Weaning chicks off the heat lamp...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kimchick621, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 week old chicks in the garage, only three of them. They've been on a heat lamp this whole time, although I've raised it up quite a bit last week. I need to get them outside soon, and I know I can't just throw them out when it's in the 30's at night.

    I'm thinking about shutting off the heat lamp during the day to hopefully encourage them to feather out a bit more, and then taking it away from them in about a week. It probably dips into the 40's at night in the garage, but I need to prepare them for outdoor life. Is it possible to do that with such young ones at the beginning of winter? I don't keep a heat lamp in the main coop, but I'm pretty sure they'll be in the run with out a coop for at least a week...maybe two depending on how my adult girls react to them. (they'll have a covered dog crate for shelter)

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    How cold is it during the day in the garage?

    I have 1.5 week old chicks, and my lamp went off in a room where the temperature doesn't drop bellow 68. They were shivering and crying until I went and got them a new bulb. :( Poor things. There are 3 of them as well. If you have 15-20 chicks, I'd say go for it. They can keep one another warm.. However, 3 chicks is a very low #, and they need to have some warmth until they are fully feathered. At 3 weeks old, I wouldn't have temps any lower than 70 for them. If you go by the books, it should be 80, but 70 is fine for my own chicks at 3 weeks (talking large fowl).
     
  3. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's probably only about a 10 degree difference. It's been cold here lately, my garage at best might get up to 50 degrees. I had a broody with hatched hers, and she's been outside for the last week with her chick (same age, I tried to get her to raise these too but she wouldn't take them). Such a huge difference in feathers, but I guess momma does a great job keeping her baby warm.

    If now is too soon, at what age do you suggest I start turning off the light? It's not going to get any warmer here, and I can't keep them in the garage all winter. :(
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I'd keep it on them until week 6 and then turn it off during the day. At week 8, turn the light off at night, unless it is a very, very cold night. I had 3 birds at room temperature last winter and just stuck them outside without acclimating them at 10 weeks. They were fine. :)
     
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  5. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll try that then. Thanks so much! [​IMG]
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    How big is your brooder? I only keep a light in one spot and let the rest cool down. My 3' x 6' brooder is in the coop and sometimes that cooler part gets a whole lot cooler. As you've seen with your broody, the chicks will spend a lot of time in the cooler areas, just going to the heat when they need to warm up. I think that does help them feather out a lot if they have a cooler place to play.

    Last fall I had 21 chicks in that brooder. Overnight tmperatures were getting down to the mid 40's Fahrenheit when I put them in my grow-out coop at five weeks. That grow-out coop was not heated but it has really good draft protection and really good ventilation up high. In a few days, when they were about 5-1/2 weeks old, the overnight temperature hit the mid 20's. They were fine.

    I had 21, not 3. Mine were acclimated, had good draft protection, and good ventilation. I'm not sure yours will have that. I suggest you start acclimating them as best you can. Whether that means a bigger brooder in the garage where you keep a small area warm and let the other go or turn off the heat when you can be around to see how they react, that's up to you. I would not turn the overnight heat off at three weeks though. That's too young for those temperatures. Last summer I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days for a different group of 17 chicks and they were fine, but it was a much warmer period.

    Instead of covering the dog crate, think about blocking the wind at the bottom where they are and let it cool off by leaving good ventilation when you do the move.

    Good luck!
     
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    My 18 chicks kept one another warm at 4 weeks when the temps hit freezing. I think the more you have, the less chance of issues from being chilled. [​IMG] My brooder in the garage. Two lights were on at first, but they only favoured one, so I turned the other off when they were big enough to wander around. I kept both on for the first week. It was April, and was very chilly. Averaging 40s during the day and 20s at night. I put straw all around the brooder to help insulate. [​IMG] This brooder is 8 ft long x 3 ft wide.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  8. Crafty-Duck

    Crafty-Duck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I always wait until they are almost all feathered out (especially their heads) to turn off the heat light.Then I start turning the light off in the day time and weaning them off.
     
  9. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your brooder is awesome. I have a temporary set up. I haven't raised baby chicks before, and was anticipating on getting them all the same day momma hatched her chick (I honestly didn't expect any of her eggs to hatch!). I'm going to show my husband your brooder when he gets home. I'm going to have flying baby chicks all over my garage if I don't come up with something soon! Especially if they are going to need 5 more weeks in the garage!
     
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Tip: Don't spring for the hardware cloth. That stuff cost me 3 x of the other materials. I bought 2 sheets of plywood, and 16 2x2's. Total lumber cost was around $40. The cost of the hardware cloth was too disgusting to mention. 5 ft by 30" was $30, and I went through 4 or 5 of them. :sick Use green plastic fencing. [​IMG] Looks like this. If you have it in the garage, you won't have to worry about predators. I was thinking about the safety from my LGD who was a puppy at the time. I still didn't trust her with the hardware cloth. :/
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

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