when can chicks live outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mermeg, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. mermeg

    mermeg New Egg

    Jan 16, 2011
    Hello, I am getting some baby chicks today, and was wondering when they can start living in their coop. It's not insulated or anything, but will have straw bedding. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so it's pretty cold until spring. Would I have to have them inside at night for that long or could I put them out once they get some feathers? What has been your experience? Thanks for the input!

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You didn't tell us the breed, unless I missed it.

    I brood mine out in the barn, as chick dust is unholy. It's like someone sawing drywall inside your house, as someone put it.

    Of course, I brood under a heat lamp, but at 4 weeks, as they feather, I normally, find I can decrease the wattage, as they no longer like being that warm. They regulate themselves. Under the direct spot of the lamp, if they are cool, but more away if they are warm. I move them at 5-6 weeks into the pen in the barn. I leave a warming light on for them. Higher up and with the guard on. By 7 or 8 weeks, they are done with the lamp altogether. It's not me, so much, pulling the lamp away from them, as it is they not wanting that heat anymore.

    The barn isn't insulated nor heated otherwise. Of course, it takes a while for chickens to gradually acclimate in fall to winter temps. I allow this to happen naturally. By dead of winter, they are fully acclimated and require no heat whatsoever. They've adjusted just fine. However, good ventilation is absolutely required.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  3. mermeg

    mermeg New Egg

    Jan 16, 2011
    Black Cooper Maran. I understand they're pretty hardy! So, that will help. I think the chicks that I'm getting are5 weeks old, so that's nice! Thanks for the info!
  4. RAWR

    RAWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2009
    who wants to know?
    i would wait till spring, or untill its eight weeks old
  5. sadies0111

    sadies0111 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 18, 2010
    I live in WI, and got some chicks in November. I had a 250 watt lamp in the small coop for a couple weeks (they were 5-8 weeks old when I got them), and then changed it to 100 watt. I then started turning it off during the day, and leaving it on at night...I gradually gave them less time with the heat each day, and by the time the youngest was about 2 months old, they have had no heat at all. I may give them a 60 watt later this week when the night lows will be below zero, because they are still pretty young, but so far they have been just fine. I do give them warm water 2x/day, and bring them warm oatmeal when it is a little chillier than normal.
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Definitely brood them in the coop. You do chickens no favors raising them in the house, the heat isn't natural for them, cold is. My week olds were running around outdoors all day in a cold snap, 40's highs and 20's lows, would not even go under mama all day to warm up, no heat lamp, no insulation, actually a pretty airish coop. No way will it be a problem for them if they have the choice of a heat lamp to get under.
  7. mermeg

    mermeg New Egg

    Jan 16, 2011
    I ended up with 3 black cooper marans and 3 black americaunas. They're so cute! I think he said that they're a month old. I got to see his big chickens too and their eggs. Beautiful birds! Can't wait to start getting some eggs! Thanks for all the tips. I think I will put a light outside for them. I really don't want chicken smell in my house! [​IMG]
  8. bufforpingtons13

    bufforpingtons13 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 26, 2010
    When they get all their feathers in they should be good to go.

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