What's too cold for 6 week old chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mattjanky, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. mattjanky

    mattjanky Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 25 six week old Isa browns in a brooder in my garage with a heat lamp. They seem to be fully feathered and I want to move them outside so I can get some more chicks.I already have 7 hens and 2 roosters as well as 2 turkeys that live in my barn stall I converted into a bigger coop but I was thinking of moving the chick's in to my original pre fab coop until they are a little bigger to join the adults. It's only rated for 6 adult birds but it's not their permanent home and I figured the small space would be ideal for them warming each other up. But my problem is that we've been having a cold snap in Michigan and it's in the low 20s and getting in the teens at night for another week probably. Is it too cold for the chick's to leave the brooder just yet? Another option is to put them in a large dog crate in the barn with the other chickens and put a heat lamp on them but it's a little smaller than the brooder and I don't want to crowd them too much. Should I just leave them in the brooder another week? What are some thoughts on this? Any advice is much appreciated since this is only my second time raising chick's and never so many before.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Too cold. Tolerance is probably about mid 30s to 40s at 6 weeks old, especially since you still have them under the light. Start hardening them off by keeping the heat lamp off. It might take about a week. Then, portion off an area in the barn where the other chickens are so you can begin integration. Allowing the two groups to live side-by-side for a few weeks allows for the two groups to get used to each other safely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You can expedite the cold hardening process as well as integration by taking your six-week olds out for day trips where the older chickens hang out.

    To start off, choose a nice day not below 50F. Sunny and no wind or cold breezes. Have a safe pen with plenty of room for the chicks so they can begin getting acquainted with the adults in the flock but are still safe from them. Gradually increase the time the chicks spend outdoors. You can tell when they are chilling since they will huddle in a tight group.

    As junebuggena suggested, turn off their heat when they're indoors starting immediately. After a week of day trips, they may be able to move into the coop to sleep at night. If you create chick-size openings in their safe pen, it can work as a panic room for the chicks to return to for refuge when the adults get a bit much.

    My panic room is out in the run so the chicks can spend as much time as possible with the adult flock. See my article on outdoor brooding linked below for more information about how a panic room looks and functions.
     
  4. mattjanky

    mattjanky Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll turn the heat lamp off tomorrow as it is exceptionally cold tonight. And I'll see about moving them to a safe spot in the barn
     
  5. jonh684

    jonh684 New Egg

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    I'm in the same situation as you (Muskegon area) with 17 five week old chicks I was hoping to be able to move outside this weekend. Instead I threw together a larger brooder in the garage (unheated) with two heat lamps to help get them acclimated to the temperature change until the weather breaks (hopefully) next weekend. I plan on putting one of the heat lamps on a timer to turn off during the day around Wednesday, then gradually eliminating them altogether once the low temp stays above freezing, which looks like it'll be a week or two, then starting the day trips outside to introduce them to the rest of the flock.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If they are safe from blowing wind, just turn off the heat lamps, or switch the bulbs with normal light bulbs. You might want to give them a cardboard box to snuggle in to help them keep warm, if they need it. Keeping them under two heat lamps defeats the purpose. You need to give them less heat, not more. The real danger to chicks outdoors isn't so much the temperature, but the wind and weather. If they are safe from wind and weather, there is no real danger of them dying from exposure in the garage.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    agree
     

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