Wanting to move chicks outside


8 Years
May 23, 2011
So after much preparation, and much anticipation, my wife and I finally got our baby chicks about a week ago. The chicks are between 3 and four weeks old, and we have had them for about a week inside our spare bathroom. The thing is, as much as we love them, we can't wait to move them outside! The low's at night have been in the forties, which I know is too cold for them. But we were thinking about running a small space heater out there until they are ready? Im hearing mixed opinions about doing this, but a heat lamp just doesn't seem like it would be enough. Any thoughts?
I use two heat lamps at night here when it is in the 40's. It will work. You need a big thermometer to guage the temp by until you get it where you want it. Space heaters are terrible dangerous around feathers and dust. Make sure all lamps are secured in at least two point to prevent them from falling into chips and catching on fire. I have mine in the coop. I put up thick cardboard around the bottom to stop any drafts. A big freezer box works great, too. good luck gloria jean
If you can string an extension cord, the heavy duty exterior type out to your coop, you can finish their brooding out there. Most chicks are not brooded inside of a house.
Once they are 5-6 weeks old, you can move them out without the lamp at all. It is important for them to spend their last couple of days inside the house with NO lamp on to acclimate them to the change that is about to happen.

Your chicks are 4 weeks old and in another week, they will be feathered out well. In the natural setting, mother hen kicks them out just about now and they have to fend for themselves. Besides, June is just around the corner and 40 degree nights will be a thing of the past.
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Well a bit of wisdom should help you to make an intelligent and educated decision. Knowing that if a broody hen hatched a clutch of eggs from her nests she would take care of them even on the coldest spring nights. Chickens are amazingly adaptable. I personally have NEVER lost a chick to the cold and have at times put SOME of my breeds out at 2 weeks, into the great outdoors with just a heatlamp. Mostly I put my meaties out early, well, because they are meaties. But of course I always have my special coops and I also live in San Diego and Phoenix. Weather is kinda nice here. You stated that your chicks are 4 weeks old thats a good age to be fully feathered and able to take on the night temps. If you desire put a heatlamp/heatbulb out their with them. They need to be protected from any drafts and they should do just fine.

Think....What would the chickens do if you weren't their for them.

Please, PLEASE don't use a space heater. Chicken coops, chickens, all the dander and dust they create, and heaters just don't mix.

I have used a heater, an oil-filled electric one, in an outbuilding to provide supplemental heat for chicks, but it was on the bare floor, not in the brooder with the chicks and the building was wired for electricity.

Here's a pic of that set-up. You can just see the heater in the bottom right hand corner:


The chicks can go out to a draft free, predator proof coop with a heat lamp as a safer alternative. Just be sure and doubly secure your heat lamp. For example, I use both a chain and zip ties to secure the heat lamp. THE CLAMPS THAT COME WITH THE LAMPS ARE USELESS AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON TO SECURE THEM. Also, make sure the lamp has a ceramic socket, not plastic and that you don't use a higher wattage bulb than you need.

You don't need to heat the whole coop. Just section the chicks off in a smaller area and hang the heat lamp in that area. They will go under it when they feel the need to warm up; just as a broody raised chick goes under mama whenever they feel the need for a warm up. They don't stay under mama full-time.

Good luck with your chicks
Keep in mind that the lamp doesn't need to heat the whole area up, just the space directly below the lamp. What wattage are you using for your heat bulb?? I would think even a 100W bulb would heat the area beneath enough for the chicks to stay warm overnight (assuming the coop is draft free). I'd be afraid to use a space heater... Do make sure your lamp is hung on chain or wire, not clamped.
Wow, thank you for all the replies! Right now, Im not running a heat lamp, Im running a space heater in the bathroom (there's no shavings, dust, etc. that can catch on fire). I can shut the outside coop up pretty tight, so Im going to stop by the feed store and pick up a heat lamp. At this point, I only worry about the electricity bill with having to run a heat lamp 24/7 for the next week or two, but it will be nice to get them out of the bathroom! : )

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