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When can chicks regulate body temperature. Need definative answer

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Guinea Goonie, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. The wife finally had enough and I had to take out my hatchlings that were about 3 weeks old to the nursery. It is a port building and I have gone to GREAT lengths to get it warm especially at night. The weather her is going down to th low 20's at night. I have two heat lamps and have an electic/oil radiator type heater going full blast at night. It seems fairly warm (about 50) when I go into the building in the moring. The chicks are all gathered under the heat lamp. Some are about, but these are the ones I put in ther a few weeks ago. I have a few bigger ones in the other side and they seem to be doing fine, but they are about the same age as the ones I put in there.

    So my question is when can a chick REALLY regulate it's body temperature ?? I have been told it is when they feather out, but in my experience I have lost a few with this answer. I have been told that it is at about 5 weeks, yet I have lost a few with this answer. I NEVER keep chicks outside (protected) without a heat lamp of some sort and give them plenty of room to gather under it or move away from it.

    I have a few more chicks in the house that I absolutely REFUSED to take outside and the wife has a vested interest in these because a few are her prized black tail bantams. But, I still worry about the ones in the portable building. This is all becuase I am a hatchaholic. I have stopped for the winter and I should have known better than to hatch this late in the year, yet here I am.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Your chicks need to be about 10 - 12 weeks old to be feathered out that they are protected from the cold.

    With 3 week olds in 20 degree night temps you have many more weeks to go making sure they have enough heat and are nice and warm.

    If you are keeping their immediate area under the lamps at 50 degrees this is too cold.

    Week 1 should be 95F.

    Week 2 = 90F

    Week3 = 85F

    Week 4 = 80F

    Week 5 = 75F

    Week 6 = 70F

    Week 7 = 65F

    Week 8 = 60F


    You are brooding in late fall and heading into winter. Brooding chicks is NOT nearly the same as brooding them in spring and moving into summer. If you don't provide good heat souces and a little extra calories for their little bodies you will see troubles.

    Around 12 - 14 weeks they would be able to tolerate a no heat coop as long as you have taken precautions to wean them carefully from the heat and provide good deep bedding and a draft free coop.

    Good luck with your chicks.
  3. Thank you soo much. I will continue to take care of the chicks as best I can. i have blocked off all the holes and such for drafts and do check on them very regularly. Hopefully this cold front will not last long. It is uncharacteristicly cold here this year. We bought a farmers aulminac to try and get a better prospective of the coming weather.

    If I have to I will put another heat source in the coop, but I will have to think about it since I do not want fumes or god forbid a fire.

  4. amosygal

    amosygal In the Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    Quote:I heard of this 95 - (5*week) thing, but I always thought it was exaggerating. I was going to leave my three week old chicks with no heating at night inside the house (70F), they did fine during the day, but after reading this I set the lamp back on. I guess I'll remove the lamp next week though.
  5. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Songster

    Sep 27, 2011
    Quote:If your area is really damp and windy, it could take even longer. Even once they reach the 12 week mark, be sure to have a good, thick layer of dry bedding for them to snuggle into. My hens will practically submerge themselves in the straw of their coop floor when they're moulting. It's actually pretty funny to see!
  6. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    My chicks were never comfortable at 95 degrees even as 1 week olds. They moved away from the heatlamp. Now they seem perfectly happy at 50 degrees at 6 weeks old. They did fine when our power went out for 7 hours during a snow storm over the weekend with temps in the coop dropping to 30 degrees. I guess the operative word here is "gradual adjustment".

    Within reason I think they can get used to anything once they are fully feathered at 6 weeks, and exposing them to lower temps might actually encourage more down/feather growth, but you need to do it gradually and not plunge them into freezing temps from 80 degrees.

    I still have the heatlamp on at night but I am going to put this on a timer next week to taper off the amount of heat they get by one hour every night. I will judge by how much they are huddled together in the morning whether they are actually too cold. I get up early (around 4:30 am) so I can check up on them in the coldest part of the night.
  7. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy Premium Member 8 Years

    Mar 31, 2010
    Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
    I built a "chick hut" for mine. I laid two 2x4's that were about two feet long side by side about 16" - 18" apart, I attached them together with 3 strips of OSB (but thin plywood would work) one in the center and the others on each end. Then I used a piece of metal roofing that was about 2' x2' and flexed it into a half circle and wedged it between the 2x4's. I put my 2 heat lamps on each end so that they were directed toward the center. The heat was held in by the metal and the chicks could come and go as they pleased. This was the closest I could get to the hen. The chicks spent more and more time out from under the hut and feathered in nicely. I started the food and water out as close as I could then moved it to a couple of feet away as I noticed that they would wander farther away. Remember that when it is cold outside, the hen will move around and the chicks will get under her occasionally to warm up. Nature doesn't provide constant heat, only constantly available heat.
  8. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Songster

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:I hope you are right... I just put my 5 1/2 week olds out in the coop with an ecoglow- it's been 50"s all day and they seemed happy as can be, and never went under the heat. I hope the night will be just as pleasant for them... going down in the 30's. No going back now, I could round them up and bring them in but am really hoping they will be fine.
  9. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Mine are 6 weeks. One set of 5 are outside in a dog crate with a canvas tarp over the side holes. They have a run duriing the day that seperates them from the big chickens. Last night it was in the upper 30s and they were ok. I think they are hardier than we give them credit for. I figure they have their feathers, there are 5 of tthem to snuggle, and its dry and not windy for them to sleep. There is straw and shavings, but they perch. I haven't lost any from cold yet.....[​IMG]
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    You might want to place a heating pad on low heat under their feet...anyone ever try this?

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