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When do I move my chicks outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Armando I 3454, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Armando I 3454

    Armando I 3454 In the Brooder

    Nov 11, 2016
    So right now I have 3 8 week old chicks fully feathered (as in no fluff) 2 welsummers and 1 American game and right now in Texas there has been really cold weather and yesterday and today we had a freeze. My problem is that the cage they are in right now is starting to get too small for them and I don't want to move them outside because I think it's too cold? What do y'all think?

  2. AU-ChickenGuy

    AU-ChickenGuy In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2016
    Andalusia, AL
    I'm going to semi-hijack this as my question is almost identical. I started with 37 chicks, anticipating losing some since this is my first time with chickens. Nope. I must be doing something right (feeding fermented feed, keeping the temps right, etc) because they are growing fast and I haven't lost a single one! I'm in south Alabama and the temps here are getting into the low 30's some nights. To expound on the OP question, when can they go outside in this kind of weather, AND how much (limited) space can they deal with. I have my 37 in a 6ftx3ft brooder (18sq/ft). Sorry OP for hijacking, but our questions are similar and I didn't see the need for a new thread....thanks!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

    I raise my chicks in the coop. It’s a large brooder with one end heated and the other end allowed to cool off as it will. Some mornings in winter there is ice down there, but the heated area is toasty.

    I have taken chicks from this brooder and put them in an unheated grow-out coop with good ventilation up high but good breeze protection down low where they are. I’ve had chicks 5-1/2 weeks old go through nights in the mid-20’s Fahrenheit in that unheated grow-out coop.

    I have no idea what your coop looks like or if you have done anything to acclimate them to the outside. I think these make a difference. But at 8 weeks take your chicks outside in the cold and watch them. You might be amazed at how well they handle those temperatures in their down coats. They’ve been ready for two weeks. You are the one that’s not.

    My wife is the same way. She sees the dogs laying outside when the temperatures are in the teens and talks about how miserable they must be. They have a doggie door and can go into the attached garage that is a lot warmer if they wish, but they like it out there. She’s the one that doesn’t like cold.

    The old space question. You might follow the link in my signature to get some of my thoughts on that.

    In spite of what you often see on here there are no magic numbers related to space or much of anything else. There are just so many different variables that there cannot be any one magic number that covers all for anything.

    I once kept 28 chicks in a 3’ x 5’ brooder until they were 5 weeks old. Most of those were female. I once kept 21 chicks in that same brooder until they were 5 weeks old. Most of those were male. In both cases that brooder was getting pretty full. I never had any behavioral problems in either case but I feel it was getting pretty close to that point.

    When I crowd mine I have more behavioral problems to deal with, I have to work harder, and I have less flexibility in dealing with issues. These have more to do with my stress levels than it actually does the chickens but behavioral problems decline as space expands so they enjoy the extra space too.

    I don’t know how old yours are but I’d get that outside facility set up and ready as soon as I could. And I’d get them outside as soon as I could.
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Have they been getting trips outside daily? You do need to get chicks acclimated to cooler temps, and you can start doing that before they are fully feathered. My chicks are usually outside full time by 4 weeks old, regardless of the temperature. My 6 week olds just survived 3 days with temp averages between 25 and 35 degrees.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016

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