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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kriston79, Apr 11, 2016.
At what age should I put my chicks in their coop and stop using heat lamp?
It's best to wait until the chicks are fully feathered (at around 6 weeks old) before putting them outside. When to stop to using a heat lamp depends on the weather were you live. The chart below shows what temperature your chicks should be at per week. Here's an article with more information on when to move your chicks outside.http://www.the-chicken- chick.com/2013/04/when-to-move-chicks-from-brooder-to.html
The way I see it you have two totally different questions, but both are answered, “It depends”.
When can the chicks go to the coop? If you have electricity out there to provide a heat source and can separate them from any adults, they can go there straight from the incubator or post office. That’s what I do, even if the outside temperature is below freezing. If you can provide an area that is warm enough in the coldest temperatures and an area that is cool enough in the warmest temperatures, good ventilation and breeze protection, and predator protection they can go out there at any age. So basically they can go out there today if you have electricity. If you want more information on this, give me a few details of your chicks like age and number and the situation out there.
When can they go without heat? That is a lot harder. Their age and how well they are feathered out as well as the outside conditions have a lot to do with that. In a ridiculous heat wave a few years back I turned the daytime heat off in that brooder in the coop at Day 2. The overnight heat went off at Day 5. Their body language told me they did not need it and they didn’t. I’ve had broody hens wean their chicks at three weeks in the summer. They did fine without a broody to keep them warm.
There have been times I’ve kept heat on in that brooder for five weeks in the winter. I’ve had chicks less than six weeks old go through nights in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit. My brooder is big enough that I only heat one area and let the rest cool off as it will. There have been times the far end had ice in it but the end the chicks were on stayed toasty warm. So my chicks not only feather out pretty fast since they are exposed to the cold, they are acclimated. They play a lot in the cold end. Also my grow-out coop has good ventilation up high but good draft protection down where the chicks are.
If your chicks are being kept in tropical conditions I’d be more careful in moving them out to below freezing conditions. If you can take them outside in the cold even for short play periods you can help acclimate them plus build your confidence they can actually handle pretty cold temperatures. I know some of this stuff is hard to take on faith alone, it helps for you to actually see it.
It’s hard to give certain ages because we raise them differently, we have different outside temperatures, and our coops can give different degrees of ventilation and draft protection. I’d think after six full weeks even chicks kept in tropical conditions can go outside without a heat source unless it is ridiculously cold, but maybe your coop is made of wire and doesn’t provide much protection.
Thank you both for responding... They are 5 weeks old and they are all feathered up. They are Plymouth Barred Rocks and we live in Upstate NY. We are suppose to get back in the low 40's at night and 60's - 70's starting Sunday. By then they will be 6 weeks old and I think I will put them in their coop then. I will not take the heat lamp out there and their coop has a closed area as well as an opened area. Should I keep them closed up for a couple more weeks or just let them wonder in there enclosed coop?
when I say 60's and 70's I mean day time...
What is the temperature in their brooder? If theirs a 5-10 degree difference between the brooder and coop it's probably fine to let them out. Anything colder than that and it might be to much of a shock compared to what their used too.
What does their coop look like? How enclosed is it? My question has more to do with wind protection than anything else. If one section is pretty well enclosed where they can go if the wind is too strong outside, they should be OK. I don’t know how big the coop section is or anything like that so it’s hard to be definitive.
Daytime highs aren’t that important in this. What are your overnight lows?
I recently moved fifteen 5-week-olds from my brooder in the main coop to an elevated 4’x8’ grow-out coop with an attached 8’x12’ run. I put them in the run when I moved them, then put them in the coop section after dark so I could lock them up for the night. It took about a week doing that before they started putting themselves to bed in the coop on their own. The overnight lows were in the lower 40’s but mine were acclimated in my brooder in the coop.
Some people recommend locking them in the coop section for a week before you let them in to the run. The idea is that they will put themselves to bed in the coop section on their won. I have three coops, a main one on the ground, an elevated grow-out coop, and a third utility coop on the ground. Keeping them confined works well for the ones on the ground. But with that elevated coop they always put themselves to bed in run under the pop door so I have to put them in the coop every night for a while anyway before they get the message.
There coop is a 5 bird coop with a run and enclosed section that I can shut off completely if needed. The temps should be in the low 40's at night starting Sunday.
It's made of wood and the part I can shut off no wind.