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Warmth needs for 34 day old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dewey, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. dewey

    dewey Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    Hello Everyone,

    It's great that such a forum exists. I just signed up and have a question about my 34 day old chicks I've had for 4 days.

    They are outside in a tarped, mini hoop-coop, a little over 6'L x 4'H x 28"W with a 100w reflector light, after their first night here in a temporary, small, heated crate. There is a small 3 sided shelter they go in and out of inside the coop.

    They're mostly feathered out, but 2 of them still have downy fluff on their necks and heads. The tack shop had just moved them to a regular un-heated cage a couple(?) of days before I picked them up. They had been housed indoors with about 50 other chicks, and the daytime temps at that time had been in the 90's, with night temps expected to get much cooler in a day or so.

    Since the first night's temp at home was going to drop down into the 50's I put a heat lamp in for them, and they did stay near the lamp most of the night. They were moved to the coop the next day.

    Last night it was to be 39-40 degrees here and somewhat windy, so, instead of leaving a part of the coop uncovered, I draped the entire coop. Everybody was telling me they'd be ok without heat and without covering it since they were feathered, but to me, a 50 degree temp change all of a sudden just seemed like too much for young chicks.

    Am I being overly cautious? I always had chickens, but these are the first I've had in years. For years back then I always got day old chicks and never lost a single one to cold (or a heat stroke!lol) but a lot of things have changed for me in that time and maybe I AM being a bit too clucky with the baby girls?

    Thanks so much for a place to ask!

  2. dewey

    dewey Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    I guess this forum doesn't get much traffic. [​IMG]
  3. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Songster

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    I would leave the coop covered in for the chicks, and let them get use to the temp change slowly. Aslong as they are dry, and have protection from the elements, they will huddle together and stay close to the heat lamp at night.....

    Good luck!
  4. ghillie

    ghillie Hen Pecked

    Nov 13, 2008
    Colorado Springs, Co
    Rule of thumb is 95 degrees for the first week and drop 5 degrees each week. They will tell you what they need. If they huddle together they are too cold and if they spread out away from the heat they are too warm..... and [​IMG]
  5. Twiztedrods

    Twiztedrods In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2009
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Mine are now 21 days old and I am keeping them around 75 in their draft free room. In 2 more weeks they will be going outside. Of course I am in south Texas and our temps are not really to bad until Jan. and Feb.

    I have been feeding mine a tremendous amount of fresh veggies plus their chic feed. I have 15 Australorps and they eat 1/2 head of lettuce, 4 tomatoes, 4 celery stalks, a large handfull of raisens, 4 ears of corn, and 3 to 4 quarts of chic feed a day. We also feed them moths, butterflys, crickets and other misc treats throughout the day. When I compare them to other chics their age they are larger and seem healthier.

    I also have Texas style country music playing for them all the time and they seem to enjoy it. Are they a little spoiled? Yeah probably, but they are extremly healthy and that is how I like all of my animals, especially animals that are going to be feeding my family with eggs and meat.

    At 34 days, if they are healthy and have plenty of food and water they should be able to easily handle 70 maybe even 65 and lower if they are feathered well. Just make sure they have a DRAFT FREE place to sleep and cuddle.
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA

    Keeping things well ventilated, but draft free is the key. You'll be able to tell if you're on the right track by watching them for a little while. If they're piling up under the heat lamp you know that it's too cold for them, if they're as far away from it as they can get they're too cold. You want the "happy medium" where they wander around freely and seem comfortable. It's natural for them to cuddle up when they go to sleep for the night, but it's pretty easy to tell if they're cuddling up or piling on--they're LOUD when they're not happy.

    ETA: Don't feel bad if you don't get a responce right away. This forum is full of really helpfull people, but sometimes posts get missed. Morning and late night posts can take awhile to be seen since a lot of us are getting ready for work in the a.m. and don't have time to feed our byc addiction and if you're in the midwest or west coast and post at night you miss out on a lot of the east coast folks 'cause they've went to bed. I hope you stick around and also take the time to check out some of the sticky's that are at the top of most of the sections and read thru some of the old posts. The blue search bar at the top of the page is a really good resource too if you have a question and havent' gotten a response to it yet.

