When are the chicks old enough to go outside in winter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ban seabhag, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Ban seabhag

    Ban seabhag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Glenn HWY Alaska
    I have 5 - 7 week old chicks. (3 Delawares and 2 ameraucanas). I plan to move them to a heated cage outside when they are 2 months or so old. Is that too soon? It would stay at about 40 degrees. How old should they be to go in the coop with the pullets and hens? It is well insulated but not heated.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Haven't integrated mine into the main coop yet, so I can't answer that, but I'm planning on waiting until they are roughly the same size as the older ones. (right before POL)

    Mine were outside in an uninsulated coop at 6 weeks and we got a terrible storm resulting in snow and 3 days after of 14 degree weather overnight. They did have a heat lamp, although it just barely kept the coop above freezing. They were fine.
     
  3. melissa41927

    melissa41927 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    i have some that were hatched on 11-4 so they are 5 -6 wks old. i come home to them walking around the inside of the house hiding under the tv table, and hiding in the bathroom. i have 4 cats in the house, but they have never bothered them yet. they are bantam light and dark brahmas and some are mostly feathered. i think it is time to move them to the outside. will a plastic covered rabbit cage one the ground with a heat lamp in it be enough to keep them alive and thriving?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  4. Ban seabhag

    Ban seabhag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Glenn HWY Alaska
    Okay that gives me some idea. I hate to keep them closed up inside, but want to be sure they can handle the weather. The pullets and hens do very well, and the coop is usually just below freezing when its very cold, but like today the water doesn't freeze inside. I can always put them back in the heated box if it gets too cold, but so far it hasn't. They are getting pretty big now.
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Give them a heat lamp to acclimate to it slowly. Keep them locked up for at least a few days so they know it's "home." Then gradually take the heat lamp away. I just took my chicks heat lamp away and gave them a 75 watt light bulb instead. (But we're only getting in the mid 40's at night)

    Also, how many do you have? If you have a few, they won't be able to keep each other as warm as say 5-10 chicks can.
     
  6. Ban seabhag

    Ban seabhag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Glenn HWY Alaska
    Quote:If they can get under it I would think so, but I'm not sure. I am going to try it in about a week I think unless I get more advice. These guys are in a large cage inside but it is shrinking by the minute, and I would like to give them more fresh air and room as soon as I can. No ones made it over the wall yet but I can see the potential! We have dogs and cats all of whom are more bewildered by chickens than enthralled at this point.
     
  7. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    My chicks go outside before they are 3 weeks old if the weather is at all tolerable. They do great out there!
    I just make sure that they have a warm place to get out of the wind, and a heat lamp for them to get under if they start to chill.

    I start putting the lamp on night-only after they are about 6 weeks, and wean them off of it by about 8 weeks.
    But to be honest I've got it on tonight for my ~8 week olds because it's dropping to 22*F. I expect they'd really be fine without it though.

    I don't coop my youngsters with my adults where they can't get away from each other, but they free range together during the daytime after the chicks are around 6 weeks old.

    ETA: This is what I move babies to when I kick them out of my living room: https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27985-chicken-tractor
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I'm not an expert, but make the change as gradual as possible. You don't want to shock their little bodies. Make sure the rabbit cage isn't so tightly wrapped that they can't get air. They need ventilation, but not drafts.

    If it were me, I'd start taking away the lamp during the day so they can acclimate to cooler temps. (maybe at night too depending on how warm you keep your house) Do you have something you can cover the brooder with so they're not cruising around your house?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2009
  9. Ban seabhag

    Ban seabhag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Glenn HWY Alaska
    Quote:Give them a heat lamp to acclimate to it slowly. Keep them locked up for at least a few days so they know it's "home." Then gradually take the heat lamp away. I just took my chicks heat lamp away and gave them a 75 watt light bulb instead. (But we're only getting in the mid 40's at night)

    Also, how many do you have? If you have a few, they won't be able to keep each other as warm as say 5-10 chicks can.

    There are 5. 3 Delawares and 2 ameraucanas. They are a pretty close bunch. Its more like 20 here, so a heat lamp is necessary, maybe in a week or two. I am winging it here.
     
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,801
    1,288
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Quote:Give them a heat lamp to acclimate to it slowly. Keep them locked up for at least a few days so they know it's "home." Then gradually take the heat lamp away. I just took my chicks heat lamp away and gave them a 75 watt light bulb instead. (But we're only getting in the mid 40's at night)

    Also, how many do you have? If you have a few, they won't be able to keep each other as warm as say 5-10 chicks can.

    There are 5. 3 Delawares and 2 ameraucanas. They are a pretty close bunch. Its more like 20 here, so a heat lamp is necessary, maybe in a week or two. I am winging it here.

    I have 5 as well, and they kept themselves warm enough with a heat lamp. So give them the lamp at night, and wean them off of it.
     

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