When to get rid of the lamp and put the birds outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Jenismyname, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Jenismyname

    Jenismyname Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2012
    Urbana, IL
    Hello I am a chicken newbie. I live in Central Illinois, it can get pretty cold here. I have four 15 week old chickens(1 RIR, 2 leghorns, and a mystery maran). They have been in an oversize brooder now since day 1. I have 2 starter coops. One is a nice size, home made (no run) and one that I purchased off of EBay(with a run). It's made out of wood and plastic. Mostly plastic... I have no idea what the plastic is called by the make up of it is similar to card board. I'm pretty sure they are way beyond ready to go outside. But is it necessary to step them down from the heat or can I just put them outside. Whenever I look in the brooder they are always on the half of the brooder where the light is not on. Also how long can I leave them outside? I work from 9am about 7pm. Should I leave them out that long?

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  2. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
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    15 week old chicks are definitely ready for the outdoors.
    (for future reference they should be ready to go out by week 6 [​IMG] )
    I would put them in the coop and lock them up for a week so they know thats their home, they need to return there. Unless you have a run, in which you can usually just put them out there and herd them in at night.
    let them out at daylight, and put them in around dark.
    you said you get home at 7 which can be a problem with it getting dark at 5:30. if your coop/run is not predator proofed then you will probably have some problems.
    Also, get ready for eggs in a few weeks! good luck!
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Do you need to acclimate chickens before putting into a different climate? Absolutely.

    Are you still using heat indoors for the chickens? At this age they definitely don't need additional heat. If you have an unheated garage to aid in stepping down to the temp or if need in a basement to put them in that would do well. Thinking unfinished basements run around 50F. A garage would be a sheltered area likely warmer than outside; here perhaps a heat source that you step down over the course of a week then let them brood in that shelter for week. It's hard to say what you should or could do without knowing what temp, area they are in now and what is available to you to get them ready for winter climate.

    I'm that last person to suggest supplament heat in a coop but that may be something you'll have to do for nights and slowly take it away to get them conditioned to Febuary climate in your area without any additional heat. It's the same for us as winter starts to kick in, we acclimate to what is coming and slow worsening of conditions. You can't walk into a meat cooler from summer and not be cold to the bone but in mid winter walk into a walk in freezer and it's not so bad...well, you can at least stay in long enough to find what you were looking for. A chicken with feathers is dressed for the weather but still needs that acclimation of a few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
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    oh yes, getting them acclimated to the climate is a good idea.
    Putting them from nice warm to freezing can chill them. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  5. Jenismyname

    Jenismyname Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2012
    Urbana, IL
    Right now their brooder is in my garage. It has a window that won't close and door that doesn't close all the way. It's pretty much a good wind away from falling to the ground lol. This week it has been about 32-37 degrees in the day time and about 15-29 at night. I was thinking of cutting off their heat source during the day. And cutting it back on at night when I return from work. I planned on doing this for a few days and then putting them outside. Now I see I should probably acclimate them a week or two longer. I actually told my husband to cut the heat lamp off when they turned 6 weeks and he refused. Now I have brought him into the fold with giving him the responsibility of this months power bill. ;). The coop that I want to move them to has an attached run. It seems predictor proof to me. However I am not home during the day to keep an eye out for them. I may have to put some hardware cloth underneath the run to keep the diggers out.
     

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