When can I put my chicks outside with my other hens?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 3, 2008
Central Maine
I have five one-month-old chicks which I'm currently raising in a large cardboard box in my spare bedroom inside my house; my question is, when can I put them in the coop outside with my other chickens?
The coop outside consists of a fenced-in area and a small shed which is used as a hen house and a place for the chickens to roost. I have six full grown hens; one new hampshire red, two red stars, one buttercup, one blue andalusian and one golden lakenvelder. The five chicks consist of one buff orpington, one silver sebright, one golden sebright and two blue andalusians.
I'm concerned about putting them in with the other chickens outside because they're still so small compared to the outdoor chickens and I don't want them to be bullied or pecked, but the longer I wait for them to grow, the closer to winter it gets and the colder it gets outside.
Which brings me to my next concern...I live in Maine and it's already sinking into the low 30s (Fahrenheit) during the night and rarely gets above 55 - 60 during the day this time of year, and after a month of a warm indoor guest bedroom with a heat lamp, I'm afraid that the sudden drastic change in temperature might harm them.

So, could I get some input? Any advice or suggestions?



Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
Forks, Virginia
Welcome to BYC.

Your chicks are far too young to be put out without heat. In your night time temps you will have to run heat and give them a closed in place free from drafts. Depending on your day time temps they will need heat during the day. 4 week olds are still babies. They are not completely feathered in. Larger breeds won't feather in completely until they are nearly 12 weeks old. At their age they cannot regulate their body temps nor have enough feathers to be able to survive. At their age if they get chilled over night they will get sick. Often they won't recover from it and it will be fatal.

You should not even attempt to mix these chicks with your other chickens until they are 16 weeks old and nearly the same size as the older chickens. Your older chickens will most likely attempt to kill them.


11 Years
Jun 11, 2008
N. West Michigan
We are in the same predicament... we did manage to introduce new young-uns about 6 weeks ago when the weather wasn't an issue--- but now it's too cold---

SO-- we are putting their box with an attached dog-cage in the coop with a heat lamp over the box... not sure about the added light tho (supposedly not an issue with the red heat lamps???)


11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
Camden, AR
Can you run a heavy-duty Outdoor extension cord to your coop? Can you section off a 4 feet square section of your coop, say in the SouthWest corner? Preferably off the ground? If you can, you might consider building an Outdoor Brooder for your new girls.

With a heat lamp, some good insulation, and a draft-free corner/section of your coop, you could move your girls outside once they get too big to stay in the house. As long as you are able to maintain the temperature levels that the babies need for optimum health, they should be just fine.

Once they are feathered out completely, you could allow them out of the brooder, and into a small area of their own, so that your older ladies can get used to seeing them, and sharing their space with the new girls.

I'll get some pics this afternoon of our set-up, and with a few small modifications, it might give you some ideas you can use.


Edited to Add: In the 'raising baby chicks' thread there's a sticky for people to post pics of their brooders. You have 42 pages of pics to look through....there are several OUtdoor brooder set-ups in there


In a thread I had back in Sept, a person from Nova Scotia, on page 2, #14, shows pics of a brooder set-up that might be adaptable to your situation.


Hope This Helps!
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11 Years
Sep 1, 2008
I am also in the same situation. Chicks born August 6th. Put them outside last week when weather was above 50 degrees at night. Still used a 60 watt red light in the henhouse at night though (probably more for my peace of mind than for the chickens). Weather is predicted to be in the 50's and rainy with night dipping into the 40's at night. Am a little concerned and wondering if its going to be a problem for the young ones. When I peek at them at night, they are on the roost bar together but dont seem to be huddle close to the light or anything to indicate they are chilly. Any thoughts?

1Chick Magnet

11 Years
Sep 16, 2008
New Hampshire
i am also in the same situation. i have 4 three month old girls outside in a coop. 7 eight wk old girls in my garage which is 10 degrees warmer and 3 four week olds in the house. trying to figure out how to get them tog eventually. most concerned about the youngest. at what age should they be ok in the garage? we are in the process of insulating the coop but so far only 1 wall is done.

Farm Chic

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 21, 2008
Davisburg, MI
I have bantams that are full grown and 15 newbies that are regular hens; i.e., orps, austra., doms, wyans, and polish. would the above be true if I introduce my chicks to my bantams? does size in this case really matter?


11 Years
May 31, 2008
Eagle Creek, OR
I was bad...they were really stinky...and I built them there own lil run off the ground (and covered by a roof). They have a lil wood box out there with open door to connected to run. Been out there for a couple weeks now...no light and they are all fine. I asked hubby to put a light in cage and he put it in wrong one...lol...so I just went with it. Not much baby fuzz on any of them...all feathered....the 4 who were seriously still lacking some feathers I still have in the house.

BUT....I live in the NW part of Oregon....only been getting down to 40's at night and days are like 60-70 F. There are 22 of them with room for all...

Not suggesting it...just tattling on myself. LOL

Edited to mention they were born in the end of August....
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The Great Guru of Yap
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
The Carpal Tunnel Rehab Center
Ours are 7 weeks now, and we are SLOWLY integrating them in with the older ones. They have their own mini coop in the hen house and have been in there since 4 weeks with a heat lamp. Last weekend we cut a hole in the wire between the brooder and the coop, and they are happily nosing their way around. Only one has ventured out into the coop and was then chased to the corner - BUT NO ON PECKED HER!!!!!

My BO hen tries her darndest to keep the babies in the hen house. Slow, but slow and right is better than fast and dead.


11 Years
Jun 24, 2008
I integraded last night 7week olds with 17 week olds they have been in separate coops but in the same run for 2 weeks. The little ones would get chased now and again but after a while they stayed away from the bigger girls. Last night I put them together in the big coop (no chickens have been in that coop until last night)I made a spot for the little girls to hide if chased, then I waited until dark to put the big girls in and all was fine. All in all it was easer than I thought. I think night time is the key. They also tolerated the little one better during the day they even were eating together and that was a NO NO before.

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