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  7. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Songster

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    I think another week of some 70-75 degree warmth as needed would be agreeable to the chicks. By then they should be feathered enough to withstand the temps you are describing.

  8. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    In other words, in the day time they probably don't need the light.
    But at night they still do until they are completely feathered out. Should be 1 more week.
    I don't think you are being overly causious. They probably would be OK. But just being moved they will be stressed and that alone can start problems. So give them a little heat at night.

    But have you built them a little roost to keep their toesies warm when it gets real cold at night?
    My brooder house has a 14 inch tall roost that is a 1x2. Now how is that for spoiling the little gals. Can't have them freezing their toesies.

    And you didn't say, how many did you get?
  9. dewey

    dewey Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    Thank you all so very much, each of you, and thanks kindly for the welcomes! The babies are doing ok so far. It was about 40 degrees last night and they mostly stayed within a couple of inches of the light but usually not right under it. Well, one did stay mostly under the light and it's one I've been keeping an eye on anyway. They've been mostly quiet at night. I was considering adding another light to the same end.

    We have several people/residences on property with varying hours and come to find out we've all been checking on them in shifts during the night, unawares of each other. LOL (There are many feral cats around and we've each witnessed different ones stalking the chicks, so I guess we're all on guard. One cat attacked the hooper trying to get to them.) It's pretty secure so my greatest concern was such a drastic temp/environment change and I really appreciate all of your replies.

    The mini hooper is double tarped, with the body of it also wrapped with a thick, heavy blanket for added insulation. A strip running along one side, almost butting up to an outbuilding wall, is partially undraped for ventilation. I think it's draft free, which was a big concern. When the sun finally hits it and really warms it up, I open the tarp on 1 end of the coop then fold part of it back, unless it's windy.

    The hooper sits on a thick bed of leaves...well, actually, on dirt covered with a thick layer of leaves, which I will remove later for better access to bare dirt. Just one area under the wire is exposed to bare dirt. I'd rather it not be so, but the bottom of the coop is wire (on top of the leaves) for varmit protection.

    There's 2x6 wood plank on the floor extending partially under, then just near the light, then away from the light so they can comfortably sit flat on it if wanted [hopefully no nippy toes [​IMG]] or lay down on it off the wire, along with a regular roost and a shallow 3 sided box on the floor near the light for them to get away from it all if they feel like it. (Should a cat claw through the tarps the chicks will be secure in the hooper but be able to run & hide in their chick-closet out of view.[​IMG]) They mostly use the plank near the light. There's grass & hay on parts of the wire bottom but it bothers me that they're on wire.

    Thanks again for your time and replies and great info. I'm going to very much enjoy reading through the threads. I was so excited to have a place to ask a question and was pressed for time, so I would like to apologize if the temp change topic has been often repeated. [​IMG]

    Almost forgot...I got only 4 chicks because space for them is limited right now. I might add more when I move them to another area being prepped for the rabbits. Thanks again!
  10. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Yes, the temp thing has been widely discussed on here, but on the other hand, yours is a bit of a unique situation. I'm sure you'll do fine with them just by watching how they react to different temps, which you are obviously doing.

    Sure hope you have good luck with your chicks.

    Besides the search function you'd probably enjoy glancing through the FAQ section, on the Index page. Since you are familiar with chickens there will be a lot you'll skip, along with interesting tidbits along the way, I'd imagine.

    Sorry you got missed the first time. Some of us periodically check through the "unanswered posts" at the bottom of the page, trying to be sure one like this doesn't get overlooked. Trouble is, with one additional post, it doesn't show up there. I'm sure you'll find that much more often you'll get a flurry of replies, as you finally did here.

    and.... [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2010

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