When are chicks/juvenilles considered mature enough for the cold?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Carrie Lynn, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 12wk.olds have been acclimating to the cold since September.
    But, recent nightime temps in the low 20's have me concerned.
    At night I have them in an unattached garage until I can insulate their new coop.
    They've not spent the night in there yet, have to predator-proof it first.

    Last night I caved and added a heat lamp---I know, I know, [​IMG] it was dumb!
    But, they just don't have the mega feathers or body fat of adult birds [​IMG]
    The lamp was suspended safely from a rafter at least 2 yards from them. I didn't want them to be cozy warm,
    just raise the garage temps a liitle.

    So, my question is, when are juvenilles hardy enough for very cold temps?
    Keeping in mind they are not as feathered or plump as adult hens.
    Also, they don't throw off as much body heat....

    Your thoughts anyone? Thanks!
    S.E. Michigan, zone 5b
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The lamp was suspended safely from a rafter at least 2 yards from them. I didn't want them to be cozy warm,
    just raise the garage temps a liitle.

    It is much more effective to use a lower wattage lamp and hang it lower (although still safely above chickens, of course, and with a good guard on it!). 250w is not going to heat the whole garage meaningfully. Whereas it *can* be useful to do like you'd do in a brooder and give them a little "pool of warmth" to sit in if they feel the need.

    I am probably more conservative than necessary, but personally I give my pullets a 100w or 60w bulb (depending on #chickens and outdoor temp) hung maybe 2-3' above the bedding (safely hung, with guard in place) until they no longer seem to be using it. That is, until there is evidence that they're sleeping elsewhere. I move the light, or switch to a 40w red 'party bulb', to test them if I think they are just sackin' out under the light out of habit... if doing that causes them to move to the light's new position or huddle real closely together at night then I tend to replace the 60 or 100w bulb for a bit longer.

    Bear in mind that if this garage is closed it may well be staying warmer at night than your outdoor temps -- do you have a max/min thermometer in there?

    At 12 weeks, if they are a normal breed normally-raised, they're probably about old enough to be ok without light but they are still somewhat 'on the bubble' so personally I'd just observe them closely and go by that.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Pat.
    I guess I just wanted to warm the area they were in rather than giving them more direct heat they might get used too.
    I will now re-read your comments as your replies are always so helpful!
    Carrie Lynn
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I know what you're saying, and it's not illogical or anything, it's just that in reality it kinda works the other way 'round. If ALL their environment is <some warmer temperature> then they get USED to that to some degree; whereas if most of their environment is cool/cold but they have one warm spot they can go to bask in if they feel it's necessary, they don't get as dependant on the warmth, they spend lots of time in the colder temps and get accustomed to them.

    Pat
     
  5. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pat,
    I see what you mean, I'll try your suggestions.
    Thanks for shedding more light on the subject [​IMG]
    I appreciate your help.
     
  6. nop169

    nop169 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Carrie lynn,
    I am playing with seramas this year & am having the same issue. Our temps have been mild but on a night that dipped into the low 30s I lost 4 young seramas... they are in a protected area but that does not seem to be sufficient. These young were about 14 weeks old & fully feathered...... my solution was to get an old rubbermade container (about 2.5 ft long and 2 ft wide) and cover - I cut an access door (cat door size) on the bottom & covered the "floor" with shavings.... I then drilled holes in the sides & added 3 perches... I then mounted a standard heat lamp fixture with a 60 watt reptile "nite" lite to the cover & placed it on the rubbermaid. This way they still learn to perch but the heat is contained by the rubbermaid. So far it is working like a charm..... perhaps something similar will work for you.
     
  7. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    nop169,
    How very sad you lost those Seramas, I'm so sorry.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    BTW, how warm does the inside get?

    Carrie Lynn
     

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