Two week old chicken outside if really warm?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by auslysslorp, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. auslysslorp

    auslysslorp New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2015
    So, I have a bunch of mixed breed bantam chicks that are all different ages. It's coming into summer here in Australia, so my 3.5 week olds have been enjoying some time outside most days. I have a few chicks that are just under 2 weeks, and they've been with the smaller 3.5 week olds. Today is going to be rather warm, 34c (93f), and is already 28c (82.5f) in the shade at 10am, so the 3.5 week olds are out already.

    What I'd like to know is there any issue with putting out the 2 week olds too? Is heat the only concern, or will they be too timid etc.....? It'd be good to get them all out as I had a bunch more bantam xs and australorp xs hatch this morning and would like to do a thorough clean.

    Also, if the temperature is good outside, I assume it's okay to start leaving the 3.5 week olds outside during the whole day and just give them heat at night? What would happen if it rained and I wasn't there to get them inside? Do they have the sense to seek shelter? They are fairly well feathered but I assume any down is going to make rain a problem if they don't have access to heat.

    Thanks for reading this and hopefully answering.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! I'm assuming that your chicks are in a safe (predator proof) pen, with a roof and shade. Outside should be fine, as long as they have a warm safe haven, and know where it is. Mine go out to their coop at two to three weeks of age, with a heat lamp in one corner, so there's a warm spot, with food and water nearby. Bantam babies are tiny, and will need time to acclimate, and make sure they know how to find the warm spot. Mary
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I raise mine in the early summer just so I can put them outside during the day, you certainly don't need heat at those temperatures, always provide some shade as well as sun. Getting them outside early helps keep boredom down and in my opinion makes them stronger.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree about the temps, but if the OP is gone and something comes up, there needs to be a fall- back area. Mary
     
  5. auslysslorp

    auslysslorp New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2015
    Well that's really my question, they won't have any 'artificial' heat, it'd be kinda hard for me to rig up a heat lamp or something similar actually outside. And at 30-34c, are they going to need it?? How about overheating? My rather huge australorps struggled last summer and this summer is predicted to be hotter. Will the chicks be fine, assuming an adequate supply of water.....?

    Obviously it'll get colder at night, but I'm just about to cons5truct a semi outside brooder so they can at least have heat at night.

    Their pen is safe, with shade, but only a small portion is roofed, which is why I'm worried about them getting wet without a heat source. When is it safe for chicks to get wet (without recourse to heat)? When they are fully feathered and fairly waterproof I'm kinda assuming?

    Good to know yours go out at 2-3 weeks old. I might put out my 2 week olds a bit later to introduce them and start acclimatising them to life outdoors. Thanks!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here's mine, if I wasn't always home I would have something sturdier with a three sided covered area for them to go into, but if I'm not going to be home I don't put them outside until I get home or the weather is good, and after about 4 weeks I wouldn't worry so much. I always put them into a secured pen for the night and provide heat if cool enough, but most years it's hot.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm reading between the lines of your post, and I believe your concerns revolve around your gaps in understanding how much baby chicks can withstand as far as inclement weather might challenge them.

    Here's what you need to understand: for the first four to six weeks baby chicks have mainly down covering their bodies and it's sadly lacking in insulating properties. If the air temperature drops, they are unable to retain their body heat and quickly chill unless they have access to a heat source. On the flip side, if the temperature gets hot or if they don't have access to shade, the down won't insulate against excessive heat, either. This can happen even in the safety of their brooder if they lack the space to retreat from the heat source you've supplied.

    Rain can be extremely dangerous if chicks become wet. Hypothermia can happen very quikly and it will kill equally quickly, even on a warm day. Baby chicks lack the experience and smarts that would tell them they need to get out of the rain, so just providing a rain shelter isn't enough. For the first four to six weeks, baby chicks need to be protected from all possibilities of cold drafts, rain, and temperature extremes.

    As long as they are in an enclosure that protects them from cold drafts, temperature extremes and rain, baby chicks are much more durable than people think. When you understand their limitations, you can exercise simple common sense precautions that will ensure their safety and well being.
     
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  8. auslysslorp

    auslysslorp New Egg

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    Azygous you've pretty much hit the nail on the head as to what I wanted to know, both in terms of down and their lack of instinct in the case of rain etc, so thanks. Basically what I'm inferring from what you said is that 2 week old chicks can go outside on warm days only if conditions are perfect for them and if someone is prepared to whisk them in, as due to their down they are extremely vulnerable.

    My 3.5 week olds are getting pretty well feathered though, so I guess the more feathered they are, the more they'll be able to take different types of weather. A gradual process. I think I shall put a roof over the entirety of my little chick run. I didn't fully appreciate how dangerous rain could be on what are pretty warm days.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Now you get it.

    When I said baby chicks are hardy little things, they can handle ambient temperatures of below freezing as long as they have a heat source and protection from cold drafts and rain. Even if it's a nasty day, if your outdoor enclosure is protected from wind and rain and direct hot sun, chicks will be fine. It's the down factor.

    This year I raised my chicks outside in the run. The run is enclosed, roof and sides, so no drafts and no rain or snow. The chicks had a heating pad cave to warm themselves inside, and the rest of the time, they ran about the pen just as chicks do inside an indoor brooder, but the temps got down to the 30s at night and not above 50 during the day.

    Therefore, as long as you have a nice day of around 75 to 80, a two-week old chick will do splendidly with no extra heat source during its excursion outdoors. But if a sudden chilly breeze whips up, it can suck the heat right out of a chick, so back indoors they go!
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Mine had the sense to go into their bucket which actually was heated by the sun and it was cozy in there, chick do have the sense to get out of rain and bad weather and to seek a heat source when cold, I think you said it was 80-90 degrees out, as a chick mommy I don't like leaving young ones unsupervised in case I need to help them. You just have to watch a broody mom with chicks and the perception of what chicks need will change.
     

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