temp. change for cornish X

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jessicayarno, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 6, 2011
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    I read to decrease the temp by 1 degree a day to 70 degrees and then take them off of the heat lamp and give them a light, is this true?? After that can they survive in a coop outside with just a light?? I just don't want them to get too cold, it gets down into the 40's here lately..
    Thanks,
    Jessica
     
  2. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi.

    A degree a day, yes, on average. The variation in ambient temps isn't going to allow you to regulate it that closely. Better to figure 5-8 degrees per week, using more occasional (not daily, unless indicated) adjustments.

    That will serve as a guideline. Their behavior will be a better indicator than your thermometer. If they stay all huddled up together under the heat, that would be your clue to increase your temp marginally until they spread out some. If they all move off into the extreme corners, it will be to get away from the heat source which is providing too much, in which case you want to decrease the heat a little. Ideally, they'll distribute themselves evenly under the heat. As they start to rest in sort of a ring at the fringes of the heat, then it's time to raise the lamp (if that's what you're using) a little. The balance is when they'll use as much of the brooder as possible, including directly under the heat source, without bunching up there.

    Overall, your aim is to have them comfortable at 70* by three or four weeks, at which point you can wean them pretty quickly off of any need for supplemental heat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  3. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Cornish are outside in their brooder (2 x 5 feet) for the first two weeks. It's big enough so that they can be under the heat lamp, rest on the fringes and get a little heat, or completely avoid the heat all together. I don't have the option of moving the light up, as it only clips at one height in the brooder. I do not have a thermometer in with them, and as ScottHOMEy said, the best thing to do is rely on your birds behvior.

    When I used to brood them in a rubbermaid container, I would raise the light not according to actual temp, but if the birds were all pressed against one side trying to get away from the lamp (in a tote, there's not too far they can go [​IMG] ) I would raise it. If I saw them all huddled under the lamp, fluff and feathers puffed out, I'd lower it a little until everybody seemed comfortable.

    At 2 weeks old, my meat birds are moved into their tractor (2 batches it was low 20's and 30's at night), again, with the heat lamp until they are 3 weeks old. Then the heat lamp, if necessary (and below 50 degrees, I feel its necessary), is only on at night until they're completely feathered out. By 4 weeks, no one is ever under that lamp in my tractor when I go out in the morning, so I usually take it out then.


    I really think the simplest and most important thing is to make sure they have heat, via the lamp, but that they always have enough room to move away from it until they are at a comfortable body temp. You really can tell what your chickens need, heat wise, by paying attention to their behavior more so then worrying about an exact temperature descrease etc.

    A little off subject but...I also provide my young birds, with "hidey-holes" We use the dark green square plastic containers that you purchase vegetables (to plant) in from greenhouses...its such a simple word but OMG I can't remember what they're called suddenly. My braincells did not absorb my morning coffee properly apparently...

    ...anyway, I put the containers in the brooder from the day they hatch (my layers) or from the day I pick up my meat birds and the LOVE them. They love, from day one, to crawl inside and hang out in there, and it's also a little reprieve from the heat if they want it. They continue to use them until they are bodily too big too fit inside (i've thrown some larger ones in the tractor and found them in there too [​IMG] )

    Jessa
     
  4. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you sooo much for the info.. I haven't put a thermometer in with them and they seem fine all spread out some eating and drinking away from the heat and some sleeping.. none all huddled or spread away from the heat... so i have a brooder outside that has an enclosed area on top and caged on the bottom, which we plan on enclosing. When would it be safe to put them on the bottom without any heat??
    Thanks
    Okay so i reread your post, so at 4 wks, they should be fine with no heat lamp right??? I raised the red crosses, but they are alot hardier than the white x's and i don't want to kill any of them before their time...
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  5. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well, it's kind of up to you. I know some people, in warmer climates than I, that leave the heat lamps on longer than 4 weeks. I live in NH, and I have rarely even used it the full four weeks. In the summer, it was off at 3 weeks, even at night. It's not to be cruel, hell I spoil ALL my chickens, but they just honestly haven't needed it. If you are in a colder climate, then they might need the heat lamp longer..fall and winter...they'll need it longer than in the spring and summer... Lots of variables there!

