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Temperature outdoors, and moving chicks to outside coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Victoria-nola, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Southwest Mississippi
    I need advice about moving the chicks to the outside coop. I have 2 groups of chicks. One is now 10 weeks, the other is 4 weeks. The outdoor coop is finally ready for the 10 week olds. I am in New Orleans where the weather is subtropical and fairly mild. But now the weather is predicted to be down to 37 F at night in the next few days. Here are the expected lows in the next few days: 56 (tonight), 42, 39, 42, 37 F, and then getting back up into the upper 40s and low 50s. Daytime temps are 70s today, then 55 to 62 over the next few days.

    The lowest temp they have experienced so far is probably 50 F. They have been out on an unheated porch for 4 weeks in a nice big cage they are comfortable in still.

    I am worried that these lower temps will be too shocking for them. But I also have a time pressure with the younger set. They absolutely need to move into the bigger cage that the older ones are currently in. I do have another large cage I could set up if it is thought that it's just too sudden to move the older set into the outdoors. I was hoping to simply move the youngers into the cage that is already set up. But now I'm confused and worried about the weather.

    I have a 40W red light bulb that I am planning to move outside with the chicks in the new coop. I could go ahead and purchase another infrared heating unit to put into the coop to make sure they have supplemental heat, if it's thought that would be best. I don't know at what point supplemental heat is recommended if at all with my coop design.

    Per Robert Plamondon, the coop has one wall that is all hardware cloth (on studs). I have a 6-mil plastic sheet that I can raise and lower according to their needs.

    Please I need advice quickly.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    First, your older 10 week old birds are fine. They are teenagers and have lots of body heat and cannot smother each other, but will cuddle up and be just fine. 40F is nothing to a chicken.

    The 4 week old chicks do need a little supplement heat spot. The entire pen doesn't need to be heated, just hang the heat lamp and that will give the a "hot spot" that they can move into and move out of as needed. They too will be just fine.

    Once the younger ones are 6 weeks old, transition them to a 40 watt type bulb for a week, and then, they too will need nothing any longer. I lived in NO and realize how cool and damp winter nights can be, but to a chicken, living in the Big Easy faces nothing it cannot handle without added heat. There's little to no chance of a frost or freeze of the kind that they would ever, ever notice. Best regards.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  3. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Southwest Mississippi
    Fred, thank you! I do have an infrared heater (100W, meant for reptiles) that the younger ones (and originally the older ones) have in their current cage and will be moved with them to the bigger cage, today. I have been gradually lowering their temperature with a thermostat, as per the standard instructions. I've been told not to combine the two groups until the younger ones are closer to the size of the older ones. I've been putting the older ones out in the chicken tractor all afternoon for a month or more, and then the younger ones in a cat carrier right next to it for the last couple of weeks. So they've been spending time in visual/audible contact on a regular basis, which I figure will help with bringing them together. I should have just got 8 to start with, but it's a long story.

    Thank you so much for your advice, it especially helps that you've lived here and understand the climate. I feel much more confident and will go ahead and get them outside. They going to LOVE the new space!

    Do you think I should put the (clear polyethelene 6 mil) plastic down over the open side at night for them? At least to start?

    Obviously I want them to be as healthy as strong as possible, and I know I can be overconcerned with hardiness worries. 40F feels cold to me, which is why NOLA is a good place for me to live.
     
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anderson, Texas
    I hatched 30 iddy's & they lived in their coop from day one. They are now around nine months I provided a heat lamp for 4 weeks & mainly only used it at night. They were hatched in Feb of this year so it was cold. But as mentioned I had 30 so they would pile up to stay warm. Here's a picture of them.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I'm all for gradual adjustments in temps. But if they've experienced a 50 degree night, then they should be able to handle a 15-20 degree drop pretty easily at their age, especially since the drop still doesn't fall below freezing. I would make sure that drafts can't reach them on those nights though, but you mentioned you have a plastic windbreak you can raise. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  6. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Southwest Mississippi
    Thank you all for the encouragement! I took them out to the coop. It was a rainy but warm day. Tonight it is still warm (contrary to predictions), and I went out to check on them. The four of them are roosting on the highest roost, but instead of being over in the corner, they are as close to the hardware cloth wall as possible. What brave and wondrous chickens! They are very happy. So am I.
     

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