Transitioning the chicks to the outside enviornment - Your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Dukeofhawg, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Hi All.. I have 6 beautiful young ladies. They are 5 weeks old today. I built their coop in the garage (which I will be moving outside and I used also as the brooder) and want to transition them outside in the next couple of weeks. The garage Temp gets down to about 50-55 at night. The mother cluckers are fully feathered. Do you think it would be a good idea to put the heat lamp on a timer so it turns off at night and gets the chicks used to the darkness and colder temps they will experience in the outside environment? Right now on the Oregon Coast, outside nighttime temps are 38-45. I was thinking it might make for a smoother transition rather than just one day taking them outside without ever experiencing darkness or cooler temps. What say you?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  2. bwalden

    bwalden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2012
    I just moved my 19 Welsummer chicks outside to my coop. I did put the heat lamp in with them because I felt like the nights are still too cool for them to just go totatally without it. Here in Arkansas we have been having a warm spell. 50-60's at night. But our normal overnight temps should be much lower for this time of hear. If i were you I would leave the heat lamp for a while yet if you nights are that cool still. The timer sounds like a good idea if you days are fairly warm still. My coop is fully enclosed at the moment so i dont get much wind (have windows and doors closed).

  3. NestingHillsSC

    NestingHillsSC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2012
    I have mine in a portable, very large dog kennel. At 2 weeks I put them outside. No heat lamp. They love it. Nothing like clean fresh air. At night it also gets down to 50-55 degrees. I took one of the old hen boxes I had laying around and put them in there at night and covered up the opening so they can't get out with a very thin piece of plywood paneling. Put straw on the bottom. Then I put it in the shed. Sort of a small hen house. lol. And they are just fine. Actually when you take them out in the morning you can feel there quite warm. At 5 weeks they should be out there on there own.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  4. tyjaco

    tyjaco Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    Cloverdale, CA
    yes, five weeks they should be able to go out.

    I am going nuts!! So are my girls! They are 8 weeks old and still inside. We are having such a wet spell & we haven't been able to finsh the new coop. It's ALMOST there, but I can't put the "babies" out quite yet .

    So 2 times a day, i let them all out of the brooder - still in the house, but they love sitting on the edge of the box. I did add another very large box, so they have plenty of room - but darn it - they NEED to be outside!

    1 person likes this.
  5. Mine are in the garage in the coop they will live in, but I have not finished the run yet. The Oregon Coast has been very wet, and I don't feel like working on it in the rain... So I can feel your pain Ty
  6. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I usually move mine from the brooder box to the coop at around 5 weeks old. I put a heat lamp in one corner of the coop. I leave it on 24 hours a day for another week or two. Then I only use it at night. At that point I start checking them after they are settled down for the night to see if they are sleeping near the heat or away from it. When I see they are no longer using it at night I unplug it. I use a Red heat lamp rather than a clear one. I hear they sleep better with the red one. They may complain for the first night or two that it is off but they will quickly get used to the dark.
  7. Zephie

    Zephie New Egg

    Jun 6, 2012
    Norton Shores, MI
    My Wellsummers will be 5 weeks old Friday. I think they're ready to go outside. I read somewhere that you should block off the entrance to the run for the first week so that they know where to sleep. Is this legit?

    Also, what is best for the girls; hay, straw or wood chips (not cedar!)?
  8. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2012
    Five week olds can definitely go outside. You both will enjoy it. Transitioning the temperature is a good idea.Some people lock them in the coop for a few days so they learn where to sleep. I just went out after dark and put them in the coop the first night, Second night I put a couple in the coop and the rest followed. Third night they were a bit hesitant but went in on their own. I did put a small night light in the coop to encourage them. Some like straw, I use a thick layer of pine shavings(deep litter method), others like sand as it can be scooped like kitty litter.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  9. aslrunner

    aslrunner New Egg

    May 8, 2014
    I have four 5 1/2 week old chicks and two 3 1/2 week old chicks that I just moved from the brooder to the coop. I am in the Portland, OR area and temps have been pretty warm lately: about 70-80 for high temp and about 55 at night. I mounted a red heat lamp that will be on a timer to turn on overnight for the next week or two for the benefit of the younger chicks. The older chicks are fully feathered and were literally jumping out of the brooder every time I'd uncover it to change their food and water. I think they were feeling overcrowded. I wanted to keep them all together to avoid any territory wars.

    I'm new to chick raising, but not to chickens. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about when to move chicks outside to the coop. I've seen anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months as the appropriate age to move them outside, but I gather it has a lot to do with the breed (how quickly they mature) and the local climate.

    I would not recommend turning the heat lamp off completely at night if it's that cold overnight. It might be too much of a shock to them.

    Good luck!


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