When can I put my girls outside 24/7

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by janf1914, May 17, 2011.

  1. janf1914

    janf1914 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 27, 2011
    I'm wondering when it's safe to put my chicks outside in the coop during the night. They are 6 weeks old and getting pretty big for the brooder. They have pretty much all their feathers. I've been putting them out during the day and they've been doing fine. It's gotten down to the low 60's. I'm nervous about putting them out at night as it's still getting pretty cold (we've been getting some storm fronts moving in) and even inside the coop it'll be colder than it's been in the brooder. Everything I've read says 8 weeks, but how do you know they'll make it through a cold night?
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    It's getting down to the low 60s at night, is that correct? Wean them off their heat lamp and they can go out, so long as your coop is draft free and predator proof.

    ETA: I've heard the "8 weeks" thing tossed about, but I don't know where that comes from. Even if you go by what most of the hatcheries suggest, the 5 degrees a week rule of thumb, they would be off the heat before 8 weeks. As Ideal Hatchery recommends on their website (under care tips):

    Proper temperature at bird level under the brooder or heat lamp for the first week is 90 to 95 degrees. Reduce the temperature 5 degrees each week for the first five weeks. After that time the poultry will normally not require supplementary heat.

    The only time you are likely to run into trouble is if you have them all warm and toasty under a heat lamp and suddenly stick them out in a coop without an acclimation period.
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  3. smokeykk

    smokeykk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2011
    When they are fully feathered
  4. janf1914

    janf1914 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 27, 2011
    Sorry, I know this sounds really silly, but what does "fully feathered mean?" Mine are pretty well feathered but the feathers on their heads are still pretty small (short?). Also, it's been 60 during the day but probably down to about 40 at night. They're not under a lamp any more, just inside where it get to be about 55 - 60 at night. Would they still be o.k. with those low temps (the 40's)? Our coop is pretty closed up so it will stay a bit warmer in there. Guess I'm just being a worried "momma!"
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    They'll be fine and they will even feather out faster if exposed to a little cooler temps. I've put mine out at 4 weeks with the same temp variations.
  6. BairleaFarm

    BairleaFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2011
    Georgetown, KY
    Quote:same here. It doesnt seem to bother them at all.
  7. srpaint

    srpaint Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    I have chicks from age 3 weeks to 7 weeks in my coop outside. I do leave 2 heat lamps on in case any get real cold. Really the only ones I see under there are my 3 week chicks and my banties. They have the door open all day and are shut it at night. It stays warmer in the coop then you would think!
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    IMO if they are 6 weeks old and have all their feathers (especially if you have enough for them to huddle together) they are ready to go out to the coop. Low 60's would be fine.

    I would transition them - keeping them where they are at night -- but turning the light off completely -- for a couple of days or so. You don't want to go from nice and toasty to chilly.
  9. catchthewind

    catchthewind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2011
    Vancouver Island
    I just put 13 chicks aged 6-7 1/2 weeks outside full time. I was going to wait a little longer but the brooder was crowded and I had nothing bigger to move them to inside. The 6 week olds are Silkies and not fully feathered, but the parts with no feathers are covered by their feathered wings. I'm hoping that and the fact there are 13 chicks to cuddle together will keep them warm enough. It's still getting mid-30's here over night, but I figure they'd have been out all along under a broody. It's only been two nights, but so far they've been just fine. That being said, if it had just been the three Silkies and no others, I definitely would have waited another couple of weeks.
  10. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:If the feathers on the heads are not in all the way and it is in the 40's I'd wait.

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