Weaning off heat lamp

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ASD Dad, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    Hey all - new chicken owner here. We bought 6 chicks from the local chicken lady since she had the breeds my wife and kids wanted and she could sex them for us. She told us they were between 2-3 weeks old. We have 2 Blue Cochins (1 rooster) and 4 Laced Wyandottes. This was two weeks ago.

    Well two of the Wyandotte chicks are HUGE now. The one looks as big as a full grown Dove plus shes mostly white. We have another that is about the same size. The Cochins are the smallest but they were the smallest when we brought them home.

    I think they are all fully feathered, their heads are fluffy and everywhere else is feathered. We got them two weeks ago tomorrow so some should be 4-5 weeks old. Problem is when I turn off the heat lamp (which is just in the corner and the temp is around 80 in the middle of brooder box) they all are fine for an hour and then all huddle together in a pile which means they are cold, right? House is 68 degrees.

    I cant post photos yet of my chicks but should be able to soon. I would like to get them off the lamp soon and then outside by second week of April. Why then? We are going on a 4 day trip the first week and my in-laws are going to watch the chicks for us. They live next door but it would be far easier to take them in their brooder vs. them coming to our house.

    We're just paranoid about them getting too cold without the lamp I guess. When I turn it back on they get back up and flutter about and seem to be enjoying themselves! It's just getting crowded in their brooder box (large Rubbermaid) especially with the two big birds. Suggestions?
     
  2. Foster's Freehold

    Foster's Freehold Songster

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    By this time, they should be weaning off the lamp. Start by turning it off during the day, let them get used to that then turn it on later and later in the evening. It should take about a week. Some chicks just get used to something being one way and don't know any different.

    It is very possible they are afraid of the dark. Put a night light in the room for a while when the light is off.

    I'm confused, do you want to take them to the in laws still in the brooder? Or do you want them in the coop? I'm afraid the brooder is going to be too small for the birds by the time your vacay comes around.
     
    puffypoo22 likes this.
  3. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    Was going to take them to the in-laws in the Rubbermaid to make it easy. Coop isnt built yet, I am building it when we get back. Right now their in between home will be a large play castle the kids dont use much! Its about 4' x 4' and I was going to keep them in my garage/workshop until the coop is built and let them out a couple times a day if I can keep them semi-contained. I have a big husky next door and the chicks could easily get through our wire fencing between us. Its a tight weave that will stop full grown birds unless they simply fly over but not chicks. Also have plenty of hawks since we live around small farms and big fields (25 acres next door and across street is 20), Husky has 10 acres to play.

    I'll start weaning them more. I need to take some pics too! I'm not sure on some of these birds.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    Unless you get the chicks out of the confining brooder during the day, you could start to see behavioral issues - pecking and bullying. Injuries could result. You'd not want to have your chick sitters to have to deal with that. You need to come up with better housing for them for them while you're on your trip.

    Considering the ambient temps where you are, your chicks could be weaned entirely off heat within a week if you would start exposing them to cooler temps. The light can be a psychological crutch that the chicks are addicted to. They really don't require the heat. They are huddling for security more than from being chilled.

    I had a cockerel that refused to go into his sleeping quarters when night came unless I turned a heat lamp on to provide the security he craved. He was a Cochin so decked out in downy warmth it certainly wasn't because he felt a chill. Chickens are as good at manipulating us as dogs and cats and human toddlers.
     
    Foster's Freehold and puffypoo22 like this.
  5. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    We're in a cold spell right now. Temps have been in the 30's at night so we've been avoiding taking them to their castle yet. Castle has plenty of room for me to mount a heat lamp safely if needed. Other issue is I dont want to lose my parking space just yet! Wife fits on the small side but I drive a huge van and castle needs to go there.

    I've had the lamp off since morning and they're OK. They're all sound asleep right now...
     
    azygous likes this.
  6. mnreeder

    mnreeder In the Brooder

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    We have 7 chicks in a large tote. I started out worrying a bunch about temperature and I haven't any more. They are just over 3 weeks old. 4 buff orpingtons and 3 ameracaunas. They have been in my shed in Utah for a week now with no problems. 1 heat lamp at night to keep the temperature in the 60's-ish and turned off during the day to get them used to the cooler temps. It only took a few days of weaning them off and they aren't huddled at all. They mostly sleep in the same area, but not all. I think you can wean them as soon as they seem to be able to handle it.
     
    azygous likes this.
  7. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    I added a link for our birds. I was wondering their breed so had another thread but you can see them and maybe tell their age.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ecqyor9VzZExbV1s2

    Mods - if it is better to merge the threads feel free and my apologies! I thought they were different enough questions but may have other issues now with our little chicks.
     

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