too cold outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ebonykawai, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. My almost 5-week-olds have been outside for the past week. Our temps have taken a plunge the last day or two, so I put in an extra heat source. I have two in there now. They have a brooder/warmer area that stays really warm, it was 72 on the outskirts of the heat this morning, and probably near 85 or more right under the heat. The brooder/warmer area is about 4x2ft and they can go there any time (and do).

    But...the high today is only supposed to be 47, and the lows tonight in the mid 20s. That's so cold!!! Their coop is draft free and actually gets pretty nice and warm because the sun comes through the windows, but it probably won't be much warmer than 60 in there at these temps (except for the warmer area, of course). Will they be OK like this until the cold spell snaps? They have a doggie door and can go outside if they want. They were out yesterday and it was about 45-50. Just went out, played, went back in, warmed up, rinse, repeat, lol.

    I hate to bring them back in at this point. They are getting really big and are used to all the freedom. There are six out there in a 8x8 coop and a 192 sq. ft. run. They have a really good time, but I will bring them in if it's better for them.

    What do you all think?
  2. ncgnance

    ncgnance Songster

    Aug 22, 2007
    Iredell County, NC
    I would think that as long as they can get out of the cold and into a warm place they should be alright. Mid 20's is pretty cold, but as long as the coop is draft-free, they should do fine. I'm assuming that they have their feathers. If they're still fuzzy, that's different.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  3. They are pretty feathered, are only missing some on their heads but those are coming in fast. DH was saying it would be like bringing actual chickens back into the house, they are so big and don't look like chicks anymore. And I'm not sure how they would like being in the inside brooder again. It's big but they are huge now.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I would close the brooder area where they can wander to the outskirts of the light if they get too warm but can't wander into an unheated area and get chilled. At 20 degrees they could freeze easily without a mother hen to herd them back inside. Once they get chilled they could easily get sick and that can be fatal as they don't have mature feathering to insulate their little bodies. Put their water in the warmer part so it doesn't freeze either.

    I am so glad we are getting into warmer weather. It is fairly chilly here with all the rain but thankfully nothing below the 40's here for now.

    Your chicks will not be fully feathered out until they are 8 - 10 weeks and some breeds more like 12 weeks. They will not be able to regulate their body temps or insulate against cold until they have a lot more feathering. Again, they are still at an age/stage where if they get too chilled it could result in fatalities.
  5. Yes, I close them into the brooder for the night and they have food and water in there. During the day, I open the brooder door and they have the run of the coop and outdoors. They go into the brooder area throughout the day and when the suns starts going down, they make their way in there and start bedding down all by themselves. Then I just close the door for them and open it in the morning.

    The cold spell should break by Thursday and then we will be back to nicer temps. Thank goodness!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  6. SoccerMomof7

    SoccerMomof7 Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    I let mine have free range of the coop but not outside yet. My oldest are only 5 weeks but I don't want to take the chance that they will get chilled. I have let them outside a few times when it has been warm. I have 2 heat lamps in the coop as so they can all stay warm. It's been getting around 35 at night here.
  7. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    It sounds like you have a nice and cozy warm area for them to go, so I wouldn't think the outdoor temps. should be a problem. If you are still worried, you could always add an extra heatlamp to the brooder area. [​IMG]
  8. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Songster

    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    Mine have been outside for a few weeks, starting at 2-3 weeks old. My coop/brooder away from the heat lamp is about 15-20 degrees above outside temps. During a cold snap, they were about 3 weeks old, the ambient temp was about 35-40 degrees in the brooder. They were just fine under their lamp, that I made sure was extra warm (so they could get warm fast if they needed to). They slept in a ring, at exactly the right temperature for them. I got up every few hours to check on them, but they did great, they even got up to eat and drink (which meant going into a much cooler area).
  9. Thanks, everyone, I'm really glad to hear all this! I'd bring them in if I had to, but I really don't want to. I have 5 almost-3-weekers inside and hope to move them out in another week and a half, or thereabouts.

    I know my outdoor bunch is doing fine, but I've never done this before so I worry when the temps are low. I'll be very glad when this cold snap is over!!
  10. I checked on them (and cleaned, and stayed to play for a while, lol) when I got home. It was 66 in the coop, warmer than my downstairs! :mad:

    I closed the pop door. They weren't going out anyway. Then I found some leftover plywood and made a draft shield near the pop door. That should help some, too. They are all fine and the heat is cookin'. It's pretty toasty in there, thank goodness!

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