To coop or not to coop?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DaviJones, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. DaviJones

    DaviJones Songster

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    So I'm finishing up construction on my coop and wondered when I should put in the pullets. It is about 80 degrees during the day and maybe 60(or occasionally 50) at night this month, and I have been acclimating them to the weather during the afternoon while I build. So when should I each in, they are of varying ages and breeds.
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    Buff Orpington 4-5 weeks
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    Gold Sexlink/ISA Brown. 3-3.5 weeks
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    Gold Laced Wyandotte and Easter Egger"Ameraucana" 2 weeks (these two are probably too young, just showing off ;). ). Thanks!
     
  2. WhiteWyan

    WhiteWyan Songster

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    Hey I know this sounds crazy but I put all my chicks outside at 2 weeks old. The coldest it got at night was 60 deg farenhiet. I had 16 of them. All of them were fine.
    Edit: I should add that I used an electric heat pad to brood my chicks, so they were well feathered at 2 weeks. No supplemental heat after two weeks.
     
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  3. DaviJones

    DaviJones Songster

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    Thanks for the reply! I'm using a brooder lamp, will it make any difference, and would be okay to turn the lamp off as we keep the house about 75 degrees and live in the desert Southwest.
     
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  4. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

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    I'm very untrusting of heat lamps, especially in the chicken coop where they're confined and hard to get to if there's a fire.

    I'd personally keep them inside until they're four to six weeks old, with daily outdoors foraging trips in a small fenced area.

    But tons of people put their chicks outside at a young age without heat, so they'd probably be fine.
     
  5. DaviJones

    DaviJones Songster

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    Thanks! I've been taking them out while I build. They forage and I'll catch a big for them every now and then. Oh! And dust bathes, most adorable thing

    Think it would be okay to turn off the lamp?
     
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  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    I very carefully use a heat lamp in my coop for chicks after they are about 2.5 weeks old. It's set up over a corner of their coop area, so there's a big heat gradient, from about 80F to 85F, down to 50F, or whatever it is outside in Michigan in April. It's fine!
    By 'well secured', I mean a chain and snap to an overhead solid attachment, the cord up through the chain, and another attachment with binder twine. A good lamp, with the bulb firmly in place, and protected (Premier1supplies).
    Shavings as bedding, but not close to the lamp!
    Ground fault interrupter protected too.
    Brooder plates look great, but so far I haven't switched here. Mary
     
  7. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

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    Dust baths are super cute, I know! The first time they did this I thought they were all dying!! This is my first year as a chicken person and boy have I had to learn a lot!!!
     
  8. DaviJones

    DaviJones Songster

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    I'm a newbie too! I was lucky, I saw posts about dust bathes. I can see where they would look like a seizure or something though. So cute though! Is it normal to only have a few dustbathing?(I only have my EE and one Orpington dustbathing out of 6 chickens, Im guessing they just do it in their own time though.)
     
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  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I would put them all in the coop at hatch, with a MHP cave brooder. The older ones should definitely be off heat. They don't look to be very well feathered out based on their age, and I'm wondering if it's b/c of your warm climate, and the heat lamp you are using.

    Are they all in the same brooder? Chicks in the house need no extra heat after 3 weeks, while the younger ones still do. It's all about continually assessing and making adjustments to wean them off heat at the appropriate age, and to harden them off to outdoor temps. My chicks brooded outside with MHP cave in April, here in Maine wean themselves off heat at 4 - 5 weeks of age. The beauty of the MHP cave is that the chicks make their own adjustments and wean themselves.

    My preference, based on what you have is to put all in the coop at the same time. You can use a MHP cave, a huddle box, or a wool hen, and even the littlest ones should be fine if you have introduced them to the heat source, and they know how to use it. YOu should initially supervise to be sure they are tucked in at night.
     
  10. AllynTal

    AllynTal Songster

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    Mine go in the coop as soon as all of them in the clutch have hatched. As others have said in their situation, I use a heating pad. Even when nighttime temps get here have gotten down into the 40s, the chicks are fine with the heating pad as long as they're protected from drafts. Heat lamps are bad; they're dangerous as far as fire hazards go, they keep the chicks from feathering out as quickly as they could, and they stress the chicks because 1) the lamps are usually too warm and 2) the chicks don't have a proper day/night schedule.

    If you're in the Southwest, you probably don't need very much in the way of heat. If you transition to the heating pad, just set it on Low. The chicks can and will handle their temperature needs themselves as long as they have a place to get warm and a place to be away from the heat. Chicks will actually spend a lot more time away from the heat than 'traditional' chick-rearing guidelines would have you believe. And they'll be a LOT less stressed without the lamp which improves their health.

    If I were in your situation, I'd put the chicks in the coop as soon as it is ready. I'd do a little research on raising chicks with a heating pad (there's a long thread here on the "Mama Heating Pad" but it goes off topic for pages at a time so it can be a tough read).

    This is a couple of hatches ago. The chicks are in the coop with their heating pad (pad is inside the colorful pillowcase) in their brooding box. They're a day old here and already starting the integration process into the flock.
    brooder-in-use.jpg

    This girl is between 5 and 6 weeks:
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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017

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