    I am not sure I understand what you mean by put them on the bottom without any heat. Explain please [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Jessa
     
  6. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:On that light issue Jessa . .

    It sounds like you have it well in hand, so I don't know if this suggestion will be of help or open up other options for you or not. Im prepared to learn it might be totally irrelevant.

    I'm old enough to remember a time when the clamps on reflector lamp shells actually had enough tension to reliably hold them in place. They used to be a staple for lighting photographs. The newer ones, well . . . I don't trust the clamps.

    Whether porcelain (better if used for heat lamps) or some sort of plastic, the actual bulb fixture will often come with (or have detents molded into it for you to fashion your own) a stiff wire loop to hang them from, rather than using the clamp. Using such a loop, I rig my heat lamp by a twine loop from a cross-piece above. Makes it easy to raise or lower the lamp, securing it at the proper height with a simple knot.

    Just an option . . .

    Yours in chickenly bliss,
    Scotty
     
  7. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

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    I think you are making this harder than it needs to be.

    You provide a heat source and you provide sufficient space. The gradients in temperature are regulated by each individual chick as it finds a comfortable zone between directly under the heat and as far away as possible. As they get older and more feathered you will see them spending more time away from the heat. THEN start raising the heat. Come out in the cool evening and you will likely find them sleeping under it. At this point turn it off during the warm part of the day starting in the AM. If the night gets cold, turn it back on. On moderate nights leave it off. Once they are fully feathered they should be able to keep themselves warm and, remember, they get heat from each other also. If it gets REALLY cold maybe turn on the lamp but leave it up high just to keep the temp a little more moderate. The thing is you want feed converted into meat....not heat.

    Don't make yourself crazy.
     
  8. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Amen.

    Only clarification I'd offer . . . "THEN start raising the heat. " To be clear, that means to raise the heat source to reduce the ambient temp below it, if the height is your means of regulating it. "... raising the heat" should not be read as raising the temperature.
     
  9. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My biggest concern was taking away the heat too soon, i do live in a cold climate and i plan on putting them in the top of my two story brooder that is outside.. i was just curious when it was safe to take away the heat completely when it gets down into the 40's at night.. I am not making it harder than it needs to be, I am just being cautious, i don't want to lose chicks and last i checked this site is here for people to ask questions.
     
  10. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    " . . . last i checked this site is here for people to ask questions . . ."

    Absolutely. I have my experience with chickens and have (sometimes too much, I fear, to offer for) advice, but I still learn from folks here, and I hope there was nothing scolding in the tone of my response.

    The flags/tags on your post don't indicate where you are situated so, as you have refined the question . . .

    A reduction of 20* from the initial 90-95 to about 70* in the brooder by four weeks of age is the general measure to avoid health problems related to your chicks' ability to regulate their own temperatures. The heat we supply is only taking the place of what they'd experience nestling under the wings of a broody hen, who (Say it isn't so, Ethel!) is much better at the project than any of us who may walk on two legs but are not possessed of feathers. From there, things depend on the season and locale.

    Here in Maine, we've had our first frosts of the season the last two nights. This late spring's batch of layers is coming up on 16 weeks, are fully feathered and have been out in the coop for 11 weeks. They don't worry me. If I were transitioning 4-5 week-old chickens to the coop at this time of year, I'd be offering some heat during the dark hours (our days shorten up quick this time of year) for another week or two, keeping an eye to make sure they are huddling(wihout piling on) on the floor or roosting together for warmth. If I happened to live on the Gulf Coast (or even two months ago here in Maine), I'd probably have decreased the heat from the lamp more precipitously and moved them to the coop without any heat source as soon as they were feathered over.

    Mind their behavior under the heat you're providing and thier condition re feathering, and wean them off that heat to the indoor/outdoor temps. They/you'll do fine!
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011

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