a draft-free area. I think I've seen somewhere that up until 2 weeks, .5 sq ft per bird is okay. That's a 6 in by 6 in space. If you have an old water trough that will do the trick for a few weeks.
  5. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    You may want to consider a plan to move them outside sooner then 15-20 weeks. Five of my latest hatched chicks are lavender opringtons and they were about 3" tall after hatching and now are almost two weeks old and they are around 6" tall. I can't measure them precisely because they don't stand still! [​IMG] They flutter constantly (unless they are asleep and then they look dead) and chirp loudly and will get even louder as they get older. They will double that height by 4 weeks and I will move them outside to the coop. I have a separate area in my coop that is an outside brooder. It's protected from predators and from the bigger chicks by hardware cloth. I'll put a heat lamp on them for another couple of weeks and then they'll be ready to be in the main coop with the big chicks. I don't think I could stand to wait for my chickens to get to 15 weeks before putting them outside - they'd drive me crazy with the squaking, pecking and scratching. My outside chicks are in the run most of the day and go into the coop to stay warm, dry and at night.

    This is the size of my soon to be 15 week old chick - it's a white leghorn, still not a full size standard chicken. For reference, the door opening is 15" tall and 11" wide.

    This is the size of my 11 week old chick - it's an Ancona and they are not as big as most chickens.
  6. I-Have-Happy-Hens

    I-Have-Happy-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2010
    Carrboro, NC
    I am planning on doing it, I should have some paint silkie babies hatching Thanksgiving week and have them go out in the coop w/Heat lamp Christmas week at 4-5 weeks of age. There would be about 6-12 of them and a year old lavender silkie roo all in one pen. The rooster loves takin care of the baby chickies. [​IMG]

    Hope this helps a little,


    Oh and Welcome to BYC [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  7. workinnanie

    workinnanie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2009
    What are paint silkies? pictures?
  8. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011

    I live in Boston where the temps are hitting 0 this week. On Monday, I will be receiving 30 chicks from McMurray and I plan on keeping them in a heated bathroom attached to my garage for a few weeks. I have an unheated coop with 8 chickens in it now. I "could" heat the coop if I had to, but I would rather not.

    The question of the day is: When should I start introducing them to the cold weather, and when will they be old enough to stay outside permanently?

    Thanks in advance!
    jtodek likes this.
  9. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I'm in WI, our winter has been brutal this year. Tomorrow's high is still below 0. I'm getting my third group of chicks Feb. 21. I have always raised them in an old water tank brooder in my unheated garage. I will do the same this time. As long as the brooder has sides, and there are NO drafts, they are fine. I sometimes have to switch over to a 250w bulb to keep the temp consistent, it all depends on the outside temp. My chicks have done well, and I've only ever lost one so far (knock on wood), and that was right after arrival so I attributed it to the shipping. I myself do not put them out until around May. I want temps a little warmer, and they have to be in full feather before I do so. So May is around a good time for me. Since I am getting many more this time than I'm used to, I may put them in the coop earlier....with or without a lamp, we will see.

  10. cnicho05

    cnicho05 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2014
    Owosso, MI

    I'm in the same boat when it comes to this question. I purchased my chicks early this year so they can be fully grown before the start of next winter. I've now had my birds for 3-4 weeks, inside my house, and am planning on moving them to my garage soon. The only problem stopping me is the extreme weather we have had in Michigan this winter. Most nights the temperature drops way into the negatives and stays that way throughout the day. This makes we very worried about making the move...so I still have some considering.

    When is it okay to introduce young chicks to cold weather (e.g., 10-30*F) in a garage setting?
    jtodek likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by