When can I put them outside?

DelR

Chirping
Nov 17, 2020
43
99
79
I have month old silkie chicks. They have recently started to have no heat lamp during the day. Eventually I need to put them outside lol, but because it’s so cold, I don’t know when to start introducing them to the outside. The highest temperature recently has been about 45-50° Anybody have advice?
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,234
17,370
706
USA
I have month old silkie chicks. They have recently started to have no heat lamp during the day. Eventually I need to put them outside lol, but because it’s so cold, I don’t know when to start introducing them to the outside. The highest temperature recently has been about 45-50° Anybody have advice?

You can START introducing them to outside right now. Take them out to play for half an hour or so, as many times each day as you like.

The first time they will probably peep and be upset because it's new and scary. But over time, they will start to like it. Once they are having fun, you can tell how long to keep them out by watching how they act: huddling and peeping means they are cold and need to go back inside to warm up, but they can safely stay outside as long as they are happily doing chicken things (eating, dustbathing, chasing bugs, exploring, etc).

The amount of time they spend outside can get gradually longer as they get used to it, until they are spending all day outside.

After a few days or a week of being outside all day, then you can start letting them sleep outside too.

If they still have a heat lamp at night, they should learn to sleep without it while they're still inside at night. That makes it a smaller change when they finally sleep outside. The first night with no heat lamp, they will probably peep and fuss because darkness is new and scary. Give them an hour or so, and they will probably go to sleep just fine, and after that first night they won't fuss so much.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,080
22,821
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Southeast Louisiana
I don’t know when to start introducing them to the outside.

Now. Take them outside where they are protected from wind and see how they do. Many people are surprised at how well they can handle cold. They will let you know if they are uncomfortable. Part of taking them out is to get them acclimatized but part is to build your confidence up as to what they can handle. Cold wind is bad, wind protection is good.

Eventually I need to put them outside

That's a function of what your coldest temperatures will be and how good the wind protection and ventilation is in the coop or wherever they will be. Acclimatizing helps. I don't believe in hard and fast numbers for much of anything to do with chickens, each chicken is an individual and we all keep them in different circumstances.

I've had chicks 5-1/2 weeks old go through nights in the mid 20's Fahrenheit with no supplemental heat. They were well acclimatized, had great ventilation up high, and great breeze protection down low where they were. They were full sized fowl chicks with regular feathers. They had been fed pretty well with Starter so they had a good start toward development. There were about 20 of them. I don't know how important any of these individual factors were.

I don't keep Silkies. I don't know if they are really that much different from other chickens. I would not think so except they can't fly but I don't have that experience so I don't know. So get them acclimated and start building your confidence that they can handle cold.

I don't know what your coop looks like, if you have electricity out there, or if you have other chickens so you have integration issues. If you can provide a warm spot for them in your coldest temperatures you can move them out today. My 3' x 6' brooder is in the coop, mine go out there straight from the incubator or post office even if the outside temperature is below freezing. I keep one end toasty but the far end reaches ambient temperature. There have been times there is ice in the far end but the chicks even that young know to stay in the warm spot. To me the biggest challenge brooding outside is to give them a spot warm enough in the coldest temperatures and a spot cool enough in the warmest temperatures. Those temperature swings can be challenging, I've seen it go from below freezing to above 70 F in 36 hours. Even straight out of the incubator the chicks seem to know where to go.

Good luck!
 

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