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When can they go outside

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by anlicia, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. anlicia

    anlicia In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2017
    Good morning all. I imagine this question has been asked multiple times. When can my chicks go outside in their coop? I have 6 that are about 3 weeks old and they are going nuts in their brooder. Two are close to fully feathered, two are just starting, and two are still pretty fluffy. The temperature here is about high 40° to low 50° (Fahrenheit) during the day, but at night it's dropping to the high 20°. Is that too cold even with a heat lamp?
    Edited...I'm a new chicken mother so these ladies (and perhaps gentlemen) are my 1st batch :)
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017

  2. LucyBO16

    LucyBO16 In the Brooder

    Oct 13, 2016
    Charlotte, NC
    They can go outside when they are fully feathered. They are usually fully feathered at 8 weeks old. You don't want to put them in with bigger birds because the bigger birds will peck them to death. If you have a heat lamp, they should be fine at night in that cold weather.
  3. OCeggs23

    OCeggs23 Chirping

    Feb 8, 2017
    Orange County, CA
    Hi Anlicia!

    Our little ones are 3 and 4 weeks old and like yours, going stir crazy in the brooder. Now we've been letting them outside a lot during the day, but we akways brought them back in just before dusk. So tonight is their first night in their coop!
    We have been using the MHP method instead of the light bulb. So we put the heating pad in there. When we first checked on them (about 7pm) they were in the run underneath huddled in a corner. So we picked them up, placed them in the coop, moved their food and water in too, and closed the door.
    Checked on them again about 8:30pm. They were not on or under their MHP but huddled on the cold floor near their water. I moved them on top of the MHP but the light from my headlamp got them all wound up. So I just left them a while to calm down in the dark (and cold).
    About 10pm I went out again and wised up, using my light only briefly to ascertain their location in the coop. They were in a far corner near their food this time. (!!!) I turned off my light before the crazy chicks woke up much, then lifted each one to on top of the MHP. They didn't squirm and protest nearly as much as before. I quickly left them.
    Just checked on them at 11:00pm and they were all on the MHP! Whew!!

    So... with adequate heating they'd probably be fine, even at this young age. I am in SoCal and it is in the high 40s tonight. My MHP is set to medium. My chicks and their brooder have been in our den and our temps in the house are a pretty consistent 68-71°F. But as I said before, we have given them lots of outdoors time, even on cold and windy days, so hopefully they are semi-acclimated.

    Here's a pic of them from this afternoon - a cold, drizzly day and they needed a warm up after playing in their new coop and run:
  4. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    With electricity and a secure coop waiting, there is no need to have them in your house. At all. I've brooded from day 1 outdoors in temps far below freezing as have others on BYC. You just need to be sure to secure that heat lamp very, very well. Fires are no joke and as you have seen, chicks get crazy jumping and flapping around. I switched to a mama heating pad, myself, for reduced risk and it's easier to avoid overheating the space when temps can reach 80F during the day. If you will be using a bulb, just secure the heck out of it at one end of the coop. The idea is to heat an area but leave the rest of the space cold. They will move about to meet their needs. Put the water near the light circle so it won't freeze.
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    X 2 -- having brooded a few too many chicks indoors, this is my approach now as well (and we moved so I no longer have the spare bathroom with a large garden tub I used to brood in, lol).
  6. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    See, I hate cleaning the bathtub and can't quite imagine scooping the dirty litter out so I am always shocked when I see people use one as a brooder. When we built the mini coop, I used the biggest washing machine pan that I could find so I can pull the floor out, dump it, spray it with a hose if needed, and put it back in.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017